If you’re looking for comfort food today, you just might want to click right on over to another site. There are lots of blogs that are sharing all kinds of delicious, delightful holiday recipes, ideas and inspirations as we count down to Thanksgiving here in the US.
But, if you’re looking for something fresh, seasonal, vibrant and super delicious, don’t even think of moving that mouse. This Kale and Clementine Salad is the perfect antidote for all the heavy, rich food that seems to be here, there and everywhere these days.
I’ve already made it three times and served it to family and friends. All of my taste-testers loved it. And there’s lots to love about it: ribbons of healthy kale and crisp white cabbage, sweet clementines, dried cranberries and ruby red pomegranate arils.
The finishing touches? A scatter of sweet and spicy honey roasted sunflower seeds, so crunchy and delicious you may have to hide them if you want any left for the salad! Oh, and there’s a super simple, bursting with flavor Clementine Ginger Dressing to tie it all together.
But just between you and me, I have to say that eating a bowl of raw kale would not rank high on my favs list. And being honest, I think kale is kind of tough, kind of chewy (and a little bit stinky too!). But I know it's one of those super foods (experts call it "the new beef" and"a nutritional powerhouse") and that it's loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber; along with being the perfect detox food. It’s also a sturdy green that holds up well and is perfect for make-ahead salads.
Guess what? Learning all the great health benefits has spurred me on to discover some tricks that I employ to transform kale into a delightful salad star that even the most ardent kale critic will enjoy. I've become quite the aficionado now too.
First of all, I like to slice the kale nice and thin (you can also tear it into small pieces). This instantly makes these curly greens more tender. I also like to tone down the kale a bit by combining it with another type of green, like spinach, field greens, watercress, micro greens or cabbage. Last, before adding other ingredients to my kale salads, I take a spoonful or two of olive oil or salad dressing and spend a minute or two massaging the kale. Massaging? Yup, a quick massage with clean fingers is quite magical, not only for sore necks but also for tough kale. It softens and tenderizes the greens right before your eyes.
This Kale and Clementine Salad would be a perfect side with beef, pork, chicken or seafood. I took it to a dinner party and it paired wonderfully with the hostess’s Beef Bourguignon. It would be a beautiful, healthy and festive addition to any holiday meal. Try it, I think your family/friends will be requesting this one again and again.
P.S. I’m actually finishing up this post while in a London cab on a wet, rainy, quintessential London morning. We spent the night flying across “the Pond” and will soon be with our daughter and her family here in London. We can’t wait! The Café will be posting from the UK for the next ten days and we’ll be sure to share some of our adventures. But for now, as they say here in London, “Cheerio!"
Addendum: Due to a bit of jet lag and four very excited little children, I didn't get this post sent out earlier today, as anticipated, so I decided to share a few pics of our first day in London. We picked up our granddaughters after school, got on the Tube (the London underground) and headed to The Tower of London area where there was a magnificent display commemorating those who died in WW1. There were 888,000 ceramic poppies "planted" all around the tower in an art installation by artist, Paul Cummins aptly called "Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red". One poppy for every British soldier who died in WW1. It was truly a poignant sight to behold. Here are a few pics Scott caught;
Instead of getting back on the Tube right away, we strolled along the beautiful Thames River, holding hands with our girlies who chattered, skipped, sang and caught us up on all that's been happening in their little world.
As you can imagine, we're falling wearily bed tonight and hoping to soon be in dreamy-land! Night, night!
- ½ cup salted roasted sunflower seeds
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 4 teaspoons honey
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt if needed
- 4 cups cabbage
- 4 cups kale
- 4 medium clementines peeled, sliced horizontally, slices halved
- ½ cup pomegranate arils or seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Clementine Ginger Salad Dressing
For the sunflower seeds, preheat oven to 350. Line a baking pan with foil. Spray lightly with cooking spray or rub a bit of oil onto pan with a paper towel.
Combine sunflower seeds, olive oil, honey and spices on prepared pan. Toss to coat. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden, stirring and redistributing every 5 minutes. Cool slightly and taste. Add sea salt, if needed. Cool on pan, stirring occasionally.
For the salad, place kale in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the Clementine Ginger Dressing. Massage for 1-2 minutes with your fingers until kale begins to soften. Add cabbage and toss to combine. Add clementines, pomegranate arils, dried cranberries and more Clementine Ginger Dressing (to taste) and toss gently. Scatter with sunflower seeds. Serve and pass extra dressing at the table, if desired.