Kale Salad

19 Dec

Well now.

This is awkward. Do I pretend that I didn’t just ignore this blog for an entire year? Or do I acknowledge my absence? I’m really not sure. Sooooo I guess I’m just gonna do what I do best…

…talk about food. Let’s be honest, it’s kind of ALL I do.

So there’s this strange curly green vegetable that I’m currently in love with. It’s called kale.

Isn’t it gorgeous? I know. We met at the Whole Foods Market in Princeton, where my friends convinced me to buy a small tupperware of their famous “Whole Earth Kale Salad” (aka pure deliciousness in a plastic snap-top container). It was absoluuuuuuuutely amazing. So delicious.

It had the slightly bitter taste of kale, accentuated by the crisp taste of red onions, the crunch and subtle flavor of sesame seeds, the chew of brown rice, the savory hit of roasted almonds, and these delicious little nuggets of roasted tofu, all swimming in a tangy lemon-dijon-garlic dressing. I was rendered speechless.

(Side note: another thing I have a strange and inexplicable love for is red onions. Sometimes, when people ask me my favorite food, I say red onion. That always throws them for a loop. But it’s true, my friends…red onions, chocolate, and root beer floats. I need nothing more in the world.)

I decided: I MUST eat this salad consistently for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, Whole Earth, although a wonderful place that fills my soul with light, can err on the side of pricey. And if I had to buy this salad from them every time I wanted it, I would probably end up a hobo living under a bush in their back parking lot with ten cats and two large ugly coats. Solution? MAKE THE SALAD MYSELF.

I’m so smart.

I did research.

I did some googling, and I examined the salad itself.

And I must say, I really hit the nail on the head with this one. It tastes and looks SO similar to the original. I would say it’s better, but that would be a lie. Because you can’t get better than the Whole Earth Kale Salad. There is no such thing. But this is every bit as good.

Making this salad made me confront tofu, with which I have a love-hate-weird relationship.

(Background jar of peanut butter and Christmas tree bokeh optional, but recommended.)

Tofu is so…..squishy. And wet. And….I just don’t even know.

WHY does it come swimming in liquid? WHY? ew.

And I absolutely RE-FUSE to use a tofu press. It’s creepy, like a tofu torture device. I have had nightmares.

I would rather employ the paper towel method. Give it a squeeze over the sink, in my opinion, you’re golden. No torture necessary.

But at the same time as it being weird, tofu is also kinda cute. Take, for example, this solitary little chunk that somehow didn’t make it into the marinade with all its friends.

Awwwwww.

Don’t worry, I tossed him in. He got just as roasty-toasty and lemony scrumptious as the rest of his family. Have no fear.

I’ll shut up now–but ONLY BECAUSE I KNOW that you’re about to drop everything and go make this salad.

Kale Salad

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

1 bunch kale (the curlier the better!)

1/2 red onion, sliced

1/2 cup almonds

1/4 cup sesame seeds

3/4 cup uncooked brown rice

1/3 cup bagged sliced cabbage, with carrots (optional)

1 recipe Soy Sauce and Citrus Baked Tofu (below)

1 recipe Lemony Dijon Dressing (below)

Directions:

Prepare the baked tofu. While it’s roasting, cook the brown rice according to package directions. Remove both the tofu and rice to bowls and allow to cool while you do everything else. Tear the kale into small, inch-size pieces, removing the stem. Wash and place in the largest bowl you own. Slice the red onion and add. Add the bagged sliced cabbage. Toss to combine. Now add the cooled brown rice, the sesame seeds, and the tofu chunks. Very roughly chop (we’re talking each in two or three pieces) half of the almonds (half would be 1/4 cup, for the math-impaired) and add them to the party. Toss again. Make the dressing and drizzle over the top to taste (I use virtually all of it, but you can do whatever your little heart desires), and toss thoroughly.

 

Soy Sauce and Citrus Baked Tofu

adapted from Young, Dumb, and Vegan

Ingredients:

1 lb extra firm tofu

2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

3 cloves of garlic, minced small

Directions:

Cube the tofu into 1/4 inch chunks. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat. Set oven to 400 degrees, and while it warms up, let tofu marinate for at least 20 min. Spread on a cookie sheet with a lip, and pour extra liquid and garlic over the top. Roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring halfway through.

 

Lemony Dijon Dressing

also adapted from Young, Dumb, and Vegan

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons dijon mustard

3 teaspoons soy sauce

3 cloves garlic, minced very small

1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Whisk to combine all ingredients thoroughly. Done.

Nom nom nom nom.

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One Response to “Kale Salad”

  1. LoveLace December 22, 2011 at 11:07 pm #

    Can I use something other than tofu?

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