Here are my tips to making a great kale salad:
- Remove the ribs: Regardless of which variety of kale you choose (they all make great salads), you’ll first want to remove the tough ribs from the leaves. Use a chef’s knife to slice out the stems or just pull the leaves from the ribs with your fingers. The ribs are too chewy and distracting to include in the salad, but you can chop them and sauté them later. Or feed them to your dog, if your dog will eat anything!
- Chop the kale: Then, you’ll want to chop the kale into pretty small, bite-sized pieces. Eating kale salads made with pieces of giant kale is mighty awkward.
- Sprinkle with salt: Next, transfer the kale to a serving bowl and sprinkle it lightly with sea salt (salt helps cut the bitter flavor of kale).
- Massage the kale: Yes, this step sounds ridiculous, but it makes all the difference. Reach into the bowl with (clean) hands and start grabbing handfuls of kale. Scrunch, release, scrunch, release. Repeat until the kale is fragrant and dark green. This makes the kale less poky and more palatable. Kale is tough, so don’t worry about damaging the leaves! This step should take 30 seconds or less.
- Dress the kale: Drizzle in a bold dressing and massage that into the leaves so the kale is lightly and evenly coated with dressing (this is important!). Kale does particularly well with zippy dressings. If you’ve always followed the standard vinaigrette formula (one part vinegar to three parts oil), you’ll probably want to up the ratio of vinegar for kale salads. I tend to add a little more dressing to kale salads than other green salads.
- Toss well: Now is the time to toss in additions like toasted nuts, grated/crumbled cheese and/or chopped raw fruits and veggies. If you have time, let the salad marinate for ten minutes before serving. Ta da! Best kale salad ever.