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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Using Kale in a Salad

Kale is the queen of greens. It's been hailed as one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. We're talking about a green plant that provides 1,000 percent of your daily requirements for vitamin K and over 100% of your daily requirements for both vitamins A and C. Yep, it's super. But is it edible? Absolutely! But it depends on how you prepare it.

Kale is a cold-hardy vegetable in season during the fall and winter. There are many different varieties of kale, but green Curly Kale is what you often see in the grocery stores. This versatile variety has tight curly leaves with fibrous stalks. To prepare kale, pull off the leaves from the stem by using your fingers to tear them. Discard the stem, or ribs, which are generally too tough to taste worthy. Rinse under water, and spin or pat dry. Now they're ready for use!

Kale is a tough green that can also be bitter tasting. It's generally cooked by sautéing in a skillet with oil, thrown in a soup, or baked in the oven into crisp chips. However, if prepared right, kale can be delicious as the star green in a salad. To do so, start with young kale that doesn't look too tough. Finely chop the leaves for an easier chew. The dressing needs an acid like citrus juice and a bit of salt to help break down the cell walls of the leaves. Then, it's all about giving your kale some love! Massage the dressing into the kale; the leaves will break down and soften, and every leaf will be perfectly coated with dressing. The best part: this already dressed salad will not go limp in the fridge, but will keep for days. It makes for yummy leftovers!

Kale Salad with Apples (Printable PDF)

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

? teaspoon salt

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup olive oil

4 cups finely chopped kale, ribs removed

2 Tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

1 sweet apple, cored and sliced thin

2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Combine lemon juice, salt, garlic, mustard and oil in a large bowl; whisk well. Add kale. Using clean hands, massage dressing into kale. Toss with almonds and apples. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 180 calories, 17 grams fat, 150 milligrams sodium, 8 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 2 grams protein