Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes Featured

 

Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Seed Dressing

When it comes to kale, I always seem to be lagging behind the cool kids. Though I’m crazy about kale in soups and casseroles and skillet dinners, I haven’t loved the more trendy ways of eating it. I was one of the last food bloggers to try kale chips, and when I did, I was unimpressed. And though for the last few years people all over the planet have been rubbing their kale like deranged massage therapists, every time I tried a massaged kale salad, I wound up wanting to put the whole thing into a steamer. But this week I became a massaged kale convert when I finally realized what I was doing wrong.

Basically, I wasn’t massaging the kale hard enough or long enough. [Insert husband joke here.] You might think that’s because I’m one of those selfish people who prefer getting massages to giving them (don’t we all?), but the real reason I’ve treated my kale too gently is that I’m always thinking ahead to the photo. Massaging takes the perkiness right out of kale leaves, leaving them limp and less attractive to the camera lens. But the harder you rub, the more the cell walls break down, making the kale more tender and less bitter. So don’t be afraid to rub kale the wrong way; you can’t, unless you just don’t try hard enough.

Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need oil to massage kale. Any salad dressing will do, whether it contains fat or not, and, as Nava Atlas points out in Wild About Greens, you can even use salt, though you have to be very careful not to add a salty dressing on top of it. In this recipe, I made a dressing from pepitas, shelled pumpkin seeds, and used it both as my “massage oil” and as a final salad dressing. I liked the contrast of the tangy lime and jalapeno flavor of the dressing with the sweetness of grilled sweet potatoes, and I added pinto beans to make this a main dish salad. Both the dressing and the salad were a hit with my husband, who was probably wondering what he’d have to do to get the kale treatment.

Speaking of erotic treatments of kale, my friend Julia at SnarkyVegan is doing a “50 Shades of Kale” theme for VeganMoFo; check out her Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado and Marinated Beans, which is hilarious to read and, I’m sure, delicious to eat. It’s the fourth in a series of posts, so be sure to start at the beginning to follow the story.

Massaged Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkin Seed Dressing
Pumpkin Seed Dressing
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