The key to using raw kale in salads is to thoroughly massaging the leaves. I typically massage the leaves using a mix of fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt to help tenderize the leaves. A nice little rubdown transforms this rough, somewhat bitter green into a sweet, silky salad base.
Massaging this green is super simple. Start by de-steming the leaves and tearing them into bite-sized pieces. Take bunches of kale pieces in both hands, rub them together and repeat for ~5 minutes. You’ll notice a visible change; the leaves will darken, shrink in size and become softer in texture.
Kale’s nutrition profile honestly astounds me. It undoubtedly packs the most nutritional bang for your buck out of all cruciferous vegetables. It is loaded with Vitamins K, A and C and beaming with antioxidants and fiber.
With all of the fantastic health benefits, perhaps you could serve this salad with something a little more savory…. such as burgers or steak. It can serve as the ‘calm before the storm’ warmup salad. Or it could serve as the Monday detox salad after a weekend of questionable edible decisions. We all have them. –>Guilty.
It’s light, yet full of substance. It’s simple, yet full of flavor. I may be biased, considering if you toss anything in garlic and parmesan cheese, I will likely ask for seconds. However, I’m usually not even a huge fan of kale. At all. So I’m thinking if I like this salad, you probably will too 😉
Eggplant and White Bean Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Makes 7 cups (~3 large salads or 4 small). Serving size: 2 cups
- 1 large bunch of kale, torn from stems and torn into pieces
- 1 small eggplant, sliced into 1/2 inch thick slices
- 1 15 ounce can of Great Northern Beans (or Cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- ~1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, 1 tbsp EVOO and a dash of salt. Add kale and toss in liquid mixture. Massage lemon and EVOO into kale by taking bunches of kale in both hands, rub them together and repeat for ~5 minutes.
- Add tahini and garlic and massage into leaves until well-incorporated. Set aside.
- Hit a grill pan over medium heat and coat with remaining tbsp of EVOO. Once heated, add slices of eggplant and grill on each side for 3-5 minutes, until softened. Remove from pan and let cool.
- Slice eggplant pieces into fours (bite-sized pieces). Add eggplant, beans and freshly grated cheese to salad and toss. Serve immediately. Lasts 2-3 days refrigerated.
- Note- you may want to add more dressing if eating for leftovers. The kale tends to absorb dressing the longer it sits.
Nutrition facts per serving (~2 cups)
Calories: 265; Total Fat: 14 gm; Saturated Fat: 2.9 gm; Cholesterol: 6 mg; Sodium: 300 mg; Carbohydrates: 34 gm; Fiber: 10 gm; Sugar: 4 gm; Protein: 14 gm