Thursday, May 10, 2012

Kale Salad with Grapes, Strawberries, and Pears

I have been in love with Kale ever since I first tried it a little over a year ago.  The hearty flavor is reminiscent of broccoli, one of my other favorite vegetables.  Paul enjoys kale as well so I know when I throw together a salad featuring this hearty green he will be more than happy to polish off his fair share.  I still have not been able to sell him on my Kale Green Monster Smoothies, but maybe I just need to figure out a way to get rid of the interesting green color because I'm pretty sure they taste just fine.

Paul has been losing weight steadily over the past few months and I'm trying to help him along by feeding him a main dish salad in between some of his favorite, heavier meals like pizza, burgers, and steak.  He definitely appreciates the effort although he always groans about his stomach growling about an hour after dinner.  However, he claims the kale salad keeps him full hours after dinner.  Must be all that healthy fiber.

Next time you see a healthy looking bunch of kale in your grocery section, grab it and make a fabulous salad.  I love incorporating all kinds of seasonal fruits along with the kale.  This particular salad was just a complete medley of fruit that we had in the refrigerator.  We absolutely loved the results!  If you do not have strawberry vinegar on hand (I had purchased mine from a specialty oil and vinegar store), feel free to substitute another fruity vinegar like raspberry.

Kale Salad with Grapes, Strawberries, and Pears
Nistler Family Original

1 bunch of kale, tough stems removed and leaves sliced chiffonade
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup finely diced red onion
1 pear, finely diced
1-2 cups grapes, sliced in half
1 cup sliced strawberries
1/4 cup toasted pecans
4 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons strawberry or raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
Handful of gorgonzola or feta (We did not add any cheese this time, but it's delicious!)

Place the kale leaves in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt over the top.  Using your fingers, gently massage the salt into the leaves.  The leaves should start to turn a dark green color and release some moisture.  Continue massaging for 2-3 more minutes until the leaves start to feel tender.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and pepper.  Pour over the kale and toss gently to coat (at this point the kale may be refrigerated for a few hours ahead of time).

Right before serving, toss the kale mixture with the remaining ingredients.  Serve immediately.

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