I love kale. Not only does it taste delicious if prepared just right, but it is loaded with health benefits. The prevalence of kale in grocery stores is evidence that folks have caught on to this yummy, nutrient-packed green.
The bagged or “bunch” kale is rough, stalky and best for “cooking down” with bacon fat or EVOO, broth, a sprinkling of red pepper flakes, and eaten as you would collards or turnip greens (with plenty of pepper sauce). This kale is wonderful with beans and cornbread. Even my kids love it.
A recent newcomer to the grocery produce scene is baby kale. Pre-washed, organic, and ready to make into a delicate lovely salad, this kale is convenient and delicious. It is often found in a large plastic container in the organic section of grocery stores. I have seen a huge bag at Costco (not to be confused with the kale salad that bas other ingredients added–similar to a bagged slaw). The baby kale looks like a small, tender leaves–similar to arugula.
The recipe below is outstanding, as the flavors of the dressing, bacon, parmesan, and tangy craisins blend together beautifully. The delicate crunch of the pine nuts, lightly toasted, takes this over the top.
Here’s the recipe. Let me hear back from you if you try it!
Baby Kale Salad With Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 pound baby kale (organic & pre washed)
- 1/2 cup craisins
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 4-5 slices Applewood smoked bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1/3 cup fresh parmesan (shaved or shredded
- homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette (recipe below)
Note: I always add small amounts of dressing at a time and toss, toss, toss–then add more as needed. Tossing is important, and if done vigorously, will decrease the perceived need for more dressing. A bowl of dressing can be put on the table for those who want more.
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- In mixing bowl measure honey, mustard, salt, pepper and crushed garlic.
- Add balsamic vinegar and whisk well (I use this OXO flat whisk and love it.) At less than $7.00, it is SO much better than a traditional whisk and is one of my favorite kitchen tools.
- Gradually add EVOO, whisking after each addition until fully emulsified.
- Store in a covered jar in the fridge. This keeps well for several weeks.
Note: If using a blender or food processor, mix mustard, honey, garlic, salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar first until garlic is well blended. Add oil in batches, pulsing to mix after each addition. Too much mixing will make the vinaigrette extremely thick and frothy. This is so easy to make with a whisk and a bowl that I never use a blender.
Suggested menu: I love serving this with Cajun tilapia, rice (made in my favorite rice cooker) roasted honey-maple berbere butternut squash, and Johnny’s great Caesar garlic bread. Here’s a photo of the plate the last time that I enjoyed this favorite meal.