Tender and savory, this raw kale salad is the perfect winter compliment to any holiday meal. Garnished with homemade sun dried tomatoes, even your pickiest eaters will love it!
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Kale in the Garden
First of all, I love to grow kale in the garden. It’s hearty, grows vigorously and is not as susceptible to pests as it’s more tender-hearted cousins cauliflower and broccoli. It also survives my winters, performing well when provided with a little protection from the snow. It also produces seed for you to save ever year. To learn how to do that, click here.
If you don’t grow kale it yet, I challenge you to do so this coming year. Start it indoors several weeks before you last spring frost (about the time you start broccoli). Or, plant nursery starts into your early spring garden. FYI, kale actually enjoys cool weather.
Which Variety to Grow?
I like Vates kale the best so far of the varieties I’ve tried. It has great flavor (it’s featured in the recipe below) and is pleasantly crunchy. It also has nice leaf form, being both ruffly and sturdy.
I’ve tried the Red Russian variety, too. It’s pretty with its dark green leaves and red veins running through it. However, it’s a little too tough to eat raw, I think.
Dinosaur kale would also be nice in this recipe because of its pleasant flavor. Although it’s leaves aren’t as decorative as Vates. Do you have a favorite kale variety I should try?
Raw Kale Salad “Recipe”
Really, this is more of a method than a recipe for raw kale salad. Feel free to experiment with quantities and add-ins.
- 1 bunch Kale About 5 cups chopped
- 1 Lemon, seeded and juiced
- 1 teaspoon Sea salt
Gather a large bunch of fresh kale. The flavor is strong, so one good sized bunch feeds my family of ten. If you want a big salad, get two bunches. If you prefer a measurement, start with five cups of chopped kale.
Chop the kale after you give it a good rinse. If it's aphid season, really check for those little buggers in any leaf curls of the kale. Unless you want extra protein. Ew. I even check store bought kale.
In a non-reactive bowl, mix the chopped kale and the fresh lemon juice. Sprinkle the juice, don't give the kale a bath in it.
Next, grind up some sea salt and add at least one heaping teaspoon to the bowl.
Mix it all together. You can do this with a spoon, if you're a bit on the fastidious side. However, the juice and salt will have an easier time breaking down or "cooking" your kale if you mush it in with your hands, massaging it all together.
Let it sit for about ten minutes so the lemon juice can start to "cook", or soften, the kale.
Afterwards add anything you'd like. Try roasted or raw peppers, feta (traditionally a raw milk cheese), any kind of raw nut. You could also add a tangy fruit like pomegranate, mango or mandarin oranges. Serve immediately.
See the article for links to add-in ideas and tutorials.
My Favorite Kale Salad Add-In
I usually add my homemade “sun dried” tomatoes and some black pepper to this salad.
Making your own sun dried tomatoes is not hard – click here to learn how. It is something you need to think of in the summer time, though. If you missed it this year, just make plans for next year.
You can also learn to Make Your Own Feta Cheese, which is traditionally a raw milk cheese and tastes divine with kale.
Please also try these Candied Mapled Pecans from Joybilee Farm.
Any way you choose to spruce it up, your raw kale salad will most likely taste fabulous and everyone around the table will think you’re cool. Well, possibly the eleven and under crowd may give you the stink eye. Just bribe them with any of the raw desserts you might have up your sleeve – like avocado pudding or raw milk ice cream. Ice cream…hmmm.