I feel like the topic of Kale is a hot button. For those who love it and have always loved it this probably doesn’t apply – for everyone else: are you sick of kale? Like Justin Bieber, a few years ago kale enjoyed major popularity. It was the new best thing and it was everywhere.
We saw kale on the covers of magazines, Dr. Oz and Oprah said eat it, every restaurant added it to their menus, it was much beloved and deemed a “superfood” – it could do no wrong. Like Beiber, kale flooded the media and invaded our psyches. Whether people liked it or not they choked it down and smiled hoping no one found out they were less than impressed. Then the inevitable backlash – we were sick of seeing those coarse green leaves being stuffed into smoothies and being made into chips. We were sick of it being stuffed in our face.
If you want to hear one of the best rants on kale then check Jim Gaffagan’s Obsessed. He is always hilarious and has some of the best food humour around. (McDonald’s, Hot Pockets, Cinnabon, Dominos.. lots to laugh about!)
I feel that the kale rush has mellowed and is now a fixture in our diets – not a fad or an overexposed superstar – just another nutrient rich food that has its place in some dishes. I have to admit that I still get sneaky with it slipping it into Johnny’s smoothies, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that he loves it. There is a bagged salad that he is addicted to with kale and cabbage and brussel sprouts, a creamy poppyseed dressing and seeds and dried fruit. I can get down with anything healthy he is willing to eat, and you can’t beat the convenience, but I’m sure with all the processing and factory made dressing, it isn’t as great as it could be.
This salad was a go to over winter, but I have a feeling it will grace our table in other incarnations all year. It has been great as a side, but try it as a main: toss on some tuna (my fav), or leftover chicken, steak, seeds/nuts/dried fruit, grilled tofu… just about any protein. Best part of this recipe is that it keeps well even after it has been dressed. The veg are hardy enough to sit in the fridge and even benefits from it. Your salad with be a completely new thing tomorrow and yummy all the same.
SPICY KALE SALAD
serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side
There is really no right or wrong way to make a salad. With the kale, I like to massage the dressing into the leaves and let it sit before I toss in the rest of the veggies. You can make this salad a few hours ahead, but I don’t add the beets until right before it hits the table – the colours in this dish are so lovely I hate to ruin it by letting the purple bleed everywhere. Also, Johnny really hates beets, so I can leave it on the side and sprinkle it on my own separately.
I insist on fresh horseradish here, the prepared stuff isn’t as peppery, just be careful if you aren’t a heat lover, fresh is hotter than jarred. If you don’t have it or don’t like it, add some extra chilli flakes or a dash or 2 of Tabasco. It’s also nice with a tablespoon of fresh grated ginger or try a couple anchovy fillets or a teaspoon of anchovy paste.
4 cups kale, packed, centre rib removed and shredded
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated – approx 2 cups
10 brussel sprouts , stem removed and shredded
1 – 2 small beets, peeled and grated (approx 1 cup)
1 large or 2 small shallots, peeled and thinly sliced lengthwise
a small handful of radishes, thinly sliced
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white wine or rice wine)
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp plain yogurt
1 tsp spicy dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp white sugar
1 tbsp fresh horseradish, finely grated
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
a couple dashes Tabasco sauce
kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Combine all the dressing ingredients in a mason jar and shake very vigorously for a minute. Taste for seasoning.
Rub half the dressing into the shredded kale up to a few hours ahead of serving. Toss together the rest of the veg (except the beets) and a touch more dressing. Use your fingers keeping your salad fluffy and evenly dressed.Use less dressing than you think and add a little more as you go – you may not need all the dressing.