Kale is barely visible in the American diet and often appears merely as background garnish on salad bars. Yet, kale is right at the top of the A-list of foods with the highest nutrient density. Packed with vitamin A, vitamin K, and the antioxidants beta carotene and lutein & zeazanthin, this leafy green ought to be highly praised and given an honored place in the diet several times a week. Hopefully, this tasty recipe will lure you into the kale den.
You might even fall in love with kale after eating this salad because this kale has a partner to charm your taste buds and offer a pleasant crunch. Peanuts, also highly nutritious, are a great source of monounsaturated fat that helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Often grouped with nuts, peanuts are actually in the legume family and are a rich source of the antioxidant resveratrol that helps to induce good blood flow to the heart and brain.
The antioxidants in peanuts measure up to those fruits with the highest antioxidant levels: pomegranates, blackberries, and strawberries. You may be surprised to discover peanuts contain more antioxidants than apples, carrots, and beets.
Kale makes a gorgeous display on the dinner table and certainly packs a hearty nutritional punch. Dotted with bright red radishes, crisp cucumbers, and crunchy bits of roasted peanuts, this earthy forest green salad is bathed in a rich and creamy dressing that instantly satisfies the savory palate. The secret to softening the kale and making it so much easier to eat is giving it a loving massage, a technique that infuses it with deeper flavor as well. This salad is a great keeper. If you don’t finish it in one sitting, you can tuck it into a covered container and keep it refrigerated for up to 3 or 4 days.
ONE HAIL OF A KALE SALAD
WITH CASHEW CAESAR DRESSING
Yield: 6 servings
1 large bunch kale, stems discarded, torn into small bite-size pieces
1 cup Cashew Caesar Dressing
1/2 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts, coarsely ground in a hand-crank nutmill
1 bunch red radishes, sliced
2 Persian cucumbers, chopped
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 ripe avocado, chopped
1. Place the kale into a large mixing bowl and pour the Cashew Caesar Salad Dressing over. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale, mixing and massaging for one full minute to soften the kale and infuse it with flavor.
2. Add the peanuts, radishes, cucumbers, and green onions and toss well
3. Transfer the salad to an attractive serving bowl or platter and sprinkle the chopped avocado over the top.
If you cannot locate Persian cucumbers, use 1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped
Cashew Caesar Dressing
Caesar salad remains a long-standing favorite. The original dressing was made with a generous measure of Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and a raw egg in a base of olive oil. I’ve taken grand liberties with this oil-free, cashew-based dressing. Far from the standard Caesar, this tasty version has a rich character all its own.
Yield: 2 3/4 cups
2 cups water, divided
1 cup cashews
1 clove garlic, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons dark miso
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon vegan Parmesan
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or guar gum
1. Place 1 cup of the water, cashews, and garlic into the blender and process until the cashews are broken down. If using a high-powered blender, you can place all the ingredients into the blender at once.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and process until thoroughly incorporated and the dressing is smooth and creamy. Use a funnel to transfer the dressing into a narrow-neck bottle for easier pouring.
3. Use immediately or chill until ready to use. Shake well before using. Refrigerated, the dressing will keep for up to 10 days.
Substitute macadamias or pine nuts for the cashews