July is an amazing time of year in Chicago. The parks are bursting with activity, the pools are packed with every kid in the neighborhood and it seems like everyone is outside, enjoying every ray of sunshine. It’s a magical time of year here, and I love it. That energy always inspires me in the kitchen. I’ve long forgotten about those hearty winter dishes because my “palette” has been replaced with fresh, beautiful, summer produce.
That brings me to this month’s Recipe Redux theme, which is simply, use the beautiful produce that surrounds you to create a delicious dish. Challenge accepted! Seeing as I love a good salad, I turned my sights to one of my favorite greens, kale. Not just any kale though, dark green, dinosaur or lacinato kale. I love this type of kale, not just because it’s nutritious (that dark green color means it’s laden with good-for-you antioxidants!), but because it’s a bit sweeter and a little more tender than it’s conventional counterpart. It also makes a lovely salad when sliced into fun, thin little ribbons.
Kale is a good start, but then, what should I top it with? Well, of course more gorgeous produce! How about a bell pepper and oh, what about a delicious, ripe, juicy peach? And for a little crunch (and to get some healthy fats in there), how about some walnuts? Then, to keep things simple, a vinaigrette made with only five ingredients, all of which are kitchen staples. Success! (I forgot to mention the goat cheese, a definite necessity, don’t leave it out!)
Enjoy this lacinato kale salad with peaches and maple vinaigrette as a meal by topping it with grilled chicken or tofu. Or scoop it into bowls and serve it on the side with any summer meal. It can make a great appetizer too, a perfect starter that’s refreshing and just happens to be nutritious too!
For the dressing
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the salad
- 1 bunch (about 12 ounces) lacinato kale, thoroughly washed
- 1 ripe peach, pitted and thinly sliced
- 3/4 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/2 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and shallot. Continue to whisk while streaming in the olive oil, mixing until combined.
- To make the salad: Remove the stems from the kale and reserve for another use (slice and use in a soup, for example). Thinly slice the kale leaves and place them in a large mixing bowl. Give the kale leaves a good massage with your hands to help soften them. Add half of the dressing and toss to coat. Let sit for about 10 minutes then add the peach slices, walnuts, shallot, pepper, goat cheese, along with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Add the remaining dressing and carefully toss everything together. Serve immediately.
- This recipe makes about 8 cups of salad.
- Serving Size: 6
- Calories: 195
- Sugar: 5
- Sodium: 78
- Fat: 15
- Saturated Fat: 3
- Unsaturated Fat: 12
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 13
- Protein: 6
- Cholesterol: 5