Here’s a simple kale salad for lovers of dark leafy greens! Yep, that’s me! I crave kale salads at this time of year. And as you might be wondering just about now…”is this a raw kale salad?”. It most definitely is. A massaged kale salad with good-for-you ingredients like carrot and beet, which are tossed in a tasty lemon-tahini dressing, then topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and hulled hemp seeds. Sounds healthy, right? Yep, this recipe is definitely clean eating and tasty too.
A simple kale salad that is packed with goodness
This simple kale salad, featuring the king of green, is packed with fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. Beets are great detoxifiers and friends to our blood and livers. And carrots, well we all know (mostly from our mothers) that they are an amazing source of carotenes and vitamin A. Hemp seeds give us a little extra omega-3 fatty acids boost and pumpkin seeds, besides tasting amazing when they are toasted, are actually packed with antioxidants and a number of healthy nutrients. Raw of course are better, but fiber, protein and minerals are not destroyed by toasting them.
The key to using raw kale in salads is giving it a good massage beforehand
That’s right. So what do I mean by massaged? Well, the kale is massaged! This helps the dressing work its magic on the sturdy kale leaves, softening them up so we can more easily enjoy them. It’s hard enough to get people to eat their greens, let alone to try something raw that they would normally only eat cooked, so let’s add a helping hand! Basically, the whole process of massaging the kale helps physically breaking down the kale to make it easier to digest. Think of it in this way — digestion starts in your mouth, and raw kale has a very sturdy texture which means there would be a whole lot of chewing needed before we can swallow it. Massaging it beforehand, does part of the work for us. 🙂
How to massage kale
You’ll want to “massage” the kale for five minutes, or until leaves are tender. Yes, it may seem a little odd to give vegetables a rub down, but you’d be amazed at what it can do to transform this green from being bitter and tough to silky and sweet. Massaging kale is super easy. All you need to do is take a bunch of kale in both hands (with the thicker, tougher stems removed) rub them together and repeat. You’ll see the leaves transform before your eyes; the leaves will darken, shrink in size and become silkier in texture. Voila!
Simple Kale Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
For the salad:
- 5-6 handfuls of curly kale or Tuscan kale, large stems removed (250-275 g)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- pinch of sea salt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 medium beet, peeled and grated
- 2-3 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
- 1 tablespoon hulled hemp seeds (optional)
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 80 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
Add the kale to a large salad bowl along with the lemon juice, oil, maple syrup, salt and garlic. Use your hands to massage the kale and break down its texture a bit until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 3-5 minutes. Set aside to let the kale to “marinate” for 15-20 minutes. This gives the kale leaves extra time to soften.
To prepare dressing, add the tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, sea salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning, if desired. Set aside.
Pour the dressing over the kale and toss until evenly coated. Add the grated carrot and beet and toss again. Sprinkle with the toasted pumpkin seeds and hulled hemp seeds.
Serve and enjoy!
Lacinto kale (also known as Tuscan kale) is terrific for salads. It is more tender than curly kale which means it softens quicker after being "massaged".
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