Lemon & Parmesan Kale Salad for the Win!

Welcome back, everyone! I hope that you had an enjoyable weekend, whether you were celebrating the holidays or not. I know that it was a whirlwind for me, but I had an incredible time with L’s family and am really looking forward to telling you about some of the things I made for dessert for both Christmas Eve and Day. I need a breather, though – a little reprise from all of the holiday baking and traveling. I’ve always found the day after Christmas to be a little anti-climactic. The Christmas songs go away, the energy from Christmas morning wanes but doesn’t go away completely – I find myself up today, drinking a glass of almond milk in preparation of returning to my workout routine after a few days of sacrificing it for the sake of getting all of that baking done, and I’m almost thinking to myself “Well, what now?”

This kale salad is anything but anti-climactic, though. In fact, I was so skeptical about it because I wasn’t fully convinced that I even liked kale beyond kale chips, but my produce calendar said it was in season and I’m up for giving anything a second chance. Plus, I always feel like salads should be doing more for me nutritionally than my beloved romaine, yet sometimes a big plate of raw spinach really rubs me the wrong way. As it turns out, kale is the perfect blend of the two! It has the light taste of romaine – not the same watery crunch, but still very far from the chew of spinach – with all of the nutritional powerhouse qualities of spinach. It’s absolutely my new favorite salad base!

I quartered the recipe and wound up with enough for about 2 pretty voluminous, though not necessarily entirely filling, portions. When I first made it, I ate it with an egg casserole; the next day I just had it on its own and both times it was nothing short of amazing. The vinaigrette, which I’ve made twice now and have gotten big compliments on it from everyone, is full of depth from a good olive oil and flavor from the citrus and parmesan. Lemon and parmesan really do go well together (and, by the way – I have officially switched over to the Real Deal parmesan; no more of that awful canned Kraft stuff here at Floptimsim!), and you don’t need much of the cheese to get the desired flavor. The pine nuts added a toasty chew, too. Plus, the salad got arguably even better overnight –the next day I was practically in heaven. You need to make this salad. You just do. If you’re looking for a lighter reprieve from the sugar rush of this weekend, this is perfect. If you could care less about healthy eating but just want a ridiculously good salad, a real crowd pleaser (does anyone need an idea for a New Year’s Eve or Day gathering recipe??), this is perfect, too. In fact, I don’t know if there is a situation where this salad wouldn’t be perfect.

One Year Ago: Croquembouche (Espresso Cream Filled Choux Pastries)

Lemon & Parmesan Kale Salad, adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride
Yield: 4-6 side, 3-4 main dish servings

The Ingredients
4 cloves garlic, finely minced1
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon vinegar2
⅔ cup oil
⅓ cup shaved parmesan
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch kale, rinsed and well dried
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
shaved parmesan, for garnish

The Method
Whisk together the garlic, lemon, vinegar, and pepper in a small mixing bowl and set aside for at least 15 minutes, preferably overnight.3 Slowly stream in the olive oil, whisking all the while, and then stir in the shaved parmesan.

Meanwhile, coarsely chop the kale and add it to a (very) large bowl. Toss with the dressing4 and garnish with the toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan.

1The second time I made this I used pre-minced garlic, a fraction of a tablespoon. I’m sure it’s not exactly the same, but the garlic wasn’t overpowering in either instance so I didn’t notice much of a difference. Use what you have.
2The original calls for white wine; I used red wine the first time and tarragon the second. I also added freshly parsley the second time around, which was nice.
3I let mine sit for 25 minutes the first time and several hours the second.
4It says to toss the full recipe with just a few tablespoons of the dressing, but I have a confession: I used the whole thing and had a very well dressed salad. Look, I will dip the tines of my fork in salad dressing and just get a scant amount per bite all day long, and I’ll even enjoy it – but deep down, there’s a part of me that just goes to town over a salad really really well coated in a homemade or vinaigrette. These are good fats, and if you stick to the 2/3 cup of oil for the full batch it works out to just under 2 tablespoons of oil per person. It’s really not too obscene, I promise, and it’s so good if you “indulge” in this way.


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