Kale You Dig It?

Let’s face it – Kale sucks ass.  Sure, it’s classified as a “superfood” (whatever that means), it’s low in calories, high in fiber and has zero fat. One cup of kale has only 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat. It’s high in fiber. It’s filled with so many nutrients, vitamins, folate and magnesium that one serving turns you into Iron Man.  That IS how it works, right?  Superfood makes you a superhero?

So, knowing that kale is so good for us, why are we not all running around as members of The Avengers?  Something is amiss.  The precise reason is that kale, on its own, tastes like a house plant.  It totally sucks.  Why must everything that’s good for you taste so bad?!?!  I know.  It totally sucks.  Life is just one big conundrum.  Well guess what, my little damsel in distress?  Here I come to save the day…

KALE YOU EAT?

If you’ve ever been to a Whole Foods, you’ve more than likely perused their prepared foods section.  Amongst all the soups, random regional dishes and a whole mess of kinda-out-there salads; a certain kale creation exists solely to not just make it palatable, you will actually enjoy the vile weed.  It is known as…the “Garlicky Kale Salad”.  As amazing as this concept is, there exists one problem.  Most of us (present company included) would rather not spend $10 on a few forkfuls of that loathsome green leaf (I’m on your side, peeps).  So, where do we go from here?  You need to follow this life-hack recipe that’s pretty damn close to what you’d get at Whole Foods and trust me, it’s as inexpensive as it is healthy and delicious.

GARLICKY KALE SALAD STUFF

  • 1 bag (12oz) Chopped Raw Kale
  • 4 tbsp. Tahini (it’s like peanut butter, but made with sesame seeds)
  • 4 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. Lemon Juice
  • 4 tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 2 – 4 Minced Garlic Cloves (depends on how much you love gaaahlick)
  • Sesame Seeds for garnish (totally optional)

Empty that big ol’ bag of kale into one giant mixing bowl (or 2 very large bowls if, ya know…you don’t have a giant one).  Put the rest of the ingredients (minus the sesame seeds) into a food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture over the kale and mix/massage (yes, massage) with your hands until all the kale is coated.  Believe it or not, the massaging is an important step as it really incorporates the dressing into the kale and slightly breaks it down, making it more tender and appetizing.

Once your kale is nice and relaxed, cover and pop it in the fridge for about an hour.  This gives the salad time to set up a bit and the kale to wilt slightly, making it even more tasty.  Now that we’ve got some time to kill…BEER PAIRING!!!

russian_river_brewing_damnation_full

Damnation (Belgian Strong Pale Ale)
Russian River Brewing (Santa Rosa, CA)

With the light, crisp and tangy flavors of the kale salad, you want to pair it with a beverage that has similar, complementary characteristics without overpowering the flavors of the salad itself.  This is actually a very good rule of thumb when pairing for any meal, but is slightly more important when you have something as simple and straightforward as a salad.

If you’re lucky enough to live within the limited distribution range of Russian River Brewing, this is the Belgian Strong Pale Ale to seek out (if you can’t get this one, “Gnomegang” from Ommegang is a fantastic representation that can be found just about anywhere).  The yeasty, slightly sweet characteristics of a traditional Belgian brew are complemented by a hint of clove spiciness and bit of a peppery bite from the added hops (which pull it into Pale Ale territory).  The crisp, dry finish, along with the preceding sweet/spicy flavors, make for a perfect complement to the slightly bitter kale and the mild, nutty flavors of the dressing.

EAT YO GREENS

Once the flavors of the salad have all incorporated with each other, you can serve yourself up a big bowl as a light meal, use it as a side dish (mix with cooked brown rice for a heartier option), or even top with some simple sautéed shrimp if you need to add a little protein.

Simple as that.  Now, quit your yer bitchin’ about kale and be a healthier (super) human with this tasty-ass salad.

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