Friday, July 27, 2012

Kale Salad with Dried Cherries and Candied Walnuts

As much as I love kale (and I do love kale--we served it as the vegetable at our wedding, in fact), I had never really considered eating it raw until a recent trip to Victoria, BC. Our friend Becca was telling us how raw kale salad was the rage in Portland and she ordered one in Victoria for dinner. It had dried cranberries and I think some kind of nut in it, but I can't remember what. One taste and I was hooked. It might have had something to do with the fact that I was pregnant with our second daughter, but I could not get enough of this salad. I made up my own version immediately upon our return from BC and made it regularly until my daughter was born. I don't think that my love for the salad has diminished so much as my ability to prepare the kale and the walnuts has faltered with the sleep deprivation and newborn care.

I adapted the walnut recipe from the Natural Health Cookbook, a favorite of mine as regular EATS! readers will know. It's not difficult at all, but what struck me is the wisdom of toasting the nuts undressed and then adding the hot nuts to the syrup separately. This ensures that the whole concoction doesn't burn and make a huge mess.

Candied Walnuts (makes enough for many servings)

1 1/2 c. raw walnuts (halves or pieces)
1 1/2 TBSP rice syrup, agave nectar or honey
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F 
  2. Whisk sweetener and salt in a bowl large enough to accomodate the walnuts later 
  3. Cover a baking tray with a layer of parchment or waxed paper and set aside 
  4. Spread walnuts in a single layer on a second baking tray 
  5. Toast walnuts until golden and fragrant, 8-10 minutes 
  6. Remove walnuts from the oven and add immediately to syrup bowl; stir to coat walnuts thoroughly 
  7. Spread mixture on the covered baking tray and set aside to cool; store in an airtight container
Kale Salad

1 bunch kale, washed, dried and shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1-2 TBSP balsamic vinegar (optional)
1/4 c. candied walnuts
1/4 c. dried tart cherries, cut into smaller pieces if you like more bits per bite

  1. In a large salad bowl, whisk salt and vinegar (if using) to dissolve salt then whisk in olive oil
  2. Add kale, walnuts and dried cherries and toss with dressing

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