Spring has sprung and I’m celebrating with this season’s rendition of my favorite kale salad.
I love kale salads because they are soooo versatile. Since the kale is so hearty, it can really stand up to just about anything. That means we can load this puppy up with all of the things, all of the healthy things! I’m totally digging it and soon you will be too.
But first, how was everyone’s weekend? Highlights? Lowlights? It was so nice getting to spend some quality time with my mom, brother and his fam, but I sure missed my honey while he was living it up at his Bachelor Party! Looking forward to the few days we have together before I turn around and head up north to Santa Cruz for my Bridal Shower next weekend, the wedding marathon has officially begun!
I’m most definitely going to be counting on more and more fresh, healthy dishes like this Spring Kale Salad to get me through these crazy times. I know I’ll have more energy (as I’m sitting here kicking myself for being so tired since I spent the entire morning cooking and shooting recipes for the blog and realized I forgot to eat a proper breakfast) and it will also help me keep my bod (and my skin!) on track for looking my best on the big day. It’s amazing what a difference you feel when you start paying attention to your body!
So, this kale salad. It’s pretty amazing. I basically went to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning and bought anything and everything that screamed “spring” at me and threw it all together in one big bowl. I then topped it with a delicious honey-tahini dressing featuring the Acacia Honey from one of my favorite new brands, Heavenly Organics. Not only do their honeys taste amazing, but they’re ethically harvested so that no bees are harmed in the process of making their delicious products. Pretty cool , huh? More to come on them in next week’s posts.
But back to our Spring Kale Salad with Honey-Tahini Dressing. As all kale salads are (or salads in general, for that matter), this recipe is completely customizable. I realize I live in Santa Barbara where we pretty much have viable produce all year round, but take advantage of what your local markets have, wherever you may be. That’s half the fun of it! My Farmer’s Market wins for this salad were some teensy, cute little radishes, some huge-ass English asparagus (no joke, we’re talking over a foot long), crisp sugar snap peas and some of the first fennel of the season (to name just a few.)
Now, there are always a few components you want to be sure you include in your salads: the fresh veggies (of course), but also something crunchy (which for me is usually some kind of toasted nut, in this case, hazelnuts), something sweet (I went for some of my favorite dates, the ones I used to make this and this) and as many fresh herbs as you can muster. Seriously, don’t skip the herbs. I know it sounds a bit tedious but they are such a game changer! You will not even believe what you had been missing in your pre-adding-fresh-herbs-to-your-salads days.
And of course, we have to talk about our Honey-Tahini Dressing. This one was a little off-the-cuff for me, since truthfully I’m usually a simple salad dressing kind of gal – olive oil and balsamic or lemon juice and I’m done. But I wanted to change things up a bit more from my Winter Kale Salad, so I whisked together some olive oil, lemon juice, tahini and honey, plus some garlic and a good pinch of salt, and man! It’s so delicious. In fact, the whole salad is sitting in the refrigerator right now “marinating” and I can’t wait to try it again at dinner time, once all of the flavors have melded together and soaked into our kale and hearty vegetables…..Yummmm!!!
The best part about this salad is that it’s REALLY easy, with hardly any cooking required. The only step that requires you to turn on any heat-emitting device is to quickly blanch the asparagus, and that’s for only about 5, max 10 minutes.
So what do you think? Are you ready to give it a whirl? Get thee to your city’s next Farmer’s Market and see what you can find. You’re definitely not going to regret this!
- 2 cups asparagus cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale ribbed and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 10 radishes thinly sliced
- 1 ½ cups sugar snap peas sliced diagonally
- 2 cups sliced fresh fennel approximately 1 large or 2-3 small bulbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh chives chopped
- 1 cup dates pitted and chopped (about 10 dates)
- 1 cup toasted hazelnuts chopped
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- First, blanch the asparagus. Bring a medium saucepan full of water to a boil. While water is coming to a boil, prepare your ice bath. Take a medium mixing bowl and fill it about halfway (maybe a little more) with ice water. Once water on stove is boiling, add asparagus pieces for about 2 ½ minutes. Immediately remove from heat, strain, and add asparagus to ice bath. Let sit for another 2-3 minutes and then drain again. Set aside.
- Next, make the salad. Combine all remaining ingredients (including asparagus) in a large bowl. Set aside.
- Finally, make the dressing. In a small mixing bowl, combine all dressing ingredients using a whisk. Pour over salad; toss to combine.
- For best results, let salad sit and marinate for an hour or two before serving.
Wine Pairing Notes: As most green dishes do, this salad would pair wonderfully with an herbal, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc.