I haven’t always been a fan of kale. In fact, when I first tried it I didn’t like it at all. It took me a while to figure out how to prepare in a way I’d enjoy while reaping the health benefits of this nutritious green.
Through trial and error, I’ve learned a few secrets to preparing raw kale:
1. Remove the stems. They’re the bitter part of the plant. I used to always use them and wonder why my kale salads and smoothies tasted bitter. Now I often just use the leaves and it always turns out tastier. Some people remove the stems for cooking too, it’s personal preference.
2. Massage the dressing into the leaves and let it ‘marinate’ for at least 10-15 minutes. A kale salad tastes best when the dressing has had a chance to soak into the leaves. This also helps soften them, which is especially important if you’re using the curly variety. You don’t want it scratching your throat!
3. If you really don’t like curly kale, try dinosaur (lacinato) kale as it’s less bitter and much softer.
When I started using these simple tricks, my kale salads went from bitter and hard to swallow to mind-blowing delicious!
If you’re still not convinced by kale, consider these 11 vitamins and minerals it contains:
1. Vitamin K
2. Vitamin A
3. Vitamin C
Weekend glow kale salad
I was surprised when I first tasted this because it was the best salad I think I’ve ever made, kale or otherwise. Even more shockingly, my husband inhaled this salad! When you can get a man to enjoy a kale salad, you know you’ve hit the jackpot.
Yield: 4 servings
1/2 large head of kale (about 5-6 cups packed)
1 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2-3/4 cup chopped carrot (2 small carrots)
1 english cucumber (2 cups chopped halves)
1 avocado, chopped
1 1/4 cup chopped grape tomatoes (or other variety)
1/2 cup mixed raisins and goji berries
1/4 cup hemp seed
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Lightened up tahini-lemon dressing:
1/4 cup Tahini
3 garlic cloves
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3 tbsp water, or as needed
1. Chop vegetables and mix in a large mixing bowl. Reserve hemp seed and walnuts for sprinkling on top.
2. Make your dressing in a food processor and process until smooth.
3. Tear the leaves off the kale and rip into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry kale leaves.
4. Mix the vegetables, kale leaves, and full batch of dressing (3/4-1 cup) in large bowl until thoroughly combined.
5. Place in fridge to ‘marinate’ for 15 minutes and enjoy! Will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for one day.
Angela Liddon is the creator of Oh She Glows — an inspiring, healthy vegan recipe website — and one of Chatelaine’s Women of the Year 2011. Angela’s passion for healthy vegan food is contagious and she’s eager to show others that vegan (and often gluten-free) food can blow your taste buds away.