Look, Up in the Sky– It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s– SUPERKALE!! (Plus an Ice Cream Bonus)

Despite what Mitchell Pritchett might think, kale is wayyy more than a good garnish and is definitely ready to anchor a meal (on an entirely unrelated note, Modern Family comes back soon, woo!).  Kale chips have been done to death– deservedly so, because they’re delicious, but still– and it’s time to let kale into the non-snacking parts of our lives.  Because it’s pretty freaking good for you: kale is low in fat, high in iron and vitamins A, C, and K, full of antioxidants and calcium…the list goes on and on!

The Kale Monster that's been living in my fridge this week.

The Kale Monster that’s been living in my fridge this week.

The Kale Monster that's been living in my fridge this week-- I couldn't even close the vegetable drawer!

I couldn’t even close the vegetable drawer!  Or get it into a bag at the grocery store…

Even though I never write about it here, since the salads I make at home are usually pretty basic and not that interesting, I am a HUGE salad fan.  I could nibble lettuce for the rest of my days and be perfectly content.  And there are so many different lettuces (not to mention toppings) you can use, so you can’t ever really get bored!  Including (drumroll please)….kale!  A few key tips will help you find success with kale in salads.  1) Make sure you buy the right kind!  Get tuscan or lacinato kale rather than the curlier kind.  Kale has a waxy outer layer that can make it a pain to chew, and the curly kind is WAY tough.  It’s fine for cooking, but if you try to eat it raw you’ll be at the dinner table til midnight.  2) Along the same lines, cut the kale into thin slivers to make it easy to chew, and/or (you can do both, but it’s not really necessary) massage some acid like lemon juice into the leaves and let it sit for 15-60 min. to allow the acid to cut through the waxy coating.  I find that just cutting the kale into slivers suffices.  But you do you.

Salads at home are sometimes a little meh, because doing allllll the prep work for a great salad like the ones you get at restaurants is tedious as all get-out.  Oh my GAWD chopping all those veggies for a tossed salad is the worst!  Which is why this salad is so great; except for the kale itself and a few walnuts, there’s no chopping involved!  Read that sentence again.  Read it slowly.  Savor it.  YESSSSS.

Oh hey there, mister pomegranate.  Did you want to be a part of this amazing salad?  Ok then.  If you insist.

Oh hey there, mister pomegranate. Did you want to be a part of this amazing salad? Ok then. If you insist.

This salad mixes some GREAT superfoods (walnuts, kale, pomegranate) with simple flavors like lemon and is a serious winner.  Even my carnivorous boyfriend looooved it.  Plus, kale and pomegranate are both perfect fall/winter foods, so you can make use of this recipe a lot in the coming months.  Which I hope you do.  Because holy cannoli, YUM.

Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Walnuts (slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

1/2 c. Walnuts
1/4 c. Raisins
1T. White Wine Vinegar
1 T. Water
1/4 c. Panko or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs
1 clove Garlic, minced
Pinch of Salt
3 T. Olive Oil
1 bunch Tuscan Kale (aka black or lacinato kale), washed and patted dry
1/2 c. shredded Parmesan Cheese
Seeds from one Pomegranate

Juice of half a Lemon
Freshly ground Black Pepper or Red Pepper flakes, to taste

Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Toasted walnuts smell SO GOOD.

Toasted walnuts smell SO GOOD.

Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.  No photos of the raisins because they really weren’t that pretty.  And everybody knows what raisins look like.  Small, wrinkly; what else do you need to know?

Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.

Though these smelled pretty good too, thanks to the garlic.

Though these smelled pretty good too, thanks to the garlic.

Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs.  A knife is probably more trouble than it’s worth, so take a page from smitten kitchen’s book and just use your hands.  Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.  If you’re like me and the inner half if your kale is hiding gross, rotten secrets, you can use spinach in the salad too.  Just slice it into ribbons the same way.  I feel so betrayed by Giant.  I lost half my kale monster to hidden rottenness!  BOO.  Anyway…

Stars of the show, no question.  SO excited for pomegranate season!

Star of the show, no question. SO excited for pomegranate season!

Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add walnuts, pomegranate seeds, and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed (or if you have any, because I didn’t). Let sit for 10 minutes before serving if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.  Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.

Kale Salad

Seriously, this salad is so good.  The pomegranate is a perfect bright pop, and the parmesan, lemon juice, and walnuts do great things with the kale.  Plus it’s outside of the norm for what I make salads-wise, which is always exciting.  Am I the only one who gets a kind of banana-y taste from kale?  And how soon is too soon to make this again?  Don’t think I won’t!

Fluff and Peanut Butter Cups

Lest you worried I’d gone and gotten too healthy on you, after that delicious and superfood-filled salad we had homemade Peanut Butter Cup Fluffernutter Ice Cream.  *Phew* that was a close one.

I would dive into this if I could.  Seriously.

I would dive into this if I could. Seriously.

You can find my recipe for homemade, no-churn ice cream here; for this one I added peanut butter to the base and mixed in chopped Reese’s, then alternated layers of ice cream base and fluff when I put it in the container.  It was a good day.  Hope you all have a happy Labor Day!!

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