Curly Kale and Orange Salad
In the summer my salads are piled high with tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers on a base of fresh romaine or spinach. They are most likely tossed with a light vinaigrette or some fresh berries. Flip the year around to winter and my salads take on a different look with root vegetables, sturdy greens and citrus. I like following the seasons and eating produce that is fresh and has the most flavor. And because I like to look out for my pal, Earth. Earth likes it when I eat as fresh and close to home as possible. It helps us stay friends.
I know that fruit in salad is not for everyone. But if you are a fruit-in-salad kind of salad lover who has never put citrus on your salad, you must give it a try. Especially in the colder months when the salad base is made of tougher greens such as kale, chard or collard greens. Which brings me to my next point, if you are crunching away on that boring head of lettuce year round, you should branch out and try some other greens.
Before you start eyeing that avocado and get ahead of me about my point of eating foods in season so that Earth and I stay friends. I one up you, did you know there are over 20 types of avocados? Me neither. I googled it and entered a black hole of learning about types of avocados. If you have ten minutes to waste I suggest you give it a search. Most of us have access to Hass avocados which are ripe from around April to October. Which means they are not in my Chicago winter schedule (well depends on who you ask because it sure feels like winter drags on until June). Earth gave me a pass on this one though because that avocado does taste delicious with kale. The creamy avocado to the kale’s dense texture is tasty.
All of the flavors combined together is what makes this salad so good. The sweet, tangy citrus, the creamy avocado, the punch of onion and the crunchy, salty hazelnuts. Drizzled with a pungent lemony-tahini sauce this salad is one of my favorites.
Curly Kale and Orange Salad Recipe
Makes 1 salad.
- 2 cups curly kale, stems removed, chopped
- 1 orange, peeled and sliced
- 2 chicken tenders
- 1/4 cup red onion, sliced
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
- 1/4 cup whole hazelnuts
- 2 Tbsp tahini paste
- 1 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp water (plus more under desired consistency)
- 1 and 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Pinch of black pepper
- Remove the stems from the kale and chop leaves into 2 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl and sprinkle generously with salt and toss. Set the kale aside to rest; the salt will tenderizes the kale.
- Spray 2 chicken tenders with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Cook the chicken on a grill pan or in a skillet until thoroughly cooked. Slice into bite-size pieces.
- Whisk together 2 Tbsp tahini paste, 1 Tbsp white vinegar, 1 Tbsp water (plus more until the desired consistency), 1 and 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1/8 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp sugar, 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of black pepper.
- Use a knife to cut the peel from 1 orange. Slice the orange.
- Peel and slice the red onion into thin slices, about a 1/4 cup. Place the onion in a bowl and cover with water. Soak the onion for about 5 minutes and drain off the water. (The water removes the pungency from the onion.)
- Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup of whole hazelnuts and toast for 5 minutes, stirring often. Place the toasted hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until the nuts are finely chopped, but not powdery.
- Cut 1 avocado in half and slice thinly.
- Combine the kale, orange , avocado, red onion, hazelnuts and diced chicken. Drizzle with the tahini dressing.