Sunday family dinner can be inspiring as a successful result of pantry diving. Lately I am not motivated to tackle any complicated cooking projects even for the weekends. When Sunday 5pm rolls around, I panic a little trying to figure out what to serve. Luckily I found a new staple that bailed me out of trouble the last few weeks: prewashed chopped rainbow kale! The clamshell box looks similar to most salad greens but it offers so much more. You don’t need me to extol the nutritious virtue of kale. What I can tell you is its versatility.
Eaten straight out of the box, I can’t say I’m a fan. The pieces are too large, too unwieldy for a fork. Mature kale doesn’t have the tenderness of most salad greens I’m used to. Munching on them makes me feel like a grazing cow. The magic happens once I shred them into tiny pieces with my trusty food processor. The shredded dark green leaves hold up well in the fridge even after tossed with salad dressing. In fact, they wilt just enough to be flavourful and easier on the teeth. Similar to cooked grains, they add so much bulk to whatever salad I make too. But unlike grains, shredded kale contribute mega vitamins without mega calories. There is so much to love.
Below is a recipe I served two weekends in a row. Kale Salmon Farro Salad is a main course salad packed with starch, protein, and vegetable. I love the nuttiness of farro but you can easily substitute with any cooked grains such as wheat berries, rye berries, quinoa, frekkeh, or rice. There is plenty of shredded kale, of course. I added the savoury sweet combination of hot smoked salmon, dried apricots, toasted almond, and crumbled blue cheese so the salad is not shy of flavour. For those who are not big fan of blue cheese, goat cheese would be a good option too. There is plenty of vibrant taste and serious dose of nutrients in this salad.
Last night I came home from the gym, exhausted. I debated about dinner before spotting a box of kale in the produce drawer. I decided to whip up a vegan gluten-free salad with a slight exotic twist. From the pantry, I gathered cans of artichoke hearts, chickpeas, and green olives. I complemented them with chopped chives and a red wine vinaigrette made with red onion, preserved lemon, cumin, smoked paprika, and ras el hanout. Within 30 minutes, I sat down to a bowl of Kale Chickpea Artichoke Salad bursting with flavour. Dinner for tomorrow night is also conveniently taken care of!
I hope my supermarket would keep the boxed kale in stock more often. Otherwise I will have to squirrel away a few boxes at a time for dinner standby. Will you include this on your regular shopping list too?
Kale Salmon Farro Saladmakes 8 cups
- 185g / 1 cup farro, picked over and rinsed
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 142g / 5oz chopped and washed kale
- 150 g whole almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
- 150g dried apricot , diced
- 170g / 6oz canned smoked salmon
- freshly ground black pepper
- 85g blue cheese, crumbled
- Place farro and 1 teaspoon of salt in a small sauce pan, cover with enough water to have farro sit an inch below surface. Bring to boil and turn heat down to simmer. Cook until tender, about 20-25 minutes.
- In the mean time, put chopped shallot, white wine vinegar, honey, and 1/2 teaspoons of salt in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Let the shallot soften and lightly pickle.
- You can chop the kale to fine pieces by hand. Or you can enlist your food processor to do it in 5 seconds using the pulse button until they are about the size of peas. Put the finely chopped kale into a large mixing bowl.
- Drain the oil and liquid of canned smoked salmon into bowl container shallots. Separate salmon into small pieces in the large mixing bowl containing kale. Add in chopped toasted almonds and diced apricots.
- Once the farro is cooked, drain with a fine mesh sieve. Add to mixing bowl. Give the shallot dressing a quick stir and toss salad to evenly coat. Season with black pepper and gently fold in blue cheese. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve immediately while still warm or chill in fridge for up to 2 days.