At the time you are reading this I will hopefully be about 40 miles across the Spanish border making my way toward Pamplona.
At this very moment I am actually lying in my bed, with Penelope pawing at the computer, surrounded by all kinds of foreign hiking gear that I pray will make sense to me in a few days. It is the night before I leave on another adventure, this time to walk the Camino de Santiago with my sisters, more accurately to walk the first 1/3 of the Camino only around 150 miles. I promised myself I wouldn't take my computer on this trip, I need to keep my backpack as light as possible, so I am scheduling a few posts with new recipes for you to play with while I'm away.
It didn't take me long to decide on what recipe to post first, because it's typically around day 5 or 6 of a trip that I start to crave a kale salad. It's not important to me to recreate exactly what I eat at home when I'm traveling. I drink enough green juice and make enough green smoothies when I'm hanging out in NYC, when I'm traveling the world I want to experience something new. The same goes for a kale salad, it is a staple in my “at home” food life, but not necessarily something I am looking to recreate exactly while I'm traveling. I eat chicory when in Italy and dandelion greens in Greece, last year in Spain I fell a little in love with the bright red radicchio from the markets. I find my greens, pretty much all over the world, but I still love having a kale salad when I get home.
So can we talk about the right way to make a kale salad? Because let me tell you, whenever I see a kale salad on a menu, although tempted, I know it is made the wrong way. Every damn time. It is one of my biggest pet peeves. So much so that I never order one out anymore, I've just given up hope that someone will make it properly.
Here is the deal; kale is a tough leafy green. It is not delicate and tender like say, mache or baby spinach. It requires some extra love to help break down those leaves. Skip the extra love step and you may get a bellyache, and you will most certainly have to chew much much more, and you will also have to smile and pretend “I LOVE kale” when in reality the kale salad sucks because it's too damn tough and bitter. This is coming from a girl that has practically built her career on her love of kale!
Please, please, please before you serve a kale salad massage the leaves with some salt or olive oil, or, like I did in this recipe, a little bit of olive oil and lemon juice. Use your hands (the more you touch your food the healthier it is for you, this isn't so much a fact as it is an Abra-ism) and really get in there. Rub those leaves down. Put on some Adele, shake your hips, and massage your damn kale!
Phew. Ok, glad we got that out of the way.
Let's get to this particularly perfect kale salad, shall we?
I love a caesar salad dressing, I love a kale salad, I love avocado, and I love roasted tomato. So I ask you, why can't all of these things live harmoniously together? Well they can! They can!
When photographing this recipe snarky Jordan said, “Those tomatoes have no business near that caesar salad.”
Oh yeah bossy snark? Taste it.
He zipped right up. All of these ingredients live beautifully together. The sweet pop of the warm roasted tomato with the tender kale, the “cheesy” dressing (that has no actual cheese in it because I am currently crushing hard on vegan caesar dressing).
I honestly cannot think of one reason why you shouldn't make this.
If you are gluten free, go ahead and make the croutons with gluten free bread. I've made that switch many times and it works well.
The dressing makes about 1 1/4 cups so you will have caesar dressing for days!! Isn't that the best part? I pour this over everything. I would pour this dressing over my entire life if I could.
If you make this recipe tag your creation with #abraskitchen, I can't wait to see it!
Vegan Kale Caesar Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Avocado
- 1 head of kale leaves stripped from stem and ripped into bite size pieces
- 1 pint grape tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 avocado sliced
- salt and pepper
- 1 thick cut slice of whole grain bread or gluten free bread if you are gluten free
- drizzle of olive oil and drizzle of lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender, blend until completely pureed. If dressing is too thick add a few tablespoons more of water and blend again. Set aside
- Place tomatoes in a small oven safe casserole. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in a 350 oven for 20 minutes until blistered and slightly brown. Set aside
- Slice bread into large crouton squares. Spread out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast in oven with tomatoes for 5-7 minutes or until brown. Set aside
- Drizzle kale with olive oil and a splash of fresh lemon juice, massage the leaves well. Allow to rest for 3-4 minutes.
- Toss kale with tomatoes and 1/4 cup of dressing. Toss well until all leaves are coated with dressing. Sprinkle salad with croutons and sliced avocado.
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