Have you ever had a huge bunch of kale, figured it could serve a ton of people, only to have it cook down to barely a bowlful? I make kale a lot, and I never fail to be dismayed by this transformation. I mean, I know it’s going to cook down. But I always managed to forget just how much it actually shrinks.
Well, I’ve discovered a solution to this problem; don’t cook it down. I know raw kale sounds super unappetizing, and I know that the leaves are tough and not something you would want to eat plain. But apparently you can massage that toughness out of them and make them beautifully edible.
Yes, you heard me, massage. It sounds crazy, I know, but all you need is a little bit of acidity and a few minutes of elbow grease, and suddenly you have a raw green that is totally edible and absolutely appropriate for a salad (not to mention still absurdly good for you).
I’ve made variations of this salad three times in the past week, that’s how much I like it. Since it’s kale, which has a bit of natural bitterness to it, I like to combine it with a sweet, summery fruit. My favorite so far is nectarines, though mangoes and blackberries are also delicious here. I’ve made a fancier version of the dressing (a concoction of curry powder, cumin, oil, and apple cider vinegar), but I’ve decided that I really like this simple version more. There is definitely something to be said for keeping your ingredients simple and delicious.
With all the delicious summer fruit in season, this is my new go-to salad. It’s light, easy to make, and ridiculously good for you. Also, it’s kind of fun to say you massaged your kale to make this salad. It’s like you gave it a spa treatment or something. Maybe that’s just me….
Kale and Nectarine Salad
1 bunch kale
3 ripe nectarines, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1-2 teaspoons agave, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup toasted walnuts (or slivered almonds slivers, or pumpkin seeds, or whatever other nut or seed you prefer)
1. Wash and dry the kale. Cut or rip out the tough stems, then stack the leaves and run your knife through them, slicing them into thin ribbons.
2. In a large bowl, drizzle half the lime juice and about a teaspoon of the oil over the kale leaves. Massage the leaves for 2-3 minutes. This involves mixing the leaves around by hand to get them evenly coated and squeezing handfuls of kale as you go. You’ll feel the difference in texture as the leaves go from tough to softer, slightly wilted, and altogether more appetizing.
3. Mix the rest of the lime juice, oil, and agave in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Toss the kale with the nectarines and the dressing. Add in the nuts or seeds just before serving, and serve cold or room temperature.