Friday, April 19, 2013

Fast Friday: Kale salad

I think it's high time for some real talk, wouldn't you say?  Fridays tend to seem like the perfect time for it.  Heading into the weekend, we should shed ourselves of any worry and guilt and get ready to enjoy the next two days... possibly rife with guilty pleasures :)  Sounds like a fantastic plan to me!

This real talk isn't exactly heavy stuff, but it has been weighing on me for the last week, so here goes.  I've realized that over the past few years, I've painted myself as some kind of salad hater.  Sure, I'll occasionally post recipes for a creamy BLTA salad or a kickin' beef taco salad, but those recipes are months and months apart from one another.

Roughly once a month, I'll pack a salad for lunch: spinach, a chopped chicken breast, some black beans, and a little salsa is my pathetic go-to concoction.  My coworkers will see me retrieving it from the refrigerator and immediately chuckle while muttering something like, "Uh oh, Katy packed a salad.  You know what this means."  It means that I will grumble before and after every bite and wind up feeling incredibly unsatisfied when I'm finished.

If I can't go out for a walk and stop for supplementary sustenance, I'll spend the afternoon nibbling on items from my emergency food stash like crackers, popcorn, and granola bars.  Salads just don't fill me up or psychologically satisfy me!

Except this salad, guys and gals.  THIS. SALAD.

This salad.  I can barely contain myself.  This salad is the bee's knees.  It's fresh.  And tasty, so tasty and flavorful!  Sweet and salty together in healthy, organic bliss.  And crunchy, chewy, filling, and oh-so-satisfying.  This is legitimately the best salad I have ever had. EVER.

Real talk: I've eaten it 4 times in 6 days!

I'm fairly certain this means I can no longer call myself a card-carrying member of the salad haters association.  Because I could eat this salad every day for lunch and be over the moon with joy.  It's got everything you could ever want in a meal.  Salty cashews, chewy dried cranberries, sweet and slightly tart chopped apples, and a hint of onion tossed with tender greens in a yummy apple cider dressing.

Thrice I've had it as is, but the most recent time I added a chopped chicken breast on top for some husband-pleasing protein.  Speaking of the husband, even he liked it and he's normally not a fan of salads or salads with sweet items.  But this salad -- THIS SALAD -- he said he'd eat again!  That's huge, folks.

And I'd eat it again, too.  With a big bunch of kale costing under $1 and the whole meal coming together for a single Lincoln, what's not to love about this?  Plus, it's a healthy and hearty no cook meal.  A meal that's perfect for summertime.

S'mores cupcakes, summer vegetable pasta, and a fresh kale salad.  Wherever you are and whatever the weather, I think you should have yourself a picnic this weekend.  Screw spring, summer should start when you say so :)  Enjoy the weekend!

One year ago: Two ingredient ice cream
Two years ago: Crab cakes
Three years ago: Beef red bean chili

Luann's Kale Salad
(adapted, slightly, from Iowa Girl Eats)
-serves 2

A few quick notes: This salad is totally filling on its own, but to add some more protein, try topped with a cooked, cooled, and chopped chicken breast... nothing too bold to outshine the flavors in the salad.  Also, if you'd like to save half for later, it keeps well in a sealed container in the fridge (the vinegar keeps the apples from browning).  I had one portion for dinner and the other for lunch the following day. 

1 bunch kale, rinsed, patted dry, and torn into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 apple, chopped
1/4-1/2 teaspoon onion powder, to taste
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
Ground black pepper

Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt.  Massage with fingers for 2 minutes, or until kale is dark green and tender.  Add onion powder, dried cranberries, apple, nuts, and toss to combine.  In a small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, sugar, and pepper to taste, and drizzle over kale salad and toss well.  Serve and enjoy!

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