Friday, May 28, 2010

Slivered Kale Salad with Baby Beets

I might be a salad diva – I mean that in the most humble way. What I mean is I proudly make salads just about every day and not your typical lame side dish. Sure salads typically generate a big ole eye roll. But face it – when made creatively and thoughtfully they are nothing short of delicious and perfect for messing around with savory and sweet combinations. Fruit and veggies can coincide so happily atop a fluffy bed of greens, am I right? It’s important to avoid the makings of a boring salad: romaine or iceberg lettuce, grainy tomato, flavorless stale cucumber, maybe a canned black olive or two, boxed croutons, and gloppy ranch. Blah.
Shredded iceberg does not a salad make. There is a world of greenery out there, most of it edible. Think beyond romaine and spinach (not knocking spinach, but you’ve had your turn…let some other greens share the limelight). I also use the word salad for pretty much anything cold: chickpea quinoa salad, kale salad, Edamame rice salad, etc… it doesn’t even have to have greens. A salad can be an accompaniment to a fantastic meal – a brief, crisp repose from the main attraction – or it can be the featured fare, the underdog of entrees. It can be the avenue to use up the last bit of something before it spoils or to try out new pairings like avocado and apple.

A little chop-chop here and peel-and-shred there, you’re on your way to a dish of pure crunchy bliss. The kicker of course is the dressing. The salad doesn’t have to be all about the dressing, like those sad, tasteless salads you get chain restaurants completely smothered in dressing because what’s under it has no pizzazz. I like to let all components in a salad contribute, and the dressing is just a little something to make the fruit or veggies more vibrant. I don’t buy bottled dressings out of sheer principle. All you need is oil, vinegar, and something to fuse the two…mustard, Tahini, peanut butter, or yogurt. Spruce it up with some herbs or spices and you’re set. Dressing seems intimidating, but you probably have everything you need in your cupboard already. If you don’t have Tahini, try mustard in this dressing.

We ate this as a small side, but with a little baked tempeh, tofu, or some edamame or chickpeas, this could easily be a whole lunch. You could even add some quinoa to get more grains and protein in there. Enjoy!

Slivered Kale Salad with Baby Beets
Makes 2 side servings
Prep time: 15 minutes


4-6 Baby beets, assorted colors

4 oz Kale (about 5 leaves), slivered or cut in a chiffonade
¼ c. Zucchini, grated
¼ c. Carrot, grated
¼ c. Cucumber, grated

1 ½ T. White balsamic vinegar or other light tasting vinegar
2 tsp. Tahini
1 tsp. Lemon juice
½ tsp. Thyme, fresh or ¼ tsp. dried
¼ tsp. Salt
Pepper to taste

5-6 Walnuts, chopped


Place beets in a medium sauce pan and fill with just enough water to cover beets. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium. Cover pan and simmer for 6-7 minutes or until just tender. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside. When beets are cool enough to handle, slice them thinly.

To cut the kale in a chiffonade, cut out the stems and tough ribs and place leaves on top of each other. Role into a cigar shaped stack and thinly slice from one end to the other. You should have long strings of kale. Combine kale and other vegetables including beets in a medium mixing bowl.

In a separate small bowl, combine vinegar, Tahini and lemon juice. Whisk with a fork until Tahini completely breaks down and becomes creamy. Add thyme, salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over salad and stir to combine completely. Top with chopped walnuts and serve.

1 comment:

  1. Oh jeez... Mike said you made gourmet meals nearly everyday and he didn't lie! WOW!!!