Salads don’t get much healthier or tastier than this beautiful vibrant Kale Apple Chicken Salad!
If you haven’t yet jumped on the kale bandwagon, you definitely have to remedy that.
Kale is indeed a veritable nutritional powerhouse:
- Kale is high in fiber, calcium, iron and vitamins A, C and K;
- Kale is filled with powerful antioxidants such as carotenoids and flavonoids, which help protect against various cancers;
- Kale is a great anti-inflammatory food and offers tremendous cardiovascular support: eating more kale can actually help lower your cholesterol levels;
- Last but not least, kale is known for being a totally amazing detoxifying food.
To top it off, kale also happens to be extremely sturdy, in that it will stay fresh for days in the fridge; much, MUCH longer than any salad greens or even spinach leaves. The thing is kale has a definite advantage over all other leafy greens, for it is actually a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, just like cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
That sturdiness can make it kind of tough and somewhat unpleasant to eat in its raw state… but there’s a very simple secret that renders it extra supple and deliciously tasty!
What is that simple secret, you ask? Simply massage the heck out of those kale leaves!
If you were to simply toss kale leaves just like you would a normal salad, you’d basically end up with a puddle of vinaigrette at the bottom of the bowl and a whole bunch of tough, slightly bitter leaves to put in your mouth…
But, take a few minutes to rub and massage the leaves with the vinaigrette and you’ve got yourself a completely different plate in front of you!
This very simple trick will not only help your kale relax and become much more pliable and palatable by breaking down the toughness and releasing some sweetness in the leaves, but rubbing/forcing the dressing right into the raw leaves insures that the whole salad will be perfectly seasoned.
Plus, you will not believe the color that it brings out! Much like slapping your face gently to intensify the rosy tint of your cheeks, massaging the kale draws out this unbelievably intense and vibrant jewel-like emerald color in those leaves.
So the first thing you want to with your kale is cut off and discard the stems.
Then, tear or chop the leaves, making sure to remove the thicker, tougher parts of the rib and place them into a large mixing bowl.
Then, in a small bowl or measuring cup, vigorously whisk all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and then pour it over the chopped kale.
Now vigorously massage the kale leaves and vinaigrette for 3 to 5 minutes. Yes, that long. And make sure to squeeze those kale leaves really firmly between your fingers, too.
You want to earnestly bruise them! Don’t worry about hurting their feelings, their tough little things!
And seriously, can you see the difference in color? Ha! This is so pretty, it should become an official color, me thinks: Massaged Kale Green!
These leaves have such a pretty shade of green, you almost want to wear them for Christmas. Must be ‘cuz I used to have the most amazing Holiday dress, and it was exactly that color. Or well, THOSE colors, rather. I wish I could find a picture to show you. I swear, it was exactly the same.
But once again, I digress…
Now that your kale leaves have been properly stroked and rubbed, add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl and toss well.
Although this salad is ready to eat and will be totally delicious if you were to serve it now, it would greatly benefit from spending about an hour in the fridge, to allow flavors to meld.
In fact, this salad is so sturdy that leftovers will keep well for up to a couple of days in the refrigerator!
The cashews might get a little soft and creamy, but will remain totally palatable; no worse than if they’d been soaking for a while in say… leftover Kung Pao Pork!
As for the apple, as long as you use a variety of apple that will not oxidize when exposed to air, you’ll be perfectly fine!
Does this take care of lunch for this week? I think it does!
- 4 cups packed (160g | 5.6oz) chopped kale (rib removed)
- 2 cups (250g | 8.8oz) leftover cooked chicken, cut into bite size chunks
- 1 cup (150g | 5.3oz) leftover cooked quinoa
- ½ cup (65g | 2.3oz) dried cranberries
- ½ cup (60g | 2.1oz) dry roasted cashews
- 1 gala apple, diced*
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, vigorously whisk all the ingredients for the vinaigrette and then pour it over the chopped kale. Massage the kale with that vinaigrette for 3 to 5 minutes, making sure to squeeze those kale leaves really firmly between your fingers.
- Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl and toss well.
- If time permits, refrigerate the salad for about an hour to allow flavors to meld before serving.
- Leftovers will keep well for up to a couple of days in the refrigerator.