Let’s talk about kale for a minute.
There’s a lot of buzz about kale in the healthy living world. It’s not just a fancy way to hold orange slices on your dinner plate at a restaurant (what my mom knows it for) people are drinking it, eating it, cooking with it, baking it, growing it and loving it! But what’s the big deal with kale? Why is everyone so obsessed with this crazy green?
Nutritionally, kale is king of the plant world. It is high in well-absorbed calcium, so you can let the baby calves have their milk–just keep eating your leafy greens to protect your bones! It is also high in fiber, a great source of Vitamin A, and it’s one of the best food sources of beta carotene! Kale is rich in antioxidants, protecting your body from damaging free-radicals. This super food protects you from cancer, heart disease, cataracts, osteoporosis, dementia, and other age-related diseases. Kale is awesome to aid your body in detoxing because the sulforaphane (a phytonutrient) in kale will travel right to your liver to give a nice boost to it’s natural detoxifying power! Kale contains a plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (Alpha-Linolenic Acid), giving it great anti-inflammatory benefits.
Kale is so versatile as far as how you can use it in your kitchen, and it can grow just about anywhere!
(unless you are juicing it, removing the leaves from the stems will help kale to not taste bitter – the easiest way to do this is to rinse it then hold the top of the stem with your hand then gently press down the stem with your hand, ripping the leaves off in one or two gentle swoops)
I have tons of kale recipes. This is a more recent one I made with a creamy avocado dressing massaged right into it. Massaging kale will help to “cook” it down, making it nice, soft and easier on the digestive system when eating! So clean your hands and get to work!
I don’t always do this, but another great tip is after you rip the leaves you can chop the kale down even more to help it break down faster, and another way to help your digestive system out with breaking it down before you start chewing!
The first thing I do after it is cleaned and chopped up is massage some lemon, olive oil and sea salt before massaging in my dressing – (make sure kale is completely dry before you use it, especially when making kale chips! I do this though even when I make salads)
My salad spinner and my citrus juicer are my favorite (cheap) kitchen appliances! Salad spinner is crucial for getting my kale nice and dry in no time, and my little manual juicer helps me get the most out of my lemons and limes when making dressings and marinades! Some of the best shower gifts I got!
Next, I make my dressing and prepare to get my hands really dirty!
When you pick out your avocado, to ensure ripeness, press that little nub at the top. If it is soft, remove that nub. If it’s green, you’re good to go, brown, it will probably be brown inside. If it is still a little firm and green, give it a day or two more!
To remove the seed from the center without losing a lot of the fruit, get a large shopping knife, give it one strong chop, and lift it out gently. Just be careful getting the seed off of the knife. I usually smack it on the inside of my trash can
The dressing was super simple – just a few ingredients, all of which you should have as staples in your kitchen!
Place the ingredients in a bowl, mash it up with a fork…
Then get it as creamy as you can. You can also use a food processor, but not necessary!
Now, get it into your greens and use your hands to completely cover them and “massage” it all in!
I actually added a bunch of hemp seeds after I took all of the photos. They added some great nutrition and protein (and a nutty little crunch!) If you have some on hand (another MUST kitchen staple!), then sprinkle some on!
Massaged Avocado Kale Salad
- 1 small bunch of kale
- 1 large avocado
- 1 lemon
- 1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 1/2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil (plus a drizzle for massaging)
- sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-3 TBSP shelled hemp hearts (optional)
- 1 medium bell pepper (optional)
- any add-ins you like! red onion, Goat’s cheese, cucumber, etc
Remove kale leaves from stems. Wash it and dry it thoroughly. Chop kale up and place into a large bowl. Juice 1/2 a lemon and use a little drizzle of olive oil and some sea salt to the kale then massage it into the leaves until they get soft. Set aside for about 10 minutes (while you make the dressing) to soften further.
For the dressing: Place the ripe avocado, 1 TBSP Apple Cider Vinegar, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1 1/2 TBSP olive oil, salt and pepper into a bowl and mash it, blend it until it is creamy. Massage it into the leaves until fully covered. Chop up some bell peppers for the nice color contrast, add some hemp seeds, or whatever veggies you like! Feel free to double or triple the recipe for a crowd!