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Kale Hazelnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

January 21, 2013
Kale Salad

The sun is shining today after several cloud loomed afternoons. It is warming and has put a slight spring in my step. The ability to take in fresh air with my kids has been the biggest benefit after weeks of colds and humidifier-filled nights. I do love winter for its hibernation qualities. There is something enchanting about burrowing deep into one’s own nest and spending evenings with board games and popcorn, but the need to explore nature eventually summons us out the door. If nothing else, just to breathe a little.

I didn’t want all of these winter months to pass without sharing this salad with you. It has certain rustic, earthy qualities I don’t find in other salads per say. It’s hearty enough to classify as a meal with the right extras.

The beauty of this kale salad lies in the depths of its flavors and myriad of colors. Truth be told, it has hidden perks as well. Besides the obvious health benefits, its crisp bite lingers long beyond a typical lettuce under the dousing of oil and vinegar, largely in part to the fact that kale belongs to the cabbage family. It will keep its crunch for several hour. Completely appreciated.

Kale Salad

Curly leafed kale is perhaps the more commonly sold kale, but for this I really prefer the nutty, less bitter quality of Tuscan kale (also called dinosaur kale, lacinato, cavolo nero, black kale, or Tuscan cabbage). Not impertinent, but definitely enhancing to remove the thick ribs from the kale leaves. They are very bitter and can overpower the other flavors happening in the salad. The easiest way I found to do this, is to use the point of your knife and run it along both sides of the rib.

Kale Salad

Use this recipe as a base for kale salad. I used feta, dried cherries, golden raisins, and chopped hazelnuts because that’s what my pantry stocked. I have made this with dried figs, slivered almonds, and blue cheese and I certainly was not left wanting. Of course, you could use other vinaigrettes, but this one really is lovely with its balsamic tang and honey-kissed sweetness.

Kale Salad

In addition to making kale salad in my kitchen this winter, I have been concocting some other beautiful things, like Brioche French Toast and a Red Lentil Acorn Squash Soup, which I hope to share with you soon.

Hope the sun is shining on your piece of Earth. -Amanda

Kale Hazelnut Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

Serves: 4-6
Tuscan kale is preferred here over curly leafed kale for its less bitter flavor. Because kale is in the cabbage family, this salad will remain crisp for several hours. Take liberty in substituing other dried fruits, nuts, and cheeses.
Ingredients
  • Salad:
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale (3/4 pound / 340 grams)
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 3 ounces / 84 grams feta cheese, crumbled
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette:
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. To make vinaigrette, put all of the ingredients in a small bowl except the olive oil. While whisking the contents, slowly drizzle in olive oil and continue to whisk until completely emulsified.
  2. Cut out ribs in kale using the point of a knife. Then, cut kale leaves into thin ribbons.
  3. In a medium bowl, add kale ribbons, hazelnuts, raisins, cherries, and feta crumbles. Drizzle in vinaigrette and toss carefully to coat each piece of kale.

 

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