I never thought to use raw kale for the base of a salad. I though it would surely be too tough to eat like that. Then I saw a post from Vegan Yum Yum, which is a really great vegan food blog (definitely check it out)! The other day her post called “BLT Salad” inspired me to make the first harvest of kale from our garden into a fresh raw salad. Although I didn’t end up following her recipe exactly, it was definitely not something that I would have put together without her idea. It was suggested to use a different type of kale than we are growing- Lacinato kale, which I have yet to try. The variety we are growing is a bit more common curly leaf kale. I thought i would try the idea out anyway.
Our kale has been growing really well this summer, but it wasn’t until this week that we felt it was time to eat it. Kale grows from the center up so we cut the largest leaves from the bottom first. I worried that once we trimmed the plant it would look sad and sparse. But we just trimmed what we needed from the bottom and there was plenty left on top to keep growing. I’m sure it will help the smaller leaves see more more sunlight and grow faster going forward.
So far kale has been relatively easy for us to maintain. It, like the rest of the potted plants in our garden, needs to be watered a couple of times a day; if it doesn’t get the water it needs it quickly wilts, but luckily perks up quickly when it’s happy. Other than a few yellow leaves the plant has looked extremely healthy and full throughout- however, once we cut some of the stems, we did notice that there were a few leaves with pesky aphids hanging around. We were definitely surprised to find them and not too pleased, hopefully they haven’t been around for too long and we can get rid of them soon. I guess after we wash down our tomato plants we’re going to have to bathe the kale too. Oh well, can’t blame the little guys, I bet a kale plant would be a fun place to live. I think it’s time to invest in some lady bugs…
Ingredients :: 1 bundle of kale, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard, 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper, not quite half of a lemon’s juice, & a splash of orange juice- near 2 tablespoons.
To make this salad you’ll need about 1 bundle of kale; because it’s raw kale you’ll need to cut it in thin strips so it’s easier to chew and it can better soften up from the dressing. Use a knife or scissors to cut the stem from the center; bunch or roll up the stemmed leaves and cut into thin pieces. Set aside in a bowl large enough to toss with the dressing.
The dressing: I would have never considered using mayonnaise in a dressing. But the way Lolo from Vegan YumYum used it was appealing to me; the mayonnaise would be a creamy compliment to the kale. The dressing would be essential to this dish as it will lightly coat the kale helping it to soften up a bit and of course it will add more flavor.
To prepare the dressing, combine ingredients into a regular bowl. Add 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise; we happened to have it on hand but I’m sure regular mayo would be just as fine. 1 tablespoon whole grain (seedy) mustard, the musztardy we use is called Kamis-Francuska, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, & fresh ground black pepper. Stir together and add a splash of orange juice and some juice from a half of lemon- this is a pretty tart dressing so don’t add too much lemon. Squeeze a bit in stir it up and adjust flavor to your liking.
Toss salad with the dressing, add as you go and thoroughly mix until all is covered. Let the salad sit for a bit. Just before serving, dry toast your pine nuts in a pan. Warm them up without allowing them to burn, shake the pan just over the heat until they are toasted. Serve kale salad and top with pine nuts.
We made this salad very simple and ate it as our main dish. Including other vegetables would also be delicious, fresh herbs, cucumber, mushrooms, and tomatoes all seem like they would work well. We wished that our cherry tomatos were ready in time and would have definitely included them, I suppose that’s for next time- can’t wait to try this again soon!