Garden Fresh Kale Salad

This Garden Fresh Kale Salad is easy to make, packed full of everything good for you, and uses local, readily available vegetables.
Garden Fresh Kale Salad
It was recently brought to my attention that my recipe for Kale Salad is not on my blog. Strawberry Feta Salad with Baby Kale is buried several posts back but there is a definite void in the Kale Salad Department. Now I realize that Kale Salad is kind of . . . well, out of vogue in the food blogging world, but really, who cares? Put your hand up if you like it. See? Everyone looks at it suspiciously at first and then they try it. And they like it. And then they feel self-righteous about eating it because it is so nutritious.

My version of Kale Salad is mine because all the veggies in it are straight out of my garden: freshly picked kale, just-pulled beets and crunchy carrots. Sometimes I toss in chick peas for extra protein, but they are not essential, especially if you are serving another main protein with your meal. I tie it all together with either a Balsamic Vinaigrette or a Lemon Vinaigrette, depending on my mood. Feeling Italian? Go for the deep rich flavour of the Balsamic. Greek? Stick with the Lemon and add a little crumbled feta cheese. If you grow your own kale, pick those tender leaves early in the morning. If you buy your kale, be sure to remove the tough central stem and massage the leaves gently with olive oil first. Kale leaves have a bit of a waxy surface and incorporating a little olive oil helps to tenderize them while adding flavour too. I crave the crunchy seeds that top this salad. Usually I use high-protein pumpkin and sunflower seeds, toasted and topped with a little tamari, but today I substituted unsalted pistachios and cashews when I discovered an empty pumpkin seed jar in my pantry.
Garden Fresh Kale Salad ready to toss

Garden Fresh Kale Salad
Serves 6 as a side salad

about 3-4 cups of finely chopped kale (approx 8 leaves, stems removed)
1 1/2 cups grated or julienned raw carrots
1 1/2 cups grated or julienned raw beets (or red cabbage)
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp tamari

Vinaigrette Ingredients
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. good quality Balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried oregano

1. Wash kale leaves and remove the central stem. Chop finely. Put in a large bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and gently massage the oil into the leaves for a minute or two.
2. Grate or julienne the carrots and beets (or cabbage)
3. Toast the pumpkin and sunflower seeds by putting them in a heated fry pan over medium heat. Watch very carefully, stirring until they just start to turn brown. Remove from heat and toss with the tamari sauce until well coated. Cool.
4. Whisk the vinaigrette ingredients together. Toss the salad with the vinaigrette just before serving.

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