A Series of Sides: Overnight Kale Salad
I spent this past weekend nesting. Something magical happens in autumn: leaves turn and the crisp, cold days become shorter. There’s a feeling. I often wonder if I lived in a tropical type climate with no seasons, would I yearn for things like warm sweaters, roasting meats and veggies, and getting the house comfy and cozy in preparation for being inside more?
Something happens to me at Thanksgiving. I love veggies and green things, but they become an afterthought when I fall into the “beige stupor” while eating turkey, potatoes and stuffing. I do love the traditional Green Bean Casserole, but in my humble Thanksgiving dinner opinion, that does not fall into a “green” category. Since we are not hosting this year’s dinner, I thought I would turn my attention to a “green” item and share my experiments. Quite a departure for me: if I’m not hosting, I’m usually bringing dessert.
I don’t care if the food experts are calling kale a top food trend that’s on the way out. That’s the beauty of not being trendy: you love what you love and who cares if it’s trendy or not! My Thanksgiving is also not usually too trendy. I might try something different here and there like this Kale Salad, but I also want the turkey, mashed potatoes and the same old stuffing I’ve had since I was a kid. I crave it!
This salad was a huge hit last year with a group of us and we are making it and loving it still. The flavors are terrific, it’s easy and you can play around with the nuts, berries and cheese and add your own favorites. Thank you Meg for tweaking the recipe! When pomegranates are not in season, substitute dried cranberries! And despite the fact that it’s very good for you, no one will say, “oh that’s the healthy side dish”. Have copies of the recipe ready: everyone who eats it will ask for it.
*How to Seed a Pomegranate*
Overnight Kale Salad
- 4 1/2 Tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons finely minced shallot
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons honey
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 large bunch curly kale, center ribs and stems removed, leaves sliced into ribbons
- 2/3 Cup pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries
- 1/4 Cup grated parmesan or other hard cheese (hmmm…maybe even feta or goat cheese if you like)
- 3 Tablespoons toasted nuts like pine nuts, almonds or pecans – what’s your favorite?!
Whisk vinegar, shallot, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Toss kale in dressing to coat evenly. It will seem like there’s not enough dressing, but there is! Refrigerate overnight and if possible, in a large container with a snap on lid. The better to shake and distribute the dressing in! Serve kale in a large bowl topped with the pomegranate seeds, cheese and nuts.
*Update 11/13/2013: Meg tweaked it again! Try an asian variation by substituting champagne vinegar, extra virgin olive oil and pomegranate seeds or cranberries with rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and mandarin or fresh orange segments. Add peanuts and chopped water chestnuts for some crunch – Yum! Thanks again Meg!