Let's Kale the Whole Thing Off

It’s never too late to learn new things about those you love. A recent misplaced bunch of spinach I’d bought resulted in a kale substitution in a favorite recipe, with no ill effects. This is a bigger deal than you might imagine, since spinach is so mild in flavor and kale so assertive. That got me wanting to try a new kale salad, to see if my family would also eat it, when it wasn’t slathered in a heavy peanut dressing. Short answer: they would.

Beet, Kale and Pine-Nut Salad

Beet, Kale and Pine-Nut Salad

I’m going to have to remember this salad for the holidays because it’s so beautiful, and I imagine using two colors of beets would only improve matters. I started with this recipe and made some modifications based on what I actually had on hand.

Roasted Beet, Kale and Pine-Nut Salad

1-2 medium beets, roasted, peeled, and sliced in eighths (you can also do them in the crock-pot)

1 big bunch of kale, de-stemmed and cut in ribbons (“chiffonaded”)

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 - 1/2 c dried cranberries (I bet pomegranate seeds would also work)

1/4 - 1/2 c pine nuts, toasted


1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp citrus juice (I used cara cara orange because I didn’t have a lime)

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper

You can mix up the dressing and toss it with the salad ingredients (minus the pine nuts) up to an hour earlier, and that helps soften the kale. Then toss the pine nuts on and you’re good to go!

This recipe would almost qualify for my sister’s Forks over Knives diet month, except for the olive oil. She did say Forks over Knives likes to substitute tahini for olive oil, and you could probably get away with that here, except it might not be as pretty. Oh, and they also prefer maple syrup to honey because it doesn’t involve animals. That is, bees. I guess bees have to be called “animals” because they’re certainly not plants or rocks.

Speaking of classifications, if you wondered, as I did, “Is kale better for you than spinach?” I found this handy graphic from Prevention, although the commentary skews retirement-age…


Basically, you can’t go wrong with leafy green vegetables, so expand your range and try kale again on your family!

Defeating Kale's Superpower

At a recent dinner, someone relayed a joke to me about the Seattle area's many seasons (was it eleven?). This week definitely qualifies as Summer #1. Four days in length and, fingers crossed, to be followed by another few summers after the return on Friday of Winter #7.

Summer #1 [Photo by  Luke Dean-Weymark  on  Unsplash

Summer #1 [Photo by Luke Dean-Weymark on Unsplash

But for these brief days of Summer #1, I have a kale salad for you that you'll actually take seconds of. I did.

Comedian Jim Gaffigan jokes that, "Yeah, kale is a superfood. And its super power is tasting bad." But the unrelenting health drumbeat that dark, leafy greens are good for us good for us GOOD for us made me put some in my shopping cart again this week.

Salad, of course, is all about the dressing. And, when you have a green as assertive as kale, you need a generous amount of dressing to make it palatable to eaters who aren't automatic kale fans. I went hunting for recipes online and found this one at Once Upon a Chef. It was beautiful to look at and had both peanut butter and sesame oil, but I was missing some of the other ingredients, and the recipe on the whole contained way too much sugar for me. Nevertheless, I came up with this delicious adaptation of it. See if you don't like it too!


Summer #1 Kale Salad

1 bunch of kale, rinsed, de-stemmed, and cut in chiffonade slivers
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
grated carrot
3 Tbsp peanut butter
3 Tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice (I only had a lemon)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp oil (I used 2 Tbsp olive and 1 Tbsp grapeseed)
2 scant Tbsp honey
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1 clove garlic, peeled
1" knob of ginger, peeled
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1/2 tsp sesame oil

Combine dressing ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Pour over salad ingredients and toss.

This salad was a great accompaniment to our dinner of broccoli beef and rice, but it would go just as well with Mexican food. Happy summer!