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Recipe: Kale salad with cranberries and walnuts

October 14, 2009
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  (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

Kale salad with cranberries and walnuts

Total time: About 30 minutes

Servings: Serves 4 to 6

Note: Adapted from "Love Soup" by Anna Thomas. Dinosaur kale is also known as black, Tuscan or lacinato kale.

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 pound (1 large bunch) dinosaur kale or any young kale

3 ounces (about 4 cups) arugula or baby mizuna

1/3 cup Kalamata or other cured olives

1/2 cup chopped walnuts, or pine nuts

1 small sweet red bell pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon walnut oil

2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/4 pound blue cheese, feta cheese or sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled, to garnish (optional)

1. Pour about one-half cup boiling water over the cranberries and leave them to soften until you are ready to toss the salad, at least 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, wash and dry the kale, slice away the stems and discard them. Stack the greens and roll them into tight bundles, then slice very thinly with a sharp knife; you're aiming for a shredded look. You should have about 6 cups of shredded kale, which will shrink quite a bit the moment it is tossed with the oil and vinegar. Place the kale in a large bowl.

3. Wash and dry the arugula, cut off any tough-looking stems and cut it in short pieces. Toss the arugula with the kale.

4. Slice the olives off their stones and cut them in slivers. If using pine nuts, toast them lightly in a dry pan over low heat, stirring until they begin to turn golden and release their toasted fragrance. Core and seed the red pepper, quarter it lengthwise, and cut it in matchsticks. Toss the olives, nuts and pepper with the kale.

5. Drain the cranberries, then toss with the kale. Toss in the olive and walnut oils, the vinegar and sea salt. Taste the salad and correct the seasoning with a touch more salt or a drop of vinegar if it's needed; how much salt you need will depend on how salty the olives are. Just before serving, add the crumbled cheese if you like. This makes about 12 cups salad.

6. This salad keeps well for a day or so, though it will become softer as it sits. Because it is sturdy, it can travel to a picnic or a potluck.

Each of 6 servings: 258 calories; 3 grams protein; 39 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 26 grams sugar; 262 mg. sodium.

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