If you are ladling bowls of chili or stew or serving lots of slow-cooker entrees at this time of year, you may want to balance out that hearty fare with an easy, tangy salad. Take the edge off your hunger by starting your meal with salad and ensure you include vitamin-rich vegetables in your meal.
The wintertime Saratoga Farmers’ Market is full of good salad greens, including kale, spinach, arugula and others. The key to maintaining the heart-healthy qualities of these items in a salad is not to cover them with fat and sodium-heavy salad dressings.
With the stronger flavor of kale, a robust dressing is a good choice. This week’s recipe with a Maple Mustard Vinaigrette is flavorful—yet fat free! It works well on any greens or on a slaw mixture of carrots, cabbage, and kohlrabi, which are all available at the winter market.
Kale, other vegetables, and apples are available from several produce vendors at the market. Sheldon Farms carries maple syrup. In addition to produce, Malta Ridge Orchard & Gardens sells cider vinegar and locally grown lemons.
Kale Salad with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
*Available at the market
6 cups loosely packed, thinly sliced kale*
Optional garnishes of sliced apple* or winter radishes*; shredded carrots* or purple cabbage*; unsalted sliced almonds or sunflower seeds
Maple Mustard Vinaigrette
1 Tbsp maple syrup*
2 Tbsp stone ground (coarse grain) mustard
1 tsp zest of a lemon*
Juice of half a lemon* (about 1 Tbsp)
1 Tbsp cider vinegar*
1 clove crushed garlic*
Using a mixed bunch of kale, roughly 15 leaves (stems removed) equals 6 cups of sliced kale. To prepare the kale for salad, first remove and discard the stems from the washed leaves.
You can make the leaves more tender by stacking them, rolling them up tightly, and then moving a rolling pin firmly up and down the bundle several times. Then, hold the rolled up kale leaves in one hand, and slice crosswise very thinly (chiffonade) with a large, sharp knife.
For vinaigrette, place all ingredients in a small jar and shake to blend. This makes almost half a cup of dressing, enough for 6 cups of kale leaves.
Add vinaigrette to kale leaves and toss. Let salad rest as you prepare the remainder of your meal, and garnish with optional ingredients just before serving.