Kale has been a superfood buzz word for a few years now and each time I see a gorgeous photo of a kale salad I feel inspired to make one. Then I look at the tough, dark leafy green at the grocery store and I think there is no way I can make that taste good.
Then I went to a few different restaurants and was served a kale salad and loved it. I decided to learn how to make my own kale salad taste as great as all the photos I saw looked. Already a fan of baby spinach in my salad, I began adding kale in little bits to jazz up my same old salad, not to mention give it a nutritional boost.
To get the most benefit nutrition wise, kale is best when the leaves are broken down by steaming or cooking. Raw kale still contains high amounts of vitamin A, K, fibre, calcium and iron but your body can have a harder time digesting it. The simple process of rubbing it while you wash the leaves can help break down the kale and aid in digestion.
While experimenting with different ways to add kale, I learn a few secrets to making a great tasting kale salad.
6 Tips to Make a Great Tasting Kale Salad
Remove the Stem
Kale has a very thick and sturdy centre stem and if you are cooking it, it will soften, but not in a salad. Rip the kale leaves from each side of this stem and use the stem in a soup, or smoothie. If you want he nutrients from the stem in your salad, slice it very thin as it will add a lot of crunch to your greens and may be harder to digest if not cooked.
The biggest tip for a great tasting kale salad is to rip the leaves into tiny pieces and massage as you go. Tiny pieces the size of a quarter or smaller that are rubbed while ripping will result in a softer leaf, a more enjoyable salad and be easier for your body to digest.
Oil Based Dressing
I do enjoy my yogurt based creamy dressing, but for kale salad an extra virgin olive oil with balsamic or basil and feta is my new favourite. The oil adheres to and softens the kale leaves and makes it taste silky smooth just like at the restaurants.
Let it Sit
You know how lettuce gets wilty if you leave dressing on it for a few hours or over night, well when you are talking about a kale salad, letting it sit with the dressing on it for a few minutes (10-20) is actually a good thing.
A must for any salad is a serving of protein – it turns a side dish into a meal. A chicken breast, piece of salmon, can of tuna or black beans will turn this kale salad into a superfood meal.
Add Fruit (optional)
Something about adding mango, blueberries, strawberries or orange sections to a kale salad gives it a hint of sweetness and blast of colour and makes a great tasting salad look even better.
Add kale to your salad in small amounts at first to ensure you don’t have any issues digesting it. Kale is very fibrous and eating it raw means it is not broken down as it would be if it were steamed, baked or even pureed in a smoothie.