Glorious Green Salad with Crazy Crucifers and Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Too much alliteration for you? Sorry, but I really do feel that away about this salad, which, by design, only included green vegetables and featured two of my favorite crucifers, kale and cauliflower/broccoli. I forgot to post this a few weeks ago with my other Asian-inspired dishes like vegetable lo mein, Szechuan stir fry with cashews, and Asian noodles with peanuts. This salad would go beautifully with any of those dishes, or whenever you wanted to bring a little Asian flair to your meal.

Now, if you’re a newer reader to my blog, you might have missed some of my earlier kale tales. The first is the story of how I first discovered kale and used it in a salad including roasted Brussels sprouts and almonds. This headless crucifer rode again when included in a salad with beets and smoked salmon. Most recently, kale featured prominently in a big Christmas kale salad with pears and pomegranate seeds, pretty as a wreath. Yes, indeed, kale of all kinds has changed my salad life and is now one of my regular go-to salad greens. If you haven’t yet experienced the joys of raw kale, it’s time to start. Trust me on this.

But what’s cauliflower/broccoli, you ask? A hybrid of the two vegetables, “Romanescu” broccoli, aka Roman cauliflower (more here), is a wonderful treat that I’ve only ever seen at my local farmers’ markets in the autumn. Regular cauliflower and/or broccoli would work just as nicely on this salad, or there’s always Brussels sprouts, which I also adore.

Anyway, you could only imagine my delight when I stumbled across tender baby kale at the market. Deep green and less bitter than its “adult” counterparts, I decided to use it in an Asian-inspired salad with a sesame-ginger dressing. A healthier play on a version I eat at our regular sushi joint, this salad brought the wonderful flavors of tender kale, creamy avocado, zingy ginger dressing, and crunchy cauliflower together in a combination I hadn’t tried before. I didn’t actually make the dressing pictured as part of my inspiration came from having leftover dressing from take-out. (Yes, I order take out sometimes. Come on.) While the dressing pictured is quite tasty—and I didn’t want to waste food—I would usually make my own, which would no doubt use far less sodium. Remember, salad dressing is good for you and easy to make at home. (Here’s a cooking video example and more nutrition info.) A garnish of scallions added a final flourish to the dish.

Really fantastic flavors happening here, and you could just as easily substitute another salad green if you’re not into kale.

The only thing left to say is that I can’t wait until the next time I make it.

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Dr. P.K. Newby is a nutrition scientist, speaker, and author with expertise in all things food, farm to fork, whether preventing obesity and other chronic diseases through diet or teaching planet-conscious eating. As a health expert and food personality, she brings together her passions for food, cooking, science, and sustainability to educate and inspire, helping people eat their way towards better health, one delectable bite at a time. Healthy Hedonism (TM) is her philosophy: Because healthy food shouldn’t suck.

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