Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mediterranean Kale Salad

I planted a large kale garden this year :-) There's so many uses for it! It's one of the most nutritious greens I know of. It has lots of minerals like calcium and magnesium and is very alkalizing for the body. I use it in my green smoothies in the morning, make it into salads, make kale chips out of it and add it to many dishes that need greens. I even used it in the place of spinach in my raw lasagna the other day. It was very tasty used in that manner. The lemon juice and seseme meal or olive oil in this recipe help to soften the leaves enough so that it's not such a strong flavor and tough texture. I usually use the seseme meal instead of the olive oil on this one just because I avoid using oils in my everyday food as much as possible--don't like the greasy feel in my mouth anymore). They are way higher in fat then whole foods like seseme seeds are. My rule of thumb is if I can eat food whole, I do :-)

Mediterranean Kale Salad

2 small bunches fresh kale, stems removed
2 tablespoons fresh ground seseme seeds (hulled or unhulled) OR 2 tablespoons raw (cold-pressed) extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup pine nuts (can use sunflower seeds instead)
1/4 cup raisins (soaked 10 minutes, drained and rinsed)
Fresh black pepper, to taste (optional)

Stack two of the kale leaves with the stem end facing you. Fold in half lengthwise and roll tightly liek a cigar. Slice crosswise into very thin strips. Repeat with the remaining kale leaves. Chop the kale strips crosswise a few times, so they aren't too long.

Place the kale in a mixing bowl along with the the seseme seeds, lemon juice, and salt. Toss well with your hands, working the dressing into the greens. Add the pine nuts and raisins and toss gently. Season to taste with black pepper if you choose to (I've never used the pepper). Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator. It will keep for three days. Bring to room temperature before serving (I've eaten it cold and it's just fine that way too).

Variation #1: Add thin strips of young coconut meat to this salad. It's very gourmet and gives it a tropical flare :-) I did this on my sister's birthday (my idea) and she loved it!

Variation #2: Substitute 1/4 cup sliced raw, kalamata olives for the raisins and add 1 diced red bell pepper.

Variation #3: Eliminate the raisins and pine nuts. Add 1 seeded and diced tomato, 1 diced avocado, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

**When kale is cut into thin strips and marinated in a dressing, it has a wonderfully soft and juicy texture that makes it delightful in salads. This nutritious salad is visually beautiful, and sure to become a staple recipe for your family and friends.

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