This was my first true kale salad triumph in the makeshift kitchen of our temporary housing when we first moved to Miami (4-1/4 years ago!). In the past years kale has swept the nation’s restaurants and food magazines (yes we realize it was around way before this). I was a devout fan but I had not yet taken the leap into the sheer awesomeness that can arise from this hearty nutritious green and some fun additions. I have since created several kale recipes but this one remains close to my heart. It is tangy and crunchy with earthy undertones from the toasted almonds and a nice but not too strong lemony zip from the zest. This has by far grown into one of my most requested recipes, versatile and only gets better as it sits!

Kale Salad with Lemon and Toasted Almonds

2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon (3-4 Tablespoons juice) or red wine vinegar

1 large bunch of any kind of kale, washed*
1/4 small red onion, very thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, or more if desired
1 whole medium ripe avocado, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted or raw**

Serves about 4

Using a fork; mix ingredients for the dressing in the bottom of a large salad bowl until well combined.

Remove the dark green leafy parts from the kale leaves and set aside. Gather the stems into a pile with one hand and- thinly slice the stems into 1/8 inch rounds and add to the bowl.

Cut the leafy parts into strips to about 1 inch. If the leaves are very large and wide then cut them in half the long way and then proceed, adding the leaves to the bowl as you go.

Add the onion, and salt and pepper to the bowl and toss well with clean hands, massaging the dressing into the kale by “crushing” the kale firmly until the dressing is well incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the cheese, avocado and the almonds and toss again. Adjust seasoning and lemon if needed.

Tips & Notes~

*To save time: use any type of bagged greens but mix gently the dressing instead of crushing with your hands.

**To toast the almonds; spread on a baking sheet and place in a 325 degree oven for 10-12 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown, stirring once. I like to use my toaster oven. These will store in a jar at room temp for up to a month or in the fridge for 2 months.

Great Additions~

Currants, raisins, sun dried tomatoes, olives
Fresh apple or pear, thinly sliced
Garbanzo beans, lentils or cherry tomatoes
Substitute any nut for the almonds but toasted is a MUST
Substitute goat cheese, manchego or feta for the parmesan

The original execution do not include tomatoes but alas I am a pretty firm believer that tomatoes should only be eaten if the are straight out of the garden, anything less is uncivilized! I have also added local radish, chickpeas and some cooked quinoa for a full and nourishing meal!