I’ve been infatuated lately with raw kale salads. I know, it sounds a little hippy-ish! And maybe that’s so, but it’s also incredibly delicious. Thin ribbons of crunchy, deep green kale, hearty and fresh and just a little bitter, tossed with a flavorful mix of mustardy vinaigrette and all sorts of other tasty things. I tell you, salads don’t get any tastier than this! Especially this time of year, when sturdy kale is at it’s fall best.
I posted a raw kale salad recipe last year, for a St. Patrick’s Day dinner. The tasty additions that time round included golden raisins, sweet slices of Vidalia onions, Parmesan cheese and toasted Hazelnuts. Oh yes, and a mustard-malt vinaigrette. Oh man, I just loved that salad. Check it out. It was one of my favorite posts all year.
This time, I combined the thinly sliced kale with raw Brussels sprout leaves, roasted Delicata squash, toasted pine nuts, plumped raisins and ribbons of Parmesan, then tossed them all together in a rosemary-Sherry vinaigrette. The combination was totally delicious, and a perfect distillation of fall. But honestly, you can top these kale salads with anything under the sun. My main goal today is to try and get you to make a raw kale salad of any sort. Follow my recipe to the letter, or just take the kale and run. Have fun with it. The extras are up to you. And don’t worry my friends, you truly can’t go wrong here!
But while I’ve got your ear, let me dwell a while on one particular salad addition of mine, the Delicata squash. I have to admit, this is the first time I’ve cooked with this particular gourd. I’ve seen it all over the place, and always pass it up for Butternut or Acorn or Spaghetti squash. But I’d heard recently that the skin was edible. Delicata… ah delicate! With skin delicate enough to eat. How convenient, I thought, and how pretty on a salad. And so I had to give it a try. And, is it any surprise… it was wonderful! I mean, what winter squash isn’t?! Buttery and sweet and deeply satisfying, very similar to Butternut, but perhaps a little milder. And just as promised, the skin was no hindrance at all. Oh wow, I love a new culinary discovery!
One last thought: These kale salads are great all on their own, as a separate salad course. But they’re super great too, served as a side dish. I made this one last night with pan-roasted chicken breasts. It was hearty enough, and so chock-full of other good things, that it was the only side I needed for this weeknight meal. I really hope you all give this kale salad thing a try. It will certainly help make for a very tasty fall and winter!