Kale salad has lovers and haters. There are also those people who roll their eyes at a another. kale. salad. but eat it anyway. I know, I know. But there are a few reasons why kale keeps hanging around. For one, it's durable. It can last for a while in the fridge compared to more delicate lettuce. It's more toothsome compared to spinach which had it's hey-day nearly a decade ago. It's also a nutritious and fiber-rich green that can take a beating (i.e. get sliced, massaged, and tossed) and still taste better the next day. For a girl who loves to shop once per week and batch cook, it's a winner.
This salad could certainly be a meal on it's own, but I sometimes enjoy it with a local egg or two that I've hard-boiled and sprinkled with sea salt. Sliced avocado? Always a good idea. The components are quick to come together and it makes for perfect take-to-work lunches. Other grains, like farro or wheatberries or even quinoa, can be substituted for similar results, but I think chickpeas give the best texture here. I recommend making extra dressing to have on hand for any other green things or grain things you're making for the week.
This salad is plant protein-rich with chickpeas, bulgur, and sunflower seeds and nutrient-dense. The apples give a lovely sweet-tart crunch, but a handful of chopped dried apricots would lend a sweet chewiness that would satisfy too. Once you get the basics, play around with it to create your own version! And then let me know about it.
Don't be intimidated by the three recipes here. It all comes together in a pinch.
Kale, Bulgur and Chickpea Bowl
¾ cup medium-grind bulgur or 2 cups cooked grain
1 bunch massaged kale (recipe below)
1 14.5 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas)
¼ cup sunflower seeds, toasted*
1 medium crisp apple, thinly sliced
¼ cup Simple Lemon Vinaigrette (recipe below)
Cook bulgur. Place ¾ cup bulgur in a bowl. Add 1 ½ cups boiling water, stir and let stand 25 minutes. Fluff and drain off any excess liquid. Yields 2 cups soaked bulgur.
Assemble bowl. Mix together cooked bulgur, massaged kale, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and apple. Drizzle with ¼ cup vinaigrette and toss together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Serves 3-4 as a salad or light meal.
*To toast sunflower seeds, heat raw seeds in skillet over medium-low heat for 7-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, or until slightly golden
1 bunch kale, leaves removed from stems and cut into chiffonade
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Massage kale leaves with oil until softened and tender, about 1-2 minutes. Store in refrigerator for 4-5 days.
*lacinato or dino kale has rich dark leaves and is more tender, but curly kale (either green or Russian red types) can also be used.
Simple Lemon Vinaigrette
Makes approx. ¾ cup
1 garlic clove, finely minced
¼ cup fresh lemon juice or juice of 2 lemons
finely grated zest of ½ lemon
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
¾ teaspoon maple syrup
¼ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Add all ingredients to a jar and shake. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Use throughout the week. Makes approximately 3/4 cup.