Kale, Beet and more sweet and crunchy salad
I love this salad for a few reasons.
- It can be made ahead and eaten over a few days. Work once, eat three or four times!
- In fact, it is better on the second day.
- It is packed full of vitamins and nutrients.
- It has great protein sources for non-meat eaters like me.
- It has good fats in it.
- It has practically limitless modifications based on what you have, what you like and what is in season.
- It is super yummy!
I will give you the recipe for what I did this time, and then I will offer all sorts of alternative ingredients. Since this is a salad not a delicate cake, all ingredient measurements are an estimate. This version of the recipe makes 3-4 servings. Add more, add less, omit…you do you, inspired by me.
The kale is raw, so this is best made ahead. As it sits in the dressing for a few hours or a few days, it softens and all the flavors marry together.
Kale, washed, stems removed, chopped in to ribbons
1/2 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1 medium (or 1/2 large or 2 small) raw beet (any color, but I used purple), peeled and cut into small cubes
1 carrot, grated
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 small apple, chopped
4 oz feta (I like cow or sheep, but goat’s milk works) (Omit for vegan version or sub vegan cheese)
Suggestions for other ingredients to add or use in lieu of these:
1/2 cucumber, chopped
1/2 zucchini, grated
Pecans, pistachios or sunflower seeds instead of walnuts
Raisins, dried cherries or chopped apricots instead of cranberries
Blue cheese instead of feta
Pear instead of apple (use a firmer/crunchy one or it will just get brown and mushy)
1/2 cup strawberries, quartered
1/2 c raspberries
1/2 c blueberries
2 T chia seeds
1 cup cooked and drained chick peas or white beans
1 avocado, chopped (the only problem with this one, is avocados do turn brown, so if you keep this for a couple of days, you will see some discoloration. This is not necessarily a problem, and the avocados melt into the cheese and dressing making it all very creamy.)
Super tip: Add 1/c cup cooked and cooled quinoa or really any super grain to make this more substantial as a meal on its own.
You can omit any ingredient. You can omit the kale if you want, but don’t use a soft lettuce, baby kale or spinach unless you are serving and eating right away. You will end up with a wilted mess. Tougher greens such as Swiss chard tend to be too tough and bitter raw, but hey, if you like that, go for it!
Add all except the cheese to a large bowl.
Toss it together and then add a dressing or make your own. Because the salad has sweet and savory ingredients and because kale can be bitter, I like to use something sweet in the dressing. This time I used wild blueberry preserves. If you don’t want to make the dressing, I suggest a bottled balsamic or raspberry vinaigrette or similar
1 T blueberry jam or preserves (or strawberry or raspberry or honey)
**You can also use fresh berries and just whiz them up in the blender with the vinegar, but since out of season they are imported, expensive and not very good, I use this option in the winter time.
4T balsamic vinegar (you can use red wine or apple cider vinegar, but balsamic adds a richer flavor. You can also use a fruit infused balsamic.)
3 T Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Whisk (or blend) all the ingredients except the olive oil together. Then whisk as you slowly stream in the olive oil. Pour over the salad. Toss it around. It shouldn’t be too wet, as it softens and moistens as it marinates.
Add the feta or other cheese and toss one last time.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 4 days. Once you are ready to serve it, toss it again and if it is too dry, you can add more dressing or just add a little olive oil and vinegar.
Voila! You are ready to eat.