I love a sweet kale salad with craisins, oranges and a fresh lemon dressing, but sometimes the ingredients I have on hand are apples, vinegar and radishes. In this winter kale salad variation I added some beautiful purple mu radish (a.k.a. purple daikon) which has a bit of the peppery zest of radishes, but is also juicy, relatively mild and rich with vitamin C and potassium. Any kind of daikon would be equally yummy, as would raw kohlrabi.
This is a hearty salad with an unexpected zesty crunch, topped with roasted nuts and a simple, homemade vinaigrette. If you are wanting a sweeter salad, go easy on the daikon and heavier on the raisins. Many nights of the week, drizzling a salad with olive oil and vinegar and sprinkling with salt and pepper is all you need to do. But sometimes taking the extra step of mixing up a quick vinaigrette makes a big difference (and you can enjoy the leftovers). Toasted nuts are also well worth the eight minutes. Just be careful not to burn them because then you’ll be annoyed.
5-6 cups curly kale, stems removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 apple, cored and diced (pictured are tart, green apples)
1½ – 2 cups carrot, peeled and grated
½ cup purple mu radish (or other mild radish), peeled and cut into thin matchsticks.
small handful of raisins
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic or fig vinegar
1½ T honey
1 big clove of garlic, pressed (or 2 small)
kosher salt & fresh ground pepper to taste
Seasonings & Toppings
handful of toasted walnuts or other nuts
Chop up the veggies: Wash, dry and de-stem the kale by either tearing or cutting away the thick stem in each leaf. Cut kale and apple into bite-sized pieces. At this point, some people drizzle the kale with olive oil and gently “massage it” to soften the leaves. I eat a boat-load of kale and don’t find this necessary, but you may want to try it. The important thing is to cut the kale into manageable, bite-sized pieces and thoroughly toss the salad at the end. Peel and shred the carrot with a box grater. Peel the radish with a potato peeler and cut it into thin matchsticks. Toss in the raisins.
Toast the nuts: You can do this in the oven or in a skillet on the stove top. Add a bit of oil or toast them dry. Oven method: preheat oven to 350°F and lay the nuts out on a baking sheet. Check on them in 4 minutes, toss and then set the timer for another 4 minutes. Stovetop method: Put them in a skillet or cast iron pan. Keep the heat low and toss every couple minutes. Once the nuts are toasted, give them a chop and toss them in the salad.
Mix the vinaigrette: Whisk together all vinaigrette ingredients, except olive oil, then slowly whisk in olive oil. Transfer to a jar with a lid and give it a good shake. Keep the leftover dressing in the refrigerator and use it within seven days. A good rule of thumb for vinaigrette is one part vinegar or other acid to three parts oil. Add more vinegar for tartness or more oil for richness. Taste your vinaigrette with a piece of kale to see how it’s working for you.
Toss it together! Toss your lovely salad and dress it liberally with the vinaigrette. Use as much as necessary to really saturate the kale with the dressing and keep tossing until all leaves are coated. This salad is fine leftover the next day.