Kale is having its moment and I love it. It’s so versatile that I can cook my way through kale season and never get bored. My husband, however, hates it. He is your typical meat and potatoes kind of guy.
At his recent birthday lunch-that-kept-right-on-going-into-dinner, I made sure to serve his favorites— buffalo chicken wings, mom’s tuna macaroni salad and plenty of Chablis— right along side this incredible autumn kale salad (this girl needs some greens).
First, this salad is just gorgeous. The dark kale and grapes contrasted with the fuchsia watermelon radishes and the crispy golden nuts is stunning. It would be a perfect addition to any holiday menu on looks alone.
It tastes as good as it looks, and the flavors here come together in such a special way— each ingredient is distinct, but work together to make something special. If you wanted to stretch this for more servings (or offer it up as a vegetarian main dish), feel free to toss a cup of brown rice or quinoa into the mix.
It’s a good idea to make the salad about an hour before serving and let it sit at room temperature. The dressing will help soften and mellow out the kale. Leftovers also make for great lunches later in the week; it’s nice to have that option with a salad, the kale holds up more than most. I drained off the excess dressing, storing single servings in Weck jars.
Even with all the raves, my husband still didn’t eat the salad. One of the things I’ve always loved about that man is his strong sense of conviction. Happy Birthday, Honey.
Autumn Kale Salad (Vegan)
1 bunch black Kale (Lacinato Kale); about 24-26 leaves
1 large watermelon radish or 4 breakfast radishes, thinly sliced and quartered
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 cups black grapes, sliced in half
1 cup spiced nuts
1 cup cooked Rancho Gordo Christmas Limas (or other black bean)
½ cup dressing (see below)
Juice of half a lemon
Remove the ribs of the kale, then wash and chop into a dice. You should have about 4 cups packed. Thinly slice the watermelon radish and then quarter the slices. Thinly slice the shallot and place in a bowl of fresh water while you are prepping the rest of the ingredients for the salad. When you are ready to toss the salad, dump the water out and squeeze the excess water out of the shallots. This helps take out the raw taste from the onion.
In a large bowl combine the kale, radishes, shallots, grapes, spiced nuts, beans and ½ cup of the dressing. Toss the salad. Let the salad sit for a minimum of 30 min before serving so that the kale soaks up the flavor of the dressing. When just about to serve, squeeze the juice of a half of a lemon over the salad and toss one more time. I know it sounds crazy but just do it. It will really brighten up the flavor of the salad.
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup olive oil
Combine first 6 ingredients and whisk in oil.