If you eat (?!?), then you will know that there has been a food obsession with kale lately. About a year and a half ago, it was deemed the new superfood, and we began to see it more and more often in restaurants – and not just in it’s cooked form. We see it in soup, as a side dish, and even in your morning smoothie!
If you compare kale to spinach, it seems pretty similar nutritionally (they have the same amount of fibre, natural sodium and are both really low in calories). But, when you look at their vitamin content, kale really trumps spinach (spinach has 56% of your daily recommendation of Vitamin A and 14% or your Vitamin C…but kale has 206% of your Vitamin A and 134% of your Vitamin C). That’s why throwing a handful of kale into your morning smoothie is such a great idea (see this cool trick on how to do this easier!)
But the best part about using kale in your diet is that, because it is one of the most sturdy greens out there, it lasts longer in your crisper drawer. Aaaand, what do you usually look for in your crisper drawer when you’re making dinner? Stuff for your nightly dinner salad!
When you’re talking salad, you want to make sure your greens are as tender as possible. If you can get your hands on some baby kale, that would be the best. But, fear not…if you are used the regular stuff, I will show you a trick on getting it nice and tender!!
Now, let’s get ready to boost that vitamin goodness, okay?
This salad hits all the right flavour notes: sweet, caramelized and honey-coated carrots topping the beautiful garden kale. With the addition of the creamy chestnuts, sweet bacon and cool feta!
1 bunch of smallish carrots with the greens tips (I found some at Costco!), but if you can’t find them, just peel up some regular carrots and cut them into halves or quarters – you want them the width and length of one of your fingers).
2 tbsp olive oil (divided)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp honey
4 rashers of bacon
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 package of baby kale (or a bunch of kale in the lettuce section of your grocery store)
A basic vinaigrette dressing (like this) or some olive oil and red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c crumbled feta
A handful of sunflower seeds ( or chopped chestnuts if you are making this in the fall!)
A drizzle of this tahini dressing (optional but really brings the layering of flavours to another level!)
Fresh lemon quarters (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees; scatter the carrots on a baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tbsp of the oil and roast for about 15 minutes.
2. Remove the tray from the oven and toss the carrots with the honey, garlic and the remining tbsp of oil; arrange the carrots to one side.
3. On the other side, lay the bacon flat and return to the oven for 15 more minutes (or until the bacon crisps up).
4. While the bacon and carrots are cooking, cut up the kale into bite sized pieces (check this post out about removing the stems – which you have to do here because they are really tough).
5. Fill your sink with really cold water and give them a swish; get them dry by either laying them on a clean tea towel or use a salad spinner).
6. When the bacon is crisp, remove the pan, sprinkle the bacon with the brown sugar and return the pan to the oven but shut the oven off (we just want the sugar to melt).
7. Place your chopped kale in your salad dish and drizzle it with about 2-3 tbsp of your vinaigrette (or, alternatively, with about 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp vinegar) and season with salt and pepper.
8. Now, with clean hands, really massage the lettuce while you distribute the dressing (the acid in the dressing along with your hands will break down some of the fibres in the kale to make it more pliable).
9. Place the bacon on a cutting board and chop it into tiny pieces; set aside.
10. To assemble the salad, take the dressed kale and top it with the honey glazed garlic carrots (make it pretty…place them nicely along the centre of the plate); top with the crumbled feta, the chopped bacon and the sunflower seeds. Drizzle with the tahini dressing (if using ) and place some lemon wedges along the edges so people can individually give their own portion a squeeze of freshness!
The colours of the rainbow…a good indication that you have a plate full of vitamin packed goodness.
And the best part is that, with the sturdiness of the kale, this can sit on your buffet table without the leaves wilting in the first 5 minutes!
Pretty AND good for you…awesome!!