After a long hard day of work, Hubs often comes home, tired, sweaty and hoping for a hot meal. It’s often those days I hand him a plate of this kale salad. Sure, I can see the momentary flicker of disappointment in his eyes. Salad can be a very boring meal. I usually follow-up with bourbon on the rocks, or a nice bottle of red, which seems to ease this momentary blow.
But, Hubs is a smart man and he doesn’t dare say a negative word. After all he married a vegetarian whose been in recovery now for three years. Every once in a while I like to reminisce about the old days when I didn’t eat or cook meat. At least, that’s my go-to excuse when I haven’t been shopping in a week.
Since kale salad is all the rage these days and I get at least two large bundles in my CSA basket each week, we never seem to run out of kale. A lot of recipes for kale salad have you dressing the salad and serving it immediately. I suspect this is why some people aren’t very fond of this trendy dark leafy green. While it’s true that it’s a nutritional powerhouse of vitamins and minerals, it also tastes very healthy. One might even say “tough” or “chewy”. I don’t believe kale should be treated like lettuce which has an entirely different texture.
My solution to tough kale salad is simple marinate it in a dressing overnight. A salad that tastes better the longer it sits? It seems odd, but it’s true! Won’t it get soggy? Actually, no it will “tenderize” the kale much like a marinade would to chicken or beef. If you don’t have overnight, I suggest a minimum of two hours. I’ve added quinoa which is a complete protein along with feta, raisins and pecans for Hubs sake.
Because this salad can easily be done ahead of time, it’s become my new go-to recipe for dinner parties and even camping. This salad can be stored up to 48 hours in advance. That being said, don’t add the quinoa, pecans or feta until you are ready to serve, because those items do get soggy.
Overnight Kale Salad with Quinoa
Prep time 10 min. Serves 4
4 C. chopped kale, stems removed
½ C. cooked quinoa (can substitute rice, farro or barley)
½ C. raisins
½ C. chopped pecans
½ c. feta cheese
For the dressing
1/4 C. olive oil
¼ C. apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 Tbl. Honey
After washing, stemming and chopping kale, let it dry. In the meantime, combine olive oil, vinegar, honey and juice of one lemon as well as its zest and combine with whisk or fork. Toss in a bowl with chopped kale and leave for a minimum of 2 hours up to one night. I like to do this the night before. When ready to serve, combine with cooked quinoa or other starch substitute, chopped pecans, raisins and feta. Salt and pepper to taste.