For those of us living in Nashville, the kale salad at Tavern has become an infamous favorite. Kale is not something I typically enjoy eating, but have wanted to learn to like it since it is the most nutrient dense food one can consume. Enjoying this salad however, is effortless. It is easy to make, super duper healthy, and cost effective – which is awesome because I’m a beauty queen on a budget. Speaking of – you can use the different parts of the kale required for this salad for 3 different recipes. Who says eating organic and healthy has to drain your bank account?
The ingredients you’ll need are:
- organic kale (I use two bunches typically)
- 1 organic lemon
- Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
- dates (Tavern uses currants in their recipe, I just couldn’t find any)
- Parmesan cheese
- high quality olive oil – not to brag, but mine is one I brought home from the Greek islands (note: blatant brag)
First, strip the leaves off of the stems. The stems have tons of nutrients, so set them aside for juicing, but they also have the texture of tree branches so you won’t want to eat them – gross. *Note: my favorite kitchen utensil is this pink ceramic knife – a good knife can make all the difference in how easy it is to prepare your meals. You may notice the chip in mine – take it from me and don’t try to crack open a young coconut with one… #idiot
Next, chop the kale into tiny, and I do mean tiny pieces. Almost minced – think the size of tabouli. I think the super choppedness (yes, I just made that word up) is one reason I like this salad so much, the texture of kale leaves can be kind of tough and the size in which you’ll be chopping the leaves makes the salad easier to eat and I actually think it changes the flavor of the kale (in a good way).
Add the kale to a bowl and squeeze the entire lemon over the leaves. Chop up about 8 dates and add that in addition to a reasonable amount of Parmesan. Drizzle a moderate amount of olive oil over the top and add sea salt to taste.
Mix all ingredients and enjoy, adding more lemon, olive oil, or salt if needed. It doesn’t look like much, but it is truly delish.
Now, on to utilizing those kale stems! If you own a juicer, you’re in luck. If not, you should seriously consider investing in one. I use the Hamilton Beach Wide Mouth Pro, which is about $60 and was rated #2 in Consumer Reports. You can use the stems immediately or store them in the fridge for several days. My favorite juice recipe involving kale is simply:
- green apples and sometimes I add
This recipe is packed with nutrients and is super cleansing and detoxifying, especially to the liver, which is the organ that metabolizes fats, detoxifies your blood, etc. aka take care of that thing people!
After juicing – save the pulp and use it to make these delicious vegan and gluten free muffins: *note: I do NOT under any circumstances use agave – I substitute several packets of stevia and I like using a combination of almond meal, ground flax seeds, and unsweetened coconut for the flour allotment. Also note that if you use the kale juice pulp that your muffins will be green… get over it, they still taste good and have tons of fiber and other healthy stuff!
I brought all 3 of these treats with me on set today at CMT for the taping of “My Big Redneck Vacation Aftershow” and Tom Arnold and the entire cast were extremely grossed out. One thing I’ve noticed since I’ve started eating so many green food items is that most people will be disgusted when they see you eating/drinking something green and ask “what IS that?” I did convince a couple of cast members to taste the juice and the salad, and the salad especially got great reviews. Ain’t nobody that doesn’t like this salad, I’m TELLIN’ ya! (That’s my inner redneck coming out) Here’s a photo of us all on set today!
Hope everyone enjoys these healthy – but still tasty kale recipes! Let me know how yours turn out!