Massaged kale served simply with cucumbers, carrots, and a luscious dressing of avocado and tahini is an incredible treat. While the dressing given in this recipe is ideal for this kale and cucumber salad and other kinds of kale salads, it’s also great on most any kind of green salad. You can also use it as a sauce for any kind of hardy greens that are simply sautéed with garlic and a little olive oil to dress them up.
If you’ve never massaged kale, there’s not a whole lot to it, but it you’d like some extra tips, see How to Massage Kale (and a few delicious kale salad ideas).
- 1 medium ripe avocado, peeled and diced
- 1/4 cup sesame paste (tahini)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 8 ounces kale, curly green or lacinato
- 1 medium cucumber, quartered lengthwise, seeds cut away, and sliced
- 1 cup grated carrot
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
- 2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- For the dressing: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or mini-prep and puree until smooth. Add 1/4 of water, or as needed, to achieve a medium-thick consistency.
- For the salad: Strip the kale leaves off the stems. Slice the kale thinly and place in a serving bowl. If you’d like to use the stems, slice them thinly as well; otherwise, discard.
- Coat your palms lightly with olive oil and massage the kale until it softens and becomes bright green, 30 to 45 seconds (or, you can make the dressing first and use a little of it to massage the kale).
- Combine the kale with the remaining ingredients in a serving bowl. Toss together.
- Use as much dressing as you’d like. You may or may not need all of it. Store any excess in an airtight container and refrigerate. Serve at once.
For a more tender salad, use about 6 kale leaves and combine with half a head of romaine lettuce (cut into strips).
Recipe adapted from Wild About Greens by Nava Atlas.
Some notes on kale
Though the crazed devotion to kale seems to have peaked, it’s still a Most Valuable Vegetable. Kale is in the family of cruciferous vegetable, as are broccoli and cauliflower. It comes in several varieties, the most common of which are the curly-leafed variety, lacinato (also called dinosaur kale), and Russian kale.
Lacinato kale has long, narrow leaves that are a handsome forest green, sometimes blue-green. Russian Kale is also curly, with red-tipped leaves and a slightly less sweet flavor than its monochromatic counterpart.
In my opinion, though lacinato and Russian kale look appealing, the mild, slightly sweet flavor of the curly variety is the most widely adaptable to all manner of preparations. For this stir-fry, curly green kale or lacinato work equally well.