Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How I beat kale

Once upon a time, we were part of a CSA. Week after week, we would get a glut of strange greens (like kale or chard) and week after week, it would end up feeding the earthworms in our compost. The worms were thrilled; I was not.

I looked for recipes in my usual places, but I wasn't a very accomplished cook at that point, and my shelf of cookbooks was anemic, at best. The internet yielded a number of unsuccessful attempts, and really, how nutritious are kale chips, really? (Compared to ice cream, probably very nutritious. But still.)

What we ended up with was - what I estimate - was about $200 in wasted kale.

... and then came Pinterest.

Recipes! Parenting ideas! Arts and crafts! Is there anything this miraculous site *doesn't* have? (Answer: no.)

While on one of my initial pinning binges, I tripped across this recipe for Kale salad. Ever the optimist, I added the ingredients to my shopping list, and enthusiastically told SuperAndrew about this miraculous kale salad that I just *knew* we were going to love, and we would finally *get* why everyone but us thought kale was so great.

SuperAndrew didn't share my enthusiasm.

"So this is Sunk Cost Kale salad?" he asked me, SMIRKILY. (I know "smirkily" isn't a word. IT SHOULD BE.)

"Yes. And it is going to make all that wasted kale WORTH IT."

It was. We've had it (about) once a week for the last couple of years, and I have a few regulars over for dinner who specifically request it. And my variations on the recipe. Which I will now share with you.


"Sunk Cost" Kale Salad, from originally from Melomeals, with my adaptations.

Mix in a REALLY big bowl (I use a 9 qt. stainless steel mixing bowl):

    •    4 cups kale (baby kale is my preference, but you use the stems, the leaves, all of it)
    •    1/2 a green cabbage
    •    2 cups shredded carrots
    •    1/2 a red onion, diced
    •    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    •   a generous splash of lemon juice
    •   a generous splash of olive oil

Massage together for 5 minutes or until the veggies start to break down. (Set a timer, five minutes feels much longer than it should. If you don't do the full five minutes and/or skimp on the lemon juice and olive oil, the kale will not chemically cook, and it will taste weird.)

Post massage,  I add *another* good splash of olive oil and lemon juice at this stage. Then, add:
    •    1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
    •    3/4 cup sunflower seeds
    •    1/4 cup nutritional yeast
    •    3/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds

Salt to taste.

    •    Make sure your hands are VERY clean before making this salad. I also wear vinyl gloves for the “massage” portion of the salad.
    •    This will keep (as long as you NEVER double dip or use the same tasting spoon) for up to 4 days in the fridge. KidBrother Sam thinks it improves by sitting overnight in the fridge, SuperAndrew prefers it fresh.

Bon ap├ętit!


  1. Wow - look delicious! I'm a fairly new kale convert myself so a new recipe (other than my kale/quinoa/avocado/feta salad) would be refreshing. Not sure about nutritional yeast.... what is it and does it taste any better than I think it will? (I think it won't taste good at all!)

  2. Lizy- it's got a lovely, savory taste. I was suspicious, too.

  3. That looks delish! Is it the citrus that chemically cooks the kale? Like a Ceviche?

  4. Um, this sounds amazing! I'm going to have to pin it and then give it a try, as we are also recipients of generous amounts of kale from our CSA. Thanks for the recipe! :-)

  5. Elaine T here, Late to the party, I know...like almost a year. I frankly grew up on kale, (as a good Scottish heritage gal would), and I make my kale salad similarly to yours, though I haven't added the yeast previously. I sometimes use a nice quality balsamic vinegar, instead of the citrus, and have you ever thought of adding quartered fresh radishes? They crunch deliciously with the nuts. I've also added broccoli sprouts for bonus points.


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