Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lemon Tahini Kale Salad

Even though I eat healthy most of the time, like most people, I don't relish eating salads. Sure, they're refreshing now and again, but most of the time I eat them because I know they're good for me (my mom thinks salads aren't good for you though...typical crazy Asian mother), not for the taste. If I did that though, I'd be the size of Precious (based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire). When I'm done, rarely do I go, "Mmmhm, more salad!" Not this time.

I've made this salad a couple times now, but today I just couldn't get enough. I went back for seconds. And then thirds. Topped it with some red cabbage I had lying around. Good thing it's good for you! Made with kale, healthy fats, and zesty lemon, you can make this ahead of time and have it on hand for a couple days. Unlike tender greens like arugula, spinach or even romaine, kale is tougher and sturdier, so it won't wilt under dressing. Speaking of dressing, the best way to eat kale is to massage it. Yes, that's right. Kale is full of cellulose (indigestible plant fiber) and is much sturdier than other salad greens, so when you massage it, the fibers break down to make the leaves more tender. If you try to eat kale raw, it'll be bitter and might turn you off. You gotta massage it, people.

I used about a pound of kale to make 4 servings. Trust me, a pound will seem like a LOT, but once you massage it for a couple of minutes, it will wilt down to more manageable portions and you can just eat as much as you would for a normal salad. I brought this salad to a potluck once, and it was one of the first dishes to go! You can't say that for most other salads, can you?

Massaged Lemon-Tahini Kale Salad
Dressing:
-3 T tahini (find it in the Middle Eastern section of the grocery store or better yet, go to an ethnic supermarket. More options and much cheaper too)
-1 T peanut butter
-1 T olive oil
-1 tsp honey or more to taste
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
-1.5 T lemon juice

-1 lb of kale
-salad garnishes: tomatoes, chickpeas

1. Mix the dressing together until it is smooth and free of lumps. If your tahini is dry, add some more oil. Ultimately, it doesn't matter what it looks like because you'll be massaging it into the kale anyway.
2. Strip the stems from your kale, tear it to bit size pieces, wash, and spin dry. This step may take a while since you'll need much more kale than you think. It's easier to do in steps, e.g. take 1/4 of the kale at a time. Transfer kale to a large bowl.
3. Once you have a bunch of kale washed and dried, add some of the dressing and start working it in with your hands. Massage the kale until it starts to wilt and take on the dressing. Massage it in for at least 2 minutes to make sure all the leaves are covered.
4. Wash and dry some more kale, add it to the bowl. Add some more dressing and massage.
5. Repeat process until you've used up all your kale and dressing. By now your salad should look less like a mountainous monstrosity and more like a normal salad!
6. Top with chopped up tomatoes, chickpeas, and sesame seeds for garnish.


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