Tuscan Kale Chopped Salad

I love kale. Raw, steamed, baked into kale chips, you name it. This is a good raw kale salad. David and I made it the other night for dinner, as we needed to detox a bit from heavy eating on previous travels. I altered the recipe to be as healthy as possible, so I omitted the ¼ cup of grated Parmesan from the dressing and the homemade croutons as a garnish. The salad was definitely good freshly made, but didn’t blow us out of the water or anything. I refrigerated the leftovers (I did not toss the pecans with the salad, so as to keep them from getting soggy, but the rest of the salad was refrigerated together.) The next day I grabbed the leftovers to eat for lunch. The salad was still good, but needed something, as the vinaigrette had kind of absorbed into the salad. To freshen it up a bit, I added a drizzle of olive oil and champagne vinegar, and added some fresh toasted pecans. It was delicious, like 3 times tastier than the night before. The night spent in the fridge softened the kale a bit and the flavors had more time to marry. So my advice? Make the salad and mix it all together except for the pecans, and refrigerate it overnight. The next evening, toss the salad again, add a drizzle of olive oil, a bit of champagne vinegar and the pecans. Sometimes happy accidents elevate “good” recipes to “great“.

adapted from: The Sprouted Kitchen
serves: 4

Vinaigrette:
1 small shallot, chopped
juice of 1 Meyer lemon* see note below
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
sea salt & freshly ground pepper

1 bunch lacinato kale (also called Tuscan or Dinosaur kale)
1 apple like Gala, Pink Lady, or Fuji
1 cup cooked chickpeas, skins removed (optional) and chopped
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
1/3 cup fresh cherries, pitted and chopped, or dried cherries

Combine the shallot, lemon juice, and olive oil in a bowl and whisk vigorously, or use a blender or small food processor. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and give one last pulse or stir. Set aside.

To assemble the salad, cut the tough stems out of the kale and finely chop the leaves. Put the chopped kale in a large bowl. Core and dice the apple and add to the kale along with the chickpeas, and cherries. Add some of the dressing and toss to combine. Taste and add more dressing if you like. Divide among salad plates or bowls, or serve in a large bowl topped with the toasted pecans.

*If Meyer lemons aren’t in season (like now) I use a regular lemon and add a bit of sweetness. In this case I added a little drizzle of agave nectar, as I think Meyer lemons are a little sweeter and less acidic than regular.

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