Kale salad for your Thanksgiving table
It’s the season of gratitude. We give thanks for the blessings of food and shelter, blessings of friendship, family ties and love. As a nation, we have set aside this national holiday to express our thanks. On this special day, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, all gather to share gratitude.
We do this with traditional foods: Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, pie. Usually, there is at least one salad — a green salad, coleslaw, or fruit salad.
This year, consider adding kale to your Thanksgiving feast. Kale was cultivated in the eastern Mediterranean more than 4,000 years ago and brought to the Americas by European settlers in the 17th century, so it is not a New World food like those traditional at Thanksgiving. But it is a nutritious superfood.
This heavy-hitting crucifer is chock full of cancer-preventing phytochemicals. Kale’s high concentrations of lutein help prevent eye problems like macular degeneration and keep fatty deposits from clogging arteries. It is a rich source of fiber, minerals calcium, iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C. One serving of kale (three and a half ounces, or three-fourths cup) has a whopping 134 milligrams calcium — more than a serving (one-half cup) of cottage cheese (about 70 milligrams calcium).
Because kale is a tough green, it is often cooked rather than eaten raw. It requires a longer cooking time than tender greens like spinach.
Fresh, young kale in salads and cabbage slaw — the tough green can be made more tender by cutting it into thin strips and massaging it with salt and oil. Kale retains its crispness and doesn’t wilt within minutes of adding the dressing the way lettuce does. So it’s a great option to bring to your Thanksgiving feast!
Kale and Apple Salad
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon prepared quality mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch kale
1 small red onion
1 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 cup walnuts or pecans;
1 cup dried cranberries (craisisns).
Quinoa or faro
Fresh pomegranate arils
In bottom of salad bowl, mix together dressing ingredients. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare your kale: Remove kale leaves from stems by pulling up from the bottom with your hands. Rinse, and spin in a salad spinner to remove liquid.
On a cutting board, with a sharp knife, cut leaves into ribbons crosswise.
Place these ribbons into your dressing. With your hands, massage the dressing into the kale for 1 or 2 minutes.
Core apples and shred or chop fine. Mix into the kale in salad bowl.
Wash and shred the carrots. Peel the onion and mince fine. Peel the avocado and dice. Shred the cheese.
Stir these into the salad, along with the walnuts and dried cranberries.
Mix everything together and serve.
Kale and Orange Salad
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons orange juice, preferably fresh-squeezed
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (do scant if using table salt)
1 teaspoon spicy, quality mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1 bunch curly kale (about 6 cups when sliced)
1 cup sliced green onions
4 oz goat cheese
1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans (1 can)
2/3 cup sliced almonds
3 or 4 oranges — blood orange, naval orange, mandarins or clementines
In bowl, combine dressing ingredients.
Strip the kale from its stalks. Wash thoroughly and drain in salad spinner. Cut crosswise into thin strips. Stir into dressing and massage with your hands for 1 or 2 minutes.
Slice the green onions and add. Crumble in the goat cheese. Add the garbanzo beans and stir everything together.
Peel oranges, remove seeds, segment. Cut half crosswise and stir into the salad. Reserve some for garnish.
Toast almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat until fragrant, a couple minutes. Stir half into the salad, save the rest for garnish.
Garnish and serve.
Serves 6 – 10.
Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes and Kale
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes (about half a pound)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large onions
1 bunch kale (about half a pound)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup broth or water
1 tart apple (like a Granny Smith or other tart apple)
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
Peel the potatoes and cut into half-inch cubes. Cook in boiling salted water until tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, wash greens in a couple changes of water to remove all sand and grit. Remove stems and thick midribs from greens. Rinse and chop finely. Peel and dice the onions. Heat oil in a skillet, and cook onions and chopped stems over low heat, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Peel and crush the garlic, and add, along with half a cup or so of water or broth. Stir, cover, and cook another ten minutes, until greens are wilted and all the vegetables are cooked. Drain the sweet potato, and add to the skillet. Peel, core, and shred the apple, then add. Season with salt and pepper to taste, sprinkle with lemon juice, and garnish with chopped walnuts. Serve warm.
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Author of the award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers Market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear and has two passions: Writing and cooking. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter: @yvonawrites.