Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kale Salad

I am visiting my friend Holly in Santa Cruz and one of the things that we buy a lot at the local health food store, New Leaf, is their delicious Kale Salad.  It has a lovely light lemony flavor, the kale is tender and the there are lots of seeds to give it crunch and some red onion for a little zing.  I couldn't figure out what the special flavor was and I found out that the secret ingredient is Bragg's Liquid Aminos.  For those of you who don't know what this is, it's a seasoning sauce that is very much like Tamari or Soy Sauce and those can be substituted if you don't have any.  When the Bragg's is combined with lemon juice and a bit of sugar, it makes a wonderful dressing.  Kale of course is very healthy for you, but I am one of those people who don't really like it steamed all that much.  I do like it in Caldo Verde (a previous post) but otherwise, I like it barely stir fried with garlic. But I do love the New Leaf salad and really wanted to make it.  What I found out is that kale needs to be massaged so the other secret of making this salad is to rub this dressing into the kale so that it softens and wilts, otherwise I think it is too hard to chew. Once I learned this secret about making Kale salads, it was an easy recipe to replicate.  I only had sunflower seeds, but you can also add sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.  It was a big hit at dinner and it is now going to be one of my staple salads!

Kale Salad

1 large bunch kale, washed, stems removed and cut into bite size pieces
1/2 small red onion, sliced into quarters and then into thin slivers
1/2 cup seeds - Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds - any combination
Juice of 2 lemons
Equal amount of Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or Tamari or Soy Sauce)
1 - 2 teaspoons of sugar - depending on the sourness of the lemons

Mix lemon juice, Olive Oil, Bragg's Liquid Aminos and sugar and taste.  Adjust sugar to your desired level.  Put the kale and red onions in a salad bowl.  Pour in the dressing and massage the kale with your hands until it is softened.  Then add in the seeds and let the salad sit for at least 10 minutes to let the Kale absorb the dressing.

Five Element Analysis

Kale as a dark leafy green vegetable obviously belongs to the Wood Element, but has some of the Water Element too. The lemons and olive oil add more Wood, so this salad is primarily a Wood food.  However, the seeds and the Bragg's Liquid Aminos contribute more of the Water Element and the red onions add the Metal Element.  The slight bit of sugar brings in just a hint of the Earth Element and the Fire Element is missing, so be sure to serve it with a Earthy or Fiery main dish and side. I served it with Pea Soup (which is very Earthy) and another salad composed of  Tomatoes and Cucumbers (Fire and Earth foods) to create a light and balanced meal.  

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