This salad was inspired by my friend Lahle who is in need of getting some extra iron into her diet. Personally, I never want to feel that I have to eat something just “because it’s good for me.” If I’m going to bother to make any dish, the standard must be that I can’t wait to take the first bite. This means add sweet and rich ingredients. Kale especially needs a sweet element to balance it's bitterness. The avocado makes this a rich and satisfying salad.
Kale and pumpkin seeds are great sources of iron. Since iron from plants is not as easily absorbed as it is from animal sources, vitamin C is helps the absorption. So I’ve added red cabbage and strawberries which also add some nice sweetness and color. The lemon-mint vinaigrette pulls it all together with a beautiful brightness.
Lemon Mint Vinaigrette
1 bunch of fresh mint leaves (about an ounce, exact amount not important) 1 garlic clove zest and juice of 1 lemon 2 tbsp white wine vinegar 1 tsp agave, honey or any other sweetener
1/4 tsp kosher salt a couple of pinches of black pepper 1 cup olive oil
1 bunch of Tuscan Kale (about 3 cups chopped) 1/2 cup sliced strawberries 1/2 cup chopped red cabbage
1 small-medium-sized avocado 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
Make the salad dressing
Remove the thicker stems from the mint.
Puree all of the ingredients together in the blender for 30 seconds. Yes, that's it. Keep refrigerated to maintain the beautiful bright green color.
I think this dressing is perfectly balanced. But everyone's taste buds are different. So taste. If it's bland add a pinch or two of salt and a teaspoon more of vinegar. If it's too sour add a tbsp more of oil and a teaspoon of sweetener. Not sour enough? Add more vinegar. Get the idea? Taste and adjust by adding a little at a time of balancing ingredients.
Assemble the salad
Rinse and chop the kale into small bite-sized pieces. Place in a mixing bowl with 3 tablespoons of the dressing and toss to coat the kale evenly. Let sit for 30 minutes. This will marinate, wilt and tenderize the kale, making it a more enjoyable salad.
Transfer to your serving bowl and top with the remaining ingredients.