Kale Salad: My New Found Winter Green Romance

Kale is a tremendously nutritious green, readily available during the gray winter months- but is it possible to fall in love with it?

No doubt most of you have heard all the remarkable benefits of dark leafy greens. It turns out that Kale is the superstar of them all! It’s packed with vitamins {1 cup=180% RDA of Vitamin A, 200% Vitamin C, 1,000% Vitamin K, 15% Calcium} plus fiber, minerals and leutine. All these letters and numbers add up to a heart healthy, blood healthy vegetable that would be really good for those who are at risk for heart disease- and just incredible for the rest of us. Not to mention all that goodness for a mere 30 calories!

This is all well and good, but I don’t know about you…. I’ve never really been a big fan. I find all the winter greens such as Collard greens, Mustard greens, Beet greens, Kale and Escarole tough and bitter. I’ve also have had a few bowls of Collards in the South (which may be the fault of the restaurant) that I found to be soppy and a bit gray/brown. I chalked it up to an acquired taste (and still may be).

Earlier this season I stumbled upon a shaved Brussel Sprout recipe, and the raw, tough leaves were incredible, especially when allowed to be subdued by languishing in a vinegar and oil dressing. Surely this would be the answer for Kale too.

And it is.

Even better is the notion of “massaging the leaves”, which aids in the breakdown of the cell walls, not only turning the mass into a bright, delicious green, but also turning the tough to tender.

A healthy pinch of salt brought out a bit of the sweetness- and then an amazing thing happened.

I, in fact, have found a new love. There is a “tooth” to Kale, even with this technique, but it’s satisfying, and the leaves are not bitter. I found myself gobbling it up with eyebrow lifting amazement. Sorry Spinach- there’s new kid in town.

If you’re a fan of sauteed greens, I’ve been told the trick is to boil the greens first in some salted water for approximately 3 minutes. Then remove them, squeeze out the water, and then sautee like spinach. The water and salt softens them while preserving some of the green and opens them up to receive other flavors, such as garlic and oil.

I do hope if you’re not a Kale fan that you give recipe this a whirl. Who knows, you may begin your own romance.

Tender Kale Salad with Apples and Pepitas
This salad an be eaten directly after making, or allow it to rest for 20 minutes, or more, for an even better taste. Prep time: 15 minutes
135 calories
26 g
0 g
3 g
4 g
0 g
225 g
107 g
11 g
0 g
3 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 135
Calories from Fat 29
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 107mg
Total Carbohydrates 26g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 11g
Protein 4g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. 2T Cider Vinegar
  2. 2T Walnut oil
  3. .5t Salt
  4. .5t Honey
  5. .5t ground black pepper
  6. 6c Kale, washed and chopped
  7. 1 Granny Smith apple, thinly sliced
  8. .5c celery, chopped
  9. .25c red onion, thinly sliced
  10. 2T pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  1. Combine the first five ingredients in a large bowl. Add the kale. Toss with the dressing and with your clean hands work the dressing into the leaves by pinching and squeezing.
  2. The leaves will start to turn a deep green color after about a minute.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
  4. Serve.
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Coconutty: Grilled Tofu on Coconut Cauliflower and Spinach with Spicy Coconut Sauce

Grilled Tofu with Spicy Coconut Sauce

The beginnings of my move are underway. Each day is a task of clearing out another section of the loft, separating things from my past and deciding which I will carry with me into the future. This is a cathartic and exciting time. I’ve been great places and I am now on my way to something altogether new. All the things that used to weigh me down and crammed my corners are now an ever lightening load.
Finding time to cook, let alone eat, has been trickier, but when I get to the stove it’s far more satisfying. It’s the constant touchstone and keeps me grounded.
A snowy head of cauliflower has been haunting me every time I open the fridge. Can’t say this healthy cruciferous veg is my fave but it’s growing on me. The bigger challenge is there is SO MUCH of it. What to do… what to do…
Mashing steamed cauliflower is a recipe I came across about 3 years ago. It’s remarkable how tasty it is. The mellowness of the coconut counterbalances the sulphur tang in the cauliflower. I wouldn’t call this mock mashed potatoes, though some do, rather it’s a winner for what it is. There is enough flavor here to pair with some roasted chicken or pork chop, without overpowering the meal with coconut.
Before grilling the tofu I gave the slices a good juicing of lime juice. Not only does this add flavor to what otherwise is bland, but the vitamin C in the juice will aid the absorption of the iron in the spinach.
A quick reduction of the remaining coconut milk after the mashing makes a creamy decadent sauce with healthy fats. This meal may be way too healthy, but more importantly it’s really delicious.
Coconut Tofu with Cauliflower and Spinach
serves 4
1 head cauliflower
1 can light coconut milk
1 large bag of spinach chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 lime, zest reserved
generous pinch of red pepper flakes
.5t fish sauce or salt
pinch of sugar
1 block of firm or extra firm tofu
Break cauliflower into smaller pieces and steam until just tender, not to mush. Add enough coconut milk to make a rustic mash. Add salt to taste.
Drain tofu. Slice into .25″ slices and sprinkle generously with lime juice.
Place remaining coconut milk, approximately half a can, into a small saucepan and stir in half of reserved lime zest, pepper flakes, fish sauce and sugar. Simmer on medium low until reduced. Adjust seasoning to taste.
In large frying pan warm 2T olive oil and sautee garlic gently over medium heat until just cooked. Add rinsed but still damp chopped spinach and sautee. The water from the spinach with add steam and keep the spinach green and bright. Err cooking spinach on the under side to retain as much of the vitamins as possible as well as flavor.
Heat a grill pan on medium high. Generously oil pan and grill tofu.
Build the dish by laying down the cauliflower down first. Pile on the bright beautiful spinach and then lay down the tofu. Add the remaining zest into the sauce and spoon over the tofu.