Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Kale Salad With Thai Peanut Dressing

Kale seems to be the ubiquitous "vegan" ingredient found in almost everything these days. Chips, crackers, soup, smoothies. I have to admit I'm NOT a green smoothie fan but I DO love kale in salads and many other recipies!
 Kale is one of the items that comes back in my garden every spring, and I can't wait until I have enough leaves to make my first "garden" meal.

This combo is my go-to when I'm craving a super-flavorful salad or just some raw, dark greens. I love the way the curry and peanut flavors blend and mellow the bite of the kale.
This is a great recipe to get kids helping in the kitchen too, "massaging" the kale leaves is completely messy and fun!

Kale Salad with Thai-Peanut Dressing

1/3 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 inch piece ginger, shredded
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. brown sugar, agave nectar or honey
1 tsp. Thai curry paste* or more to taste
1/4 tsp. cayenne or to taste
pinch of salt, or to taste

1 large bunch kale or as much as you want for the amount of dressing (I prefer the Tuscan kale also know as black, dinosaur, or lacinato)
1 carrot finely shredded
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 - 2 cups finely shredded purple cabbage
1 bunch green onions, sliced
sesame seeds or crushed peanuts for garnish

To make the dressing:
Whiz first nine ingredients in food processor and taste. The dressing will be thick. Add a Tablespoon or two of water if needed to make it blend smooth. Adjust taste to your preference. (I usually add a little more peanut butter and curry but go with what you like).

To make the salad:
Wash and remove the thick “stem” from the center of the kale leaves and discard. Cut the kale into thin ribbons. Place the kale in a large salad bowl and pour about 1/4 of the dressing on it.

Mix well (this part is messy) using your HANDS to "massage" or (as my kids say "smush" ) the dressing into the kale leaves for two-to-three minutes. This step breaks down the leaves and makes them nice and tender.

*Wash your hands, they'll be a mess, and then proceed*
I don't always use the entire amount of dressing on my salad, add as much as you prefer after "massaging" kale.
Add shredded carrots, cabbage, cilantro and green onions.
Stir well.
Let the salad sit for about 10 - 15 minutes... if you can stand it.
Garnish with sesame seeds or chopped peanuts.