Hello all. I hope the muffin makers among you are planning on a date with my banana, oat, and chia seed muffins very soon!
Whenever I post a kale salad recipe on this blog, I worry. You have seen so many kinds of kale salads from me, and I fear that posting more will push the limits of even healthy eaters to muster up enthusiasm for raw greens. Thus far, however, you haven’t stopped me—in fact, my kale salad with outstanding miso dressing was one of my most popular recipes of the summer. So, until you tell me that you’re tired of seeing massaged kale on the front of this blog, I’ll keep giving it to you, because it may very well be the foundation of my diet!
As such, I’m always looking for new and tasty ways to dress kale up and make it taste even better than it does by its lonesome. This week, I tried a new combination: citrus, fennel, and radicchio. If I’d been thinking hard enough about my motives for this recipe, I might have postulated that my subconscious was trying to stave off the cold and cough that’s spreading like wildfire across the Georgetown campus; fennel and orange are both outstanding sources of Vitamin C. I might also have been thinking about the fact that Vitamin C aids in iron absorption, and that kale is a high source of iron (for those of you who are worried about the oxalates in dark leafy greens, which can block iron and calcium absorption, keep in mind that kale is much lower in oxalates than other dark leafy greens, like spinach). Finally, I might have been thinking that radicchio has not only Vitamin C, but Vitamin E, and that it’s a rich source of antioxidants and phytonutrients in the “red” family of veggies, including lycopene, ellagic acid, quercetin and hesperidin.
Or maybe I wasn’t thinking about any of these things. Perhaps I was simply thinking that citrus and kale are a stunning, colorful, and tasty combination. Perhaps I was thinking that the sweet, licorice hints of fennel pair beautifully with the tart sweetness of orange and the bitterness of radicchio. This salad contains quite a few of the six tastes of food: it’s bitter, sweet, salty, and sour all at once. Not bad for a dish that contains four humble vegetables and a simple dressing. As always, simple food is often the richest.
Kale Salad with Orange, Radicchio, Fennel, and Orange Miso Vinaigrette (raw, vegan, gluten free)
For the salad:
1 small head kale, de-stemmed, chopped, and washed
1 1/2 cups radicchio, chopped or torn into pieces
1 small bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1/2 cup orange pieces, slices, or slivers
For the dressing:
3/4 cup fresh orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
1 heaping tbsp miso
1/3 cup olive or flax oil (I like flax)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp nama shoyu or tamari
1) Blend all dressing ingredients together in a blender or food processor.
2) “Massage” dressing into your kale with hands, using only as much as you need to coat the salad well, and soften the kale. Add the radicchio, fennel, and orange, and mix, adding more dressing as needed.
3) Serve with a vegan entree of choice, a soup or sandwich at lunch, or an assortment of raw crackers and dip.
Just look at those vibrant and varied colors:
This is the kind of dish that makes me marvel at the beauty of raw vegetables.
Pop quiz, CR readers: is this a side salad or a meal-sized salad?
Answer: Side salad!! While delicious, varied, rich, and bursting with micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), this salad isn’t high enough in all of the essential macronutrients (protein, complex carbs, and fats) to fill most people up as a meal (I say “most people” because all of our bodies and nutrition needs do vary). So, if we don’t want to serve this dish along with an entrée of sorts (I served mine along with a collard wrap stuffed with hummus and avocado), how would we go about transforming this delicious meal component into a meal in and of itself?
I hope this is how you all tend to think when you make salads! Ask yourself, do I have a side salad or a main dish on my hands? If it’s a salad, ask yourself, how can I use this as the backbone for a more nutrient rich meal? What can I add to increase nutrient density and ensure my own satiety? Salads are extraordinary and health giving in almost any form (unless we’re talking iceberg wedge salads with blue cheese dressing, or something) but it’s crucial that we high raw and plant-based readers be able to know which salads are best served with other foods, which stand alone as meals, and how to transition from one to another. This way, we can all have our salad, and feel satisfied with it, too.