Three Kale Salad with Balsamic Strawberries
I’m excited to partner with Local Roots to bring you original recipes featuring their farm-to-home produce. This new Atlanta-based app allows you to order produce and goods directly from local farmers and have it delivered to your home. The produce in this recipe comes from Red Earth Organic Farms in Zebulon, Georgia.
It’s pretty common that I crave a good kale salad–the hearty crunchiness and dark green, nutrient-filled goodness just call my name. One of my favorite ways to keep things from getting boring is to mix and match different varieties of kale. In this case, I put together Lacinato (dinosaur), curly, and Red Russian. Each variety contributes a slightly different texture and flavor, making the mix more interesting as a whole. A sprinkle of fresh herbs adds another dimension to the salad, too.
Strawberry season is finally (!!!) upon us. I was so excited to see strawberries available in the Local Roots app last week, and fortunately I got my order in before they all sold out! The excessive rain in Atlanta this spring put farmers behind schedule, making strawberries an even more precious commodity. I decided to macerate (juice) the strawberries in some balsamic vinegar and honey, which infuses some of the strawberry flavor into the dressing and amps up the strawberries themselves. This salad seems simple at a glance, but I hope it’ll pleasantly surprise you with it’s subtleties. This makes 2-3 servings.
Also! A side note about the chalkboard in the photo above, especially in light of Earth Day last week. I’ve started keeping a produce chalkboard in my kitchen with a running list of what fruits, vegetables, and herbs I have on hand, crossing them off as we eat them. It was mainly an idea to help reduce food waste–it’s so easy to forget about something shoved in the back of the produce drawer until it’s already gone bad. But this board has also helped us with the “what’s for dinner?” question; you can give some responsibility to your spouse or children to choose the dinner vegetables from the board. It’s greatly helped with making my weekly shopping lists, too, as I can quickly assess what I have and what I need without standing and staring into the fridge for an eternity. I usually do inventory and update the board once a week on Saturdays after I get back from the farmers market, which is not particularly burdensome. It doesn’t hurt that it can turn into a piece of wall art for your kitchen and/or a discussion piece when friends see all the fun vegetables you’re buying! Thanks for listening/reading… now onward to that recipe you came looking for 🙂
1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
5-6 oz kale, mixed varieties (about 1 bunch)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt + pepper
1 Tbsp fresh chervil or tarragon or basil, chopped
1. Prep strawberries. Rinse strawberries. Remove and discard hulls (green parts). Halve strawberries and place in a small bowl. To bowl, add 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp honey, toss to coat. Set aside for 15-20 minutes to allow strawberries to juice. Stir once or twice during that time.
2. Meanwhile, prep kale. Remove kale from stems by either tearing by hand or folding leaves in half and slicing along the stem with a knife. Discard stems or save for another use. Tear or chop leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
3. Make dressing. Remove strawberries from balsamic mixture and set aside (you should have about 2 Tbsp of liquid). To balsamic mixture, add 1 Tbsp olive oil and a pinch of salt + pepper, whisk to combine.
4. Assemble salad. Pour dressing over kale and toss to coat (you can also massage it with your hands some to tenderize the kale). Plate kale and top with strawberries and chopped herbs.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.
Kale holds up really well, so this is a great meal to make a day ahead to take for lunch or a picnic. The strawberries might not be quite as beautiful, but it’ll still taste good!
To make the salad vegan, swap out the honey for some pure maple syrup or brown sugar.
If you want to make this salad more involved, I’d suggest adding cheese like chevre, feta, pecorino romano, or parmesan and/or nuts such as walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans. Protein-wise, this pairs well with chicken, salmon, and shrimp.
Save those strawberry tops/hulls and add them to your water bottle or cup–they’ll add some natural strawberry flavoring to your water!