By Aimee Tritt, Dietetic Intern, University of Minnesota & The Emily Program
October is the time of year when gardeners race against Mother Nature to use up or preserve the rest of the year’s harvest. I’ve grown Lacinato kale for the past two years, and look forward to the added sweetness the greens take on after being exposed to colder overnight temperatures. Though the greens usually withstand the weather until sometime in November, I love kale so much I usually find myself cutting the last of it far before then.
Lacinato kale is also called Tuscan Kale or dino kale, due to its popularity in Italian cuisine and its appearance—apparently its pebbly leaves remind folks of dinosaur skin. All kale is high in beta carotene, vitamin K, vitamin C, and calcium. It also contains sulforaphane, which has anti-cancer properties. Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, which means that they help prevent atherosclerosis and regulate the digestive system. And almonds are a great source of magnesium and potassium, as well as high in monounsaturated fat, which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
It’s a great way to use up a large quantity of kale in an interesting way, and would perfectly pair with a hearty fall soup or stew and some fresh bread.
Kale Salad with Apples and Almonds
- 1 lb. Lacinato kale
- 1 large, sweet apple
- ½ cup whole, raw almonds
- 1 small wedge hard cheese, such as parmesan, Gruyere, or Manchego
- 1 tbsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Wash the kale and remove the stems/ribs. Coarsely chop the kale and place it in a large salad bowl.
- Salt and pepper the kale as if it were a green salad. With clean hands, massage the salt and pepper into the kale leaves to soften and break down the tough fibers, for about 3 minutes. Set the bowl aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Place the almonds in a small skillet over medium heat. Toast them until they take on some color and smell delicious. This should take about 5 minutes.
- While you’re toasting the almonds, make the dressing. In a small jar, combine the mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, and oil. Shake the jar until the ingredients are well combined. Taste the dressing and adjust the ingredients to your liking.
- Set the almonds aside to cool. Core and thinly slice the apple, and add it to the bowl with the kale. Roughly chop the almonds and add them to the bowl, too.
- Toss the salad with the dressing and divide it into four bowls, making sure to evenly distribute the apples and almonds.
- With a vegetable peeler, top each salad portion with thin slices of cheese. Enjoy!