(Tahini & Avocado Kale Salad Wraps - recipe in post)
I love salad. I'm not sure I can say this enough, but for all my fondness of fancy plates and pastries, I always find myself going back to greens, greens, greens. I cannot turn down fresh veggies, simple as that.
I could go on for days declaring my adoration of salads, expounding upon the varieties, and elucidating the finer points of preparation. But I won't... today. I've got plenty of time to give my dissertation on dressings, because from June 1st - June 30th I'll be eating salads every single day.
One of my all-time favorite foodies, Angela (of Oh She Glows fame) has proposed to her readers a month long salad-a-day challenge... and I'm in! The weather is hot, the veggies are fresh, and I've got no excuses!
Kale is such a wonderful green - one of my favorites, really. Dark, leafy, and full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Most would agree it's perfect for wilting, cooked down like spinach or collards, but few would consider eating it raw. Sadly, they don't know what they're missing out on! The key is in the dressing.
The fat in salad dressings can very quickly break down the naturally waxy exterior of leafy greens, causing them to turn dark and soggy. When it comes to dressing a typical salad, it is imperative that it be served right away, lest the greens begin to wilt.
Kale, on the other hand, is very strong and sturdy - not so weak and prissy-pants as those other greens - so by dressing the salad ahead of time the hardy leafs soften slightly, turning from fibrous to fabulous without the need for heat.
Because this salad holds up so well (lasting up to a week or more in a refrigerated airtight container) it's perfect for make-ahead lunches, or to bring to potlucks or other gatherings. Eat it straight out of the bowl as a salad, or serve in a wrap, or between bread. Add cooked quinoa, beans, or other protein to make it a quick and easy meal.
So what about you - will you take on the salad-a-day challenge? Let me know in the comments!
Tahini & Avocado Kale Salad
(Vegan, gluten-free, and easily made raw)
1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste) raw or toasted
1/2 ripe avocado
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2-3 cloves fresh garlic
1 TBSP olive oil
4-5 TBSP water, or to desired consistency
1/4-1/2 tsp. sea salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. fresh parsley (or 1/2 tsp. dried)
1/8th tsp. powdered ginger
2 large bunches green or purple kale (about 24 oz.)
1 red or yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1-2 carrots, shredded or ribboned
1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or sliced almonds, raw or toasted (optional)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, raw or roasted (optional)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or other fruit (optional)
For serving (optional)
Fresh sliced avocado
Other fresh veggies
For the dressing.
In the bowl of a blender or food processor, add all ingredients except herbs/seasonings. Blend until smooth, adding water one TBSP at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the herbs and pulse to combine. Set aside.
For the salad.
Wash and dry the kale, and cut or tear the large leafy parts away from the thick stems. Discard the stems.
Tear the kale into medium-small pieces, and place in a very large bowl. The kale will wilt down with the dressing, so don't worry if it fills the bowl at this point.
Pour the dressing over the kale and mix very thoroughly. Add in the bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots, and any other add-ins, and toss to combine.
Let sit in a lidded container or baggie in the fridge for at least 1-2 hours before serving. Can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, but note that the longer it sits the more moisture the dressing will lose - to perk up the salad, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice over the top and mix to combine.
In other news...
This past week I was nominated for not one, but two awards - and I find myself reiterating once again the great appreciation I have for this community I've found myself a part of. I have to send a big thank-you and shout-out to my friends Nashanne, from Oishii Treats, and Abby of Seaweed and Sassafras, for passing along these incredible awards. Thank you both!
(One Lovely Blog Award, nominated by Oishii Treats)
(Excellence in Storytelling Award, nominated by Seaweed and Sassafras)
The rules for both are fairly simple - share a few things about yourself your readers don't already know, and pass the award on to some of your favorite bloggers. For the Excellence in Storytelling award, nominees must visit the Food Stories Award Site and enter their nomination to be a part of the official judging/giveaway.
Some facts about me:
- At fourteen years old, I vowed to run away to L.A. and become a movie star (spoiler alert: I am not a movie star).
- Besides recipes and the blog, I enjoy writing fiction/short stories/poetry. When I was five or six years old I created my first 'book', with pages stapled into a cut-up cereal box for binding. It was an epic six-page tale, fully illustrated, of 'Stripes' and 'Dots', the shy and lonely dinosaurs. Go figure.
- I've never eaten banana cream pie... this has recently been brought to my attention.
- I once lit my microwave on fire (accidentally, of course). Incredibly, it continues to work fine.
- When I was little, there was a big tree in my front yard that I would climb. I frequently sat in the lower branches, singing at the top of my lungs. Every time a person/vehicle/biker went by, I would stop abruptly, certain that I was invisible and that no one would know I was there.
And the nominees are...
For the One Lovely Blog Award:
Courtney @ The Fig Tree
Heather @ Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes
Shannon @ A Periodic Table
Kat @ Gooseberry Mooseberry
For the Food Stories Award (don't forget to visit http://foodstoriesblog.com/food-stories-award/ to become an official nominee):
Cara @ Fork and Beans
Liz @ Noms for the Poor
Congrats to each of you - keep doing what you do!