Lately I have seen quite a few posts online calling out other greens as “The New Kale” or “The Kale of 2016”. So wait – does this mean kale is out of style? Was kale ever in style? Can veggies be in vogue?
I think I am the wrong person to be talking about any of this, I would still be wearing my flannels, combat boots, chokers and overalls, if I didn’t have the little tiny bit of sense that I do have. Though, seemingly according to my trips to the mall during the holidays all of this is acceptable again. I have NO clue. All I do know is that kale is ALWAYS in my fridge, it’s a favorite around here and for me, it’s always in style.
Kale is a freakin’ nutritional powerhouse, so whether it’s cool or not, I am all about it. While I prefer my kale to be cooked, I do find it makes an amazing salad, when the tough leaves get a massage and it’s given a little time to marinate in the vinaigrette, to break down it’s fibrous nature. The flavor of the sometimes bitter kale mellows out, the texture becomes more palatable and it’s infused with the soft flavors of whatever dressing you choose.
This salad features the beautiful kale cut into ribbons, cooked (sprouted) quinoa, roughly chopped marcona almonds, bright and flavorful pomegranate arils and a beautiful and tart, winter-inspired orange vinaigrette. It makes a beautiful meal on it’s own, a great side or for a bit more complete meal, you can add your favorite protein. It’s delicious with a grilled chicken breast or a filet of wild caught salmon.
- 1 bunch kale, stalks removed and discarded, cut into ribbons or roughly chopped
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled (I used sprouted quinoa) - you can also use cauliflower rice or hemp seeds, etc
- ⅓ cup almonds, roughly chopped (regular almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds or other nuts would work here)
- ½ cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
- 2 teaspoons fresh orange zest, for garnish
- 1 small shallot, minced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tablespoon champagne or rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon honey (or maple syrup)
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- In a small bowl, whisk together all of the vinaigrette ingredients, until well blended.
- Place the kale ribbons in a large bowl. Drizzle half of the vinaigrette overtop. With clean hands massage kale until it’s deep dark green, soft, and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Let sit for about 10 to 15 minutes, while you prep the other ingredients.
- Add the cooked quinoa, pomegranate arils and chopped Marcona almonds to the kale, pour the remaining vinaigrette over top. Toss well. You can serve the salad right away or let it sit in the fridge an hour or two to really let the flavors permeate the kale and the quinoa.
- Serve topped with orange zest and additional pomegranate arils and chopped almonds, if you'd like.