Don’t worry kale, I am not a fair weather fan. I’m here to stay.
I’ve read a number of reports that have claimed that the kale trend is past its peak. It is time to move on to cauliflower in all forms and preparations. In the past year or two, the tough, leafy green has risen from anonymity to find its way onto a majority of notable restaurant menus and into the kitchens that line Main Street. And now its over? Not for me.
At first, I talked myself into liking kale. After reading its near miraculous health benefits, I convinced myself that it was my new favorite green. Then, my friend introduced me to this recipe and it truly DID become my favorite green. Every week I bought a bunch and feared that I would overdose and get sick of it. But after dozens of massaged salads, crispy chips, steamed ginger-touched stir-fries and bean soups my admiration for the queen of greens held strong. Not only did it win over my taste buds but kale plants flourished in my city garden and one little fella won my heart when it fought back against our tough Chicago winter. (Read the story of The Little Kale that Could here.)
A few weeks ago, a friend served a kale salad for lunch with a flavor combination that was new to me. A spicy peanut sauce coated the chopped leaves before it was tossed with a healthy dose of fresh mint. Since I couldn’t remember where she found the recipe, I made up my own version and have discovered yet another way to honor my favorite vegetable.
Spicy Peanut Kale Salad with Mint
1 bunch kale
2 large carrots, shredded (about 1/3 cup)
8 large, fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon thai chili paste with basil (or other hot sauce)
Wash the kale, remove the stems and chop the leaves. In a blender, combine garlic, ginger, oil, sugar, peanut butter, rice vinegar and chili paste. Blend until smooth. Pour over the kale and massage into the leaves with your hands. Add the carrot and mint and toss to combine.