It wasn’t until I started using kale in salads that I realized that leafy things could really make a satisfying lunch. In general, I have to admit to not being in love with raw vegetables. Sure, I’ll snack on some carrots in order to feel healthy and I’ll choke down a restaurant salad if I’ve been overindulging, but the raw things just don’t really tempt me a whole lot. But there are a few exceptions.
I ate this almost every day last week and was actually disappointed when I ran out of my ingredients. The combination of kale, marinated tofu, crunchy spring vegetables, and mildly spicy (is that an oxymoron?) dressing made this salad one I could look forward to. It came together in very little time, making it perfect for a busy first week of the summer school term. And unlike salads with more delicate leafy greens, I could make this in the morning and it wouldn’t be soggy at lunch. Excellent.
Let’s talk just a minute about kale. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse that belongs to the cruciferous family. It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, A, and C (obligatory nurse-y note: too much Vitamin K can actually be harmful if you’re on an anticoagulant drug like Warfarin…talk to your prescriber before drastically changing you intake of leafy greens) as well as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s been shown to have anti-cancer properties and it can assist in lowering cholesterol. In other words, you should eat it.
Asian Kale Salad with Tofu
adapted from Vegetarian Times Magazine
– 1 tsp grape seed oil (olive oil would work, too)
– 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
– 2 tsp rice vinegar
– 1 tsp honey
– 1 tsp soy sauce
– 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce (I used this kind)
– 3-4 leaves of green kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
– 1/2 cup shredded carrots
– a small handful fresh shelled peas
– 1/4 cucumber, diced
– 3 oz. Thai-flavored baked tofu, sliced (Wildwood brand is fantastic)
Make the dressing. Combine sesame oil, vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle with grape seed oil. Using your hands, “massage” the kale for about a minute until it is softened. Toss with dressing, carrots, peas, and cucumber.
Plate the salad and top with tofu.