We had lofty garden plans. We can grow herbs and hot peppers very well, but some of the veggies never materialized. Some just died like the zucchini, cucumber and rhubarb. I harvested some Swiss chard but not enough to make a whole salad. And the only thing I really wanted to grow from the garden was the kale. I planted different kinds of kale- dinosaur or lacinato, Red Russian, and Vates blue curled kale. The vates blue curled kale grew the best, but even then, it wasn’t much. A handful of leaves, tops.
Imagine my surprise when we went to Rob’s parents place over the (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend and they had this monster of a beauty in their backyard:
Lacinato or dinosaur kale is an heirloom variety of kale that is dark green with textured leaves. It is more tender and sweet than your standard curly kale, and works really well in salads. Armed with oodles of kale and a couple hours before the Thanksgiving feast, I quickly made myself at home in their kitchen and got to work making a salad. It sure is fun to cook in a well-stocked kitchen and garden! Lacinato leaves are more narrow, as well, but they can easily be removed with gentle traction (as seen in this video). I rolled all the leaves together and then cut them into thin slices, akin to a thick chiffonade. I grabbed some dill from their backyard and added it to a simple lemony vinaigrette, inspired by Ricki. Topped with grated carrots, julienned raw sweet potato and toasted pumpkin seeds, there was a nice orange visual with a serious satisfying crunch. The lemon-dill dressing complemented the salad without being overpowering.
I will likely be known as the kale salad girl by Rob’s family. Two holidays, two raw kale salads. For Easter, I brought the raw kale salad with beets, raisins and almonds. Thanksgiving, was this raw kale salad. Personally, I have no qualms sharing my joy of kale.
They urged me to take home the rest of the kale. I didn’t want it to go to waste, so I left them the leaves at top so the plant would continue to grow. Kale apparently tastes better after the first frost, so I have hope there is still more kale to come!
Raw Kale and Sweet Potato Salad with a Lemon-Dill Dressing
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (half a lemon)
2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar (apple cider vinegar or plain rice vinegar is ok but then you might want to add some sweetener, too)
1 tbsp avocado oil (or extra virgin olive oil)
4 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill (or 2 tsp dry)
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
pepper, to taste
1 large bunch kale, washed, dried, stems removed and thinly julienned (see video) – I used 26 leaves of dinosaur kale
1 large carrot, grated (150g)
1 small sweet potato, julienned (200g)
1/4 cup raw or lightly toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1. Mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, oil, mustard and salt into a large bowl. Add julienned kale. Mix it all up with your hands (no cheating!), working the dressing into the kale leaves until the colour begins to darken and the leaves wilt (around 5 minutes).
2. Add shredded carrot and sweet potatoes to kale, toss to coat everything in the dressing. Top salad with toasted pumpkin seeds just prior to serving.
Serves 6+ as a starter.