There is something about a hearty salad that makes my taste buds swoon! The firework flavors of this fall-inspired massaged kale salad–silky, sweet kale with roasted sweet potatoes, salty pepitas, creamy goat cheese and tart pomegranate seeds–does just that.
Kale is a hearty, nutrient-dense veggie that can withstand cold weather, and it has become one of my go-to greens for fall salads. As with a lot of winter greens, it has a bitter bite, but massaging it imparts a nice slightly sweet flavor.
Now, maybe you are wondering, “Why and how do I go about treating my kale to a massage?” It’s so easy and really makes a world of difference in the flavor and texture of your salad. When you take a few extra minutes to show your kale a little love, it loosens right up and shows you its sweeter side.
Let me show you how!
Remove the tough part of the stem from each kale leaf. The stem at the top is tender, so I leave about 1/4-inch of the rib at the top of the leaf and discard the rest.
Stack leaves on top of each other, then roll them tightly into a bundle.
Slice the roll of kale leaves into ribbons–about 1/2-inch thick is a good size.
Place the shredded kale in a large bowl or pan and add 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Your pile of kale will start off huge, but will shrink by at least half after massaging.
Use your hands to gently massage the lemon juice and salt into the kale. Rub fistfuls of kale together, gently squeeze, then repeat. It can take anywhere between 3 to 5 minutes for the kale leaves to darken and shrink down in size, and for the texture to become silky smooth.
Once the kale has visibly changed and has no bitterness left when you taste it, drizzle in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.
Massage another 30 seconds or so, just to mix in the oil. Now the tough texture and bitter flavor that makes so many people hate raw kale is gone!
For the salad:
For the Pomegranate Vinaigrette:
I used a combination of orange and white sweet potatoes in this particular salad. You can use both or just one type if you prefer. White sweet potatoes are usually slightly milder in flavor than the orange.
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