Delicious Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad

IMG_8576This is our favorite kale salad.  It is a winner every time.  Sometimes I dream of this salad.  Ok, I don’t dream of this salad but I really, really like it.  We grow kale in the back yard, and it just grows, and grows.  I have done very little to care for this kale over the summer, and it just keeps a growin’.  We’ve had many a kale chip in my attempts to keep up with our kale.

Kale is a nutritional powerhouse.  It is a cruciferous vegetable, in the same family as cabbage, brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower.  These are important additions to a healthy diet.  A lot of research has been done on kale in relation to cancer, because kale is packed with antioxidant nutrients (flavonoids) as well as anti-inflammatory nutrients.   Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are risk factors in the development of cancer.  Kale has been shown to have cancer preventive benefits as well as treatment benefits.

Cruciferous-Vegetables-1At minimum you should be eating one cup of cruciferous vegetables 2 or 3 times a week. Ideal intake would be 4 or 5 times a week, 2 cups per serving.  This should be a combination of raw and cooked.  Eating all raw kale (in a daily smoothie, salads etc) can become problematic because of the goitrogen content of raw cruciferous vegetables.  Goitrogens can disrupt the production of thyroid hormones by interfering with iodine uptake in the thyroid gland. To avoid this problem, lightly steaming these vegetables is recommended.  For individuals with thyroid problems, most of your kale intake should be cooked.  People with healthy thyroid function should still ensure that they don’t overdo it on raw cruciferous vegetables.  Like most things, too much of a good thing isn’t usually a good idea.

IMG_6973The girls planted the kale, our whole garden actually, from tiny seeds.  We started in March and moved the baby seedlings into our little hoop house covered raised beds when there was still frost warnings.  The kale has been the star of the show this year, and I feel very responsible to use it all.  I don’t want to see any go to waste, so we have seen kale in many forms, but this salad is our favorite.

This is a hearty salad, great as a side and fantastic as leftovers.  We have had this salad so many times, I can make it from memory.  The recipe originally came from Epicurious, one of my favorite sites for inspiration.  I have slightly altered it, but it is just about the same as the original recipe.

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot or red onion
  • 1 small garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch of curly kale (about 1 pound total), center stem discarded, leaves thinly sliced
  • 16 ounces brussels sprouts, trimmed, finely grated or shredded with a knife
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan (nutritional yeast is a good substitution for a vegan salad)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • 1/3 cup almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp organic butter (use avocado or grapeseed oil for a vegan salad)

PREPARATION

Combine lemon juice, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup olive oil, and a pinch of pepper in a small mason jar. Stir to blend; set aside to let flavors meld. I find it best to let this sit overnight, but not necessary.

Mix thinly sliced kale and shredded brussels sprouts in a large bowl.

Add 1 tbsp butter to a small skillet; heat oil over medium-high heat. Add almonds to skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer nuts to a paper towel lined plate. Sprinkle almonds lightly with salt.

DO AHEAD: Dressing, kale mixture, and toasted almonds can be prepared ahead. Cover dressing and kale mixture separately and chill. Cover almonds and let stand at room temperature.

I hope you enjoy this awesome salad as much as we do!