Ask any holistic nutritionist if they have their own kale salad recipe and I’m sure they’ll all say yes. With kale emerging as a nutrition staple (more about that in a minute), most of us have clever and delicious ways to incorporate this green beauty into what we eat each day, and maybe we’ve even come up with something that we can serve at parties.
Ode to Kale (and Kale’s Health Benefits)
Kale is said to be one of the most nutritious foods on the planet and really gives you a good bang for your buck in the nutrient department. Here’s why:
- Kale is a leafy green, leafy greens are rich in chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is what gives greens their green colour. There’s also a mere molecule difference between human blood and chlorophyll, which gives leafy greens the reputation of being excellent blood builders and detoxifiers.
- In addition to being a leafy green, kale has basically won the nutrition lottery. Kale is especially high in vitamins A (for your skin and eyes), C (for immunity), K (for reducing inflammation), and minerals calcium (for your bones), magnesium (for relaxing smooth muscle), potassium (for your muscles and nerves), iron (for your cells), to name a few.
- Kale is extremely rich in phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin (carotenoids that are good for your eyes), sulforaphane and isothiocyanates (sulfur compounds that increase the liver’s enzymes to help to neutralize potential toxins), and quercetin (a powerful antioxidant).
- Although kale is one of the most nutritious foods out there, please take caution when eating it raw if you have an underactive thyroid. Kale (along with its cruciferous friends such as broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts) contain goitrogens, which can inhibit the thyroid when consumed raw. If you have a thyroid condition, lightly steam the kale to deactivate the goitrogens before tossing with the dressing.
- Nowadays you can find kale at nearly every grocery store. There are a few varieties of kale: curly kale, the standard, curly leaf variety, and dinosaur, or lacinato kale. Lacinato kale is an heirloom variety from Italy with darker, more blue-toned leaves.
- Try to buy organic kale whenever possible. Since kale is a leafy green, it can be sprayed heavily with pesticides. For more information about pesticides in produce, visit Environmental Working Group’s site.
And back to the recipe. I created this dressing for a friend with an egg allergy. It’s based on the classic Joy of Cooking Caesar salad recipe.
The anchovies, lemon, olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice keep it real as a Caesar salad dressing, but the addition of roasted garlic takes it to a new place.
I was interested in making the dressing creamy without the egg, and figured that roasted garlic would do the trick. It’s since become one of my favourites because it’s so delicious.
Anchovies are a staple in Italian cooking. They are also a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are fats that provide anti-inflammatory benefits, but cannot be synthesized by our bodies and therefore must be obtained from food. The other great thing about anchovies (and other small fish) is that they are lower on the food chain. This translates to fewer toxins while remaining high in omega-3 fatty acids. Again, more bang for your buck.
I use tempeh in place of croutons to add protein (and make the recipe gluten-free).
This salad works so well alongside most meals. You could even eat it as a filling main-course.
Kale Caesar Recipe
1 head of kale, stems removed and torn into bite sized pieces
1 head of garlic, roasted
1 clove raw garlic, roughly chopped
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced (or less, depending on taste)
½ tsp Dijon mustard
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Blend dressing ingredients and season to taste. Pour over roughly torn kale and massage the dressing into the leaves, allowing at least 30 minutes for the dressing to wilt the leaves before serving. And when I say massage the kale, I mean MASSAGE THAT KALE. Take off rings and bracelets. Roll up those sleeves and show that kale who’s boss!
1/3 of a block of tempeh, cut into small cubes
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl, allowing the herbs to coat the tempeh. Saute over medium heat until the tempeh browns slightly and the garlic is fragrant. Remove from pan and sprinkle ontop of salad.
Serve your Kale Caesar with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a little salt and pepper, and a dusting of parmigiano reggiano or nutritional yeast.