Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Build a Better Salad with Kale

Our regular salad

A few years ago I moved to California.  During my time there I thoroughly enjoyed the abundance of fresh, local produce.  (We now live in Kansas!)  One of the things I learned about in California was kale.  I don't know which rock I had been living under all my life, but I had never even heard of it until we were living there (and I am in my 30's!).  When I discovered how good this power food was for me and my family, I started a quest to incorporate it into our regular diet. 
I've tried the kale chips- I over-salted and over-cooked them I think.  I had a hard time liking them and wanting to make them again.  I tried to make green smoothies with them.  I truthfully had a hard time choking them down.  I also tried to saute it and eat it that way- sometimes even with bacon or nuts to make it more palatable.  I still couldn't love it.  I learned that our favorite way to eat kale was in soup or in baked egg dishes.   But, both of those things can take some planning and time to bring about.
When we moved to Kansas and lived in temporary housing for a couple of months, I wanted easy meals to serve.  I also wanted to keep feeding us the healthy variety of vegetables we had come accustomed to in California.  I recalled a friend in California telling me that they put raw kale in their salads.  When I initially heard this months ago I hadn't even considered trying it since the only raw form of kale I had eaten was in a smoothie and I thought it was awful.  But, for kicks and because of the ease of preparation, I decided to try it in our salad.  I mixed baby spinach with romaine and added a little bit of kale in the mix along with your regular old green salad stars.  Not bad!  I thought.  I continued to do this as we were eating salad 3-4 days a week and upped the amount of kale.  My six-year-old daughter picked up one of the kale leaves off her plate and asked, "What is this mom?  It's my favorite part of the salad!"  I couldn't believe it!  Still now, 3 1/2 months later as we continue to eat lots of salads, my six-year-old still loves the kale.  My other 2 children (ages 3 and 5) eat this salad right along with us with no complaints.  It's a miracle!!!   I now usually mix equal amounts of baby spinach, kale and romaine, green leaf or red leaf.

So, I challenge you to build a better salad with kale!!!

p.s. We really enjoy this salad with Brianna's Caesar Dressing.  It is great! 

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