Kale, both the curly and flat-leaf or the dinosaur varieties, is one of the greatest leafy green vegetables. Belonging to the same family as cabbage, collard greens and Brussels sprouts, kale is loaded with nutrition, and it makes the perfect addition to a wide variety of dishes, especially those containing robust meats or spicy flavors.
Most of the time, kale is enjoyed cooked. But in this recipe for Rubbed Kale Salad, raw, tenderized greens are combined with buttery avocado, sweet bell peppers, carrots and crunchy, toasted almonds. It’s the perfect side dish for a Labor Day gathering—and can be prepared in advance for a stress-free holiday side dish.
I recommend using Red Russian or Red Winter kale. If using other types, select leaves that are less than 18-inches long for best results.
Rubbed Kale Salad
Makes 4 servings
1 bunch kale, about ½ pound
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-½ teaspoons coarse sea salt
2 to 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar or Ume plum vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon maple syrup, agave syrup, or honey
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 avocado, peeled, pit discarded and sliced
1 red bell pepper, stem, ribs and seed pod removed, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 to 3 ounces slivered almonds, toasted
Wash hands thoroughly. Rinse and pat kale dry with paper (or cloth) towels. Tear kale from stems in large pieces and place into a large bowl. Add olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt; massage leaves until they become soft and pliable, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Tear kale into small pieces, or cut into ribbons. Pour out any liquid that may have pooled in the bottom of the bowl. Place kale back in the bowl and add syrup or honey, 2 tablespoons of vinegar and lemon juice. Continue rubbing kale, until all surfaces are coated and shiny, about 2 minutes. Taste a leaf and add the remaining vinegar and ½ teaspoon of the salt, as needed.
Add the pepper, avocado, bell pepper, carrot and almonds; toss to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.
The Kitchen Diva is Angela Shelf Medearis, a regular guest chef on “The Dr. Oz Show” and “The Today Show.” She is the author of many cookbooks, including, “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” She blogs for Vitacost.com and Momonomics.com on a weekly basis.