I am on a mission to eat more vegetables everyday. Last year I met a registered dietician who told me that he eats ten servings of fresh fruits and vegetables each day. Ten servings! I’m not saying that I think we all need to consume that much produce every single day, but it did get me thinking about what I’m really eating on a daily basis. While I try to get ample veggies into my diet (I read here that a good rule of thumb is to try to fill half your plate with fruit or vegetables at each meal), I’m not sure if this always happens. It’s pretty easy to just reach for a piece of fruit, but my goal is to consume more dark, leafy greens like collards, mustard greens, bok choy, chard, watercress, arugula, and kale. I’ve found that the more greens I eat each day, the better I feel. I have more energy, I crave less sugar, and my mood seems more mellow overall. I got together with some friends over the weekend, and we ended up having a conversation about how kale is going to save the world (there’s actually a t-shirt that makes this claim!). Needless to say, my friends and I are kale fanatics, and rightfully so. For starters, it’s delicious sauteed with garlic, cooked into soups, baked into lasagna, blended into smoothies, marinated in salads, roasted with olive oil, salt and pepper, and oven-crisped to make kid-friendly kale chips. And of course we’ve all heard about the magnificent health benefits of kale (you can read about these benefits here and here). I have many kale recipes to share with you, but I thought that this simple, refreshing, easy-to-prepare salad is a great start. Make a batch, keep it in your fridge, and snack on it throughout the day as a yummy way to get more fresh fruits and veggies into your life.
A beautiful bunch of locally grown organic curly kale that I picked up at my neighborhood grocery.
1 large bunch of kale (any variety will work, although I prefer green curly kale or Lacinato)
2 1/2 cups diced Fuji apple (about 2 small apples, or 1 1/2 large)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
the zest of one lemon
1/2 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste (I used 15 turns of my pepper mill. Omit for AIP)
Note: Whenever possible, I like to buy organically grown kale and apples to avoid the pesticides used on conventional varieties.
Wash your kale well to remove residual dirt, sand, and all of the little critters that love kale as much as we do. I do this by rinsing each stalk individually front and back, and then I shake off the excess water. You can also place your kale in a large bowl, fill it with cold water, then agitate the kale with your hands to loosen any debris. Repeat this 3 times. Drain the excess water from your washed kale by giving it a few good shakes in a colander, or you can use a large salad spinner.
Remove the tough stems from your kale, roughly chop the leaves, and place them in a large mixing bowl.
You can easily “zip” the leaves from the stem by holding the stalk upside down, then grasp the end of the stem with one hand and use your other hand to pull the leaves down, separating them from the stem.
This is how much kale I got after removing the stems, and chopping the leaves with a large knife- around 8 cups.
Prepare your dressing by whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and pepper, and then pour this mixture over your kale.
Use your hands to give it all a good mix, then massage the kale leaves to help break down the tough fibers. The volume of the kale will shrink considerably after doing this.
Add in the diced apple, mix again, and do a taste check for seasonings.
Make any necessary adjustments, then store your salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days (although I doubt it’ll last that long!).
As you can probably tell, this is one of my favorite ways to eat kale. What is yours?