Kale is one of the most delicious leafy green vegetables, and a veritable treasure-trove of nutrients and action packed health properties for women. In addition to folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and a host of other nutrients, the fiber in kale is one of the perfect foods for nourishing healthy gut flora. The fiber is also important for keeping your bowels regular, and a healthy side effect of a good daily BM is better hormone balance. So kale is a special Superstar food for us ladies!
I’ve been preparing kale in delicious ways for over 30 years. But I wasn’t always a kale wizard. In fact, being a girl from NYC cooking kale back in the mid-1980s, in truth, the first time I tried it I put ketchup on it. (Hey, don’t laugh at me, didn’t Reagan say ketchup was a vegetable?). From that day on I learned that kale wasn’t to be trifled with. Truffled, maybe, but definitely not with ketchup! And I’ve been whipping up mouth-watering kale ever since.
You can imagine how happy I am now that kale is everyone’s best friend! I can not only play with my own recipes, but there’s no shortage of other natural foodies messing around with kale in their kitchens and inspiring the heck out of me. And this time of year, with summer veggies in full swing, I’m finding joy in kale salads.
This kale salad recipe was inspired by summer and Sara Forte’s Shredded Kale Salad with Tomatoes, Olives, and Feta, the genius over at The Sprouted Kitchen. Her site itself is nourishing and beautiful. Please check her recipes out for deep food nourishment. My cool daughter – The Flexible Foodie – says it’s one of her fave food blogs. Weirdly, in addition to our love of food, Sara and I have something else in common – until recently a distaste for olives. For me it was visceral and has been a lifelong issue. In fact, back to being a NY’er, the only thing that could have stopped me from eating pizza as a kid would have been olives on top of it. And even as a dyed in the wool foodie adult for over 30 years, it’s one of the few foods that would make me cringe. In any form. Except olive oil which we use by the quart or more weekly.
Then I spent a month in Haiti. I don’t know what happened to my taste buds there. In truth, probably not much as the food was quite limited in breadth of availability and depth of preparation, though deliciously and lovingly prepared by the staff at our medical facility. When I arrived home, with a lot more gratitude for just about everything in my life, I’d also found a new appreciation for olives. In fact, my taste buds rejected anything with much sugar, and I craved olives. Good quality, green olives with the pit still in them. I still do 2 years later. So this salad is perfect (though I use pitted olives!).
Of course, I almost always break with tradition in everything I do – I’ve just learned that this is actually written in the stars per my astrological chart – and unless baking, never really follow a recipe. So below you’ll find my own version given what I had in my kitchen at the time. It can be made vegan just as deliciously – which I did just last night for some non-dairy girlfriends (sharing food with others makes it that much more yum!).
Kale Salad with Cherry Tomatoes & Olives
Inspired by Sara Forte’s The Sprouted Kitchen
- 1 Large bunch of fresh green kale
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup of shredded pecorino or romano cheese (optional)
- 1/2 cup of red cherry tomatoes, halves
- 1/3 cup pitted and chopped kalamata olives
- 1/4 of a red onion, finely minced (optional)
- 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
- There are 3 keys to a truly tender and delicious kale salad. So after washing your kale, do these things:
- Remove the ribs from the kale before preparing the salad
- Chop or tear the leaves into small pieces
- Massage the kale with 1/2 of the olive oil, and all of the salt and black pepper until the kale is soft and glistening – about 2-3 minutes of truly kneading it with your hands in the bowl.
Mix the mustard with the remaining olive oil to form a sauce, and add this and the remaining ingredients to your bowl of kale. I like to let it sit and “marinate” for about 15 minutes before serving for optimal flavor. Serve and enjoy!