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This strawberry kale salad is the sweet perfection of summer. Bitter kale transforms into velvety tenderness with a simple trick, and will appeal to even the staunch kale haters. Mint and blue cheese make this healthy salad a restaurant-quality meal that you can make at home in just 20 minutes.
This recipe was originally released on May 13, 2017. It was updated on June 18, 2019 with new photos, recipe modifications, and additional content.
If you think you don't like kale, this is the recipe that could take you from "don't freak out" to "maybe we can be friends". A quick and simple treatment transforms kale into a tamer, I dare say luxurious, Version of himself that not even the most hated kale haters can resist (and I consider myself a former member of that tribe!).
This strawberry kale salad is everything I want in a meal – a little sweet, a little salt, and fast enough to go from fridge to stomach in under 30 minutes. It is also super versatile and an inexhaustible source of nutrition. It's packed with vitamins, fiber, and protein, and the perfect summer meal for any day of the week.
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Serve as is as a salad alongside just about anything, or toss with plain roast chicken or charred salmon for a full meal.
Strawberry and kale salad ingredients
As with most fresh salads, the ingredient list here is pretty short, so use the freshest, best-quality ingredients you can afford. This is an excellent recipe to use the odds and ends of a CSA box or to tame the mint plant in your garden.
Kale: I like lacinato kale for this salad. Also called Tuscan cabbage. I find it difficult to find this varietal in supermarket chains, but I can always find it in my cooperative, the farmers market and Whole Foods. Kale is an excellent substitute and is widely available. The preparation remains the same regardless of the type of kale you use, but since the kale is slightly more bitter, massage a little more to properly release natural sugars.
Spinach: I like to add a little spinach for nutritional variation and to soften the taste of kale. I went for ripe spinach, or large leaves, to combine with the friendliness of the kale. Again, this can be a bit difficult to find in regular grocery stores, so ask a product assistant for help (it's often packaged and pre-cut) or look it up directly at the Farmer's Market or Whole Foods. You can also totally use baby spinach.
Strawberries: Fresh is best here (duh!) And you definitely want to reserve this recipe for when the berries are in full swing.
Green peas: Raw peas add a really nice crunch to the salad. Cameron found them a bit chewy (I liked it), so if you're in doubt, go for snow peas, which are softer and sweeter.
English cucumber Pretty clear, huh? I didn't fight or sow the cucumber, but you can do it if you want. You can also substitute two Persian cucumbers.
Mint: Chopped fresh mint is a very good foil for kale, and it brings that extra level of flavor to elevate this salad to the status of "um, wowza."
Blue cheese: The spicy and salty blue cheese is perfect. I love the contrast of flavor with the sweet strawberries and the sour vinaigrette. If you're not a fan of blue, substitute goat cheese or feta cheese.
Almonds: The chopped almonds add a little more crunch and an extra touch of protein. And what is a nut-free starter salad?
How to make a strawberry and kale salad
This strawberry kale is the sweet perfection of summer. Massaging the kale leaves with balsamic dressing softens both the texture and its bitter edge, resulting in velvety, tender bites that pair perfectly with sweet strawberries, fresh mint, and strong balsamic vinaigrette.
Let's start with a note on the preparation of kale. Kale can be a little harsh, you know, literally. It's chewy and quite bitter when it comes to greens, but fear not: we're going to tame that kale with a sweet and tender submission by massaging it with a little vinaigrette. Yes, I know how dirty it sounds. No, I am not sorry.
Start by removing the worst of the worst: the dreaded rib. This is really super easy. Lay a kale leaf on a cutting board, then pass the tip of a kitchen knife over each side of the stem. Take the stem out and discard it. DONE.
Once you have removed all the ribs, cut the kale into small pieces.
Make the balsamic vinaigrette, then combine about a quarter cup of the dressing with the chopped kale. Using your very clean hands, dig and get dirty. Crack the kale in your hands, placing the dressing on the vegetables. Don't go overboard here, about 2-3 minutes of gentle work should get the job done. The friction of the massage will break down the fibers and smooth the kale into a pleasantly chewy bite.
See? Soft (er) and luxurious kale. Fainting.
Add the remaining ingredients to the massaged kale: chopped spinach, strawberries, cucumber, peas, mint, blue cheese, and almonds, and add a little extra dressing; another quarter cup should suffice.
Mix the ingredients until everything is well distributed, and voila!
Make such a meal by adding a little sliced grilled chicken. The seared salmon is also delicious. Or serve as a garnish without further additions. This salad is always a big hit for summer parties and luck.
Strawberry and kale salad with mint
This strawberry kale is the sweet perfection of summer. Massaging the kale leaves with balsamic dressing softens the texture and its bitter edge, resulting in velvety bites that pair perfectly with sweet strawberries, fresh mint, and spicy balsamic vinaigrette.
Cuisine: American, Vegetarian
Preparation time: 20 minutes.
Total time: 20 minutes
- 6 oz chopped kale
- 3 oz chopped spinach
- 1/2 lb sliced strawberries
- 1/2 English cucumber, sliced
- 4 oz. chopped peas
- 1/3 c chopped mint
- 1/3 c crumbled blue cheese
- 1/3 c sliced almonds
- roasted or grilled chicken or steak, optional
Prepare the balsamic vinaigrette. Combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper and mix until emulsified.
Prepare the kale. Lay a kale leaf on a cutting board. Using a paring knife, cut along each side of the center rib to remove. Discard the ribs, then chop the kale into small pieces. Repeat with all remaining kale leaves.
Massage the kale. Combine the chopped kale with 1/4 cup balsamic vinaigrette. Using your (clean) hands, work the vinaigrette on the kale for 2-3 minutes to loosen the tough fibers. Set aside to marinate and soften further as you prepare the remaining ingredients.
Prepare the remaining ingredients: cut the strawberries; chop the spinach into small pieces; cut the cucumber and cut into thin slices; chop the peas; and chop the mint.
Add spinach, strawberries, cucumber, peas, mint, blue cheese, and almonds to the mashed kale, then drizzle with an additional quarter cup of dressing. Mix to combine. Serving in bowls with additional dressing aside and serve immediately. Top with grilled chicken for a complete meal.
Calories: 291kcal (15%), Carbohydrates: 17g (6%), Proteins: 8g (16%), Fats: 22g (34%), Saturated fats: 4g (20%), Polyunsaturated fats: 2g, Monounsaturated fats: 11g , Trans fat: 0 g, Cholesterol: 7 mg (2%), Sodium: 283 mg (12%), Potassium: 460 mg (13%), Fiber: 5 g (20%), Sugar: 10 g (11%) ), Vitamin A: 12000% (12000%), Vitamin C: 111.4% (111%), Calcium: 470% (470%), Iron: 1.8% (2%)
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