Well, it’s April and the weather finally seems to be getting warmer. I thought it would be the perfect time for a springtime salad recipe. And I think the salad that’s been really “in” recently is the kale salad, which is strange because 1) I would have never thought to eat kale raw being as tough as it is and 2) kale is sort of a very strong flavor to be in something as light as a salad. Still, some of my friends who work as chefs say it is one of the most popular items on their restaurant menu, so I decided to give it a try.

My recipe is inspired from the kale salad I had at the The Painted Burro, which is a Mexican restaurant known more for their tequilas and nachos rather than kale salad. But they put a very nice twist on the salad, which made it all the more easy for me to order it. Corn nuts. They put corn nuts in their kale salad…which is awesome. The salad came with shredded parmesan in a cheese based dressing, which was a great accompaniment to the kale.

I’ll say this - kale is not overbearing at all if you shred the greens thinly. The salad is nice because unlike other garden variety or even Caesar salads, this one is very filling without having to add things like meat to it. I liked the kale salad I had, but I still think having a whole plate of it was too much. Even when sliced thinly, after a while, the taste of raw kale builds on you. I think kale salad would be wonderful as a small side to an entree, but a whole serving of it was a bit much for me.

Still, I think it’s a wonderful hearty salad to have in the repertoire, and I put my own spin on it by lightening up the dressing and adding sweetened, rehydrated cranberries in addition to the crunchy corn nuts for flavor and texture. The sweetness and tartness from the softened cranberries helped to combat that slight bitterness and tough texture from the kale.

Wash and Shred Kale Thinly
Coarsely Chop Dried Cranberries
Soak Cranberries in Orange Juice to Rehydrate
Corn Nuts
Crush Corn Nuts with a Rolling Pin or Pan
Lemon-Feta Dressing
Toss Everything Together and Voila!

Ingredients

(6-8 people)

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 cups corn nuts

For the Feta-Lemon dressing - juice from 1/2 lemon - 1/4 cup olive oil - 4 tablespoons Greek feta salad dressing - salt (to taste) - pepper (to taste)

Directions

For Salad:

  1. Carefully wash and dry kale leaves.
  2. Cut center rib off each leave. Roll several kale leaves together and cut them into thin strips. Set aside in bowl.
  3. Coarsely chop dried cranberries and soak in orange juice for 20 minutes. Strain.
  4. Using a rolling pin or pan, crush corn nuts into very coarse pieces.

For dressing:

  1. In a small pickling jar, put in lemon juice, olive oil, greek dressing, salt, and pepper.
  2. Tightly twist on cover and shake dressing for 30 seconds to 1 minute until emulsified.
  3. Put aside and pour over salad just prior to serving.

Assembly:

  1. Toss kale with cranberries and dressing.
  2. Top each salad with 2-3 tablespoons of crushed corn nuts.