Sunday, May 3, 2015

Kale Salad with Spiced, Roasted Chickpeas and Caesar Dressing

 Looking for a new, interesting salad for this summer? Are you always finding yourself disappointed by soggy lettuce and are afraid to bring a salad to a summer picnic? Well, fear no more...

I have been enjoying sauteed kale for the past year or so, usually with lemon and garlic. It was only recently that I discovered kale is much more sturdy, and much less disappointingly soggy, than lettuce, and that it can be tamed to taste like lettuce in a salad (not crunchy and chewy, like you'd think). The trick is to "marinate" the kale and be sure to cut it properly.

The chickpeas are almost like a crouton, but they are bread-free and a little something different.

Ingredients for Chickpeas:
- 1 can chickpeas, strained, husks removed (press on each one with your thumb), and patted dry
-1 tbsp. olive oil
-1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
-1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
-1/4 tsp. garlic powder
-1/4 tsp. onion powder
-1/4 tsp. ground coriander
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine chickpeas with all other ingredients. Removing the husks is optional, but it will result in a crispier final product.

Place on a baking sheet covered with foil or parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes, until browned, toasty, and crispy, shaking the pan every once in a while. While those are cooking away...

Ingredients for Caesar dressing:
-1/2 cup mayonnaise
-2 tbsp. olive oil
-1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 garlic clove, grated
-1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
-1/2 tsp. white vinegar
-1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp. chipotle chili powder
-ground black pepper

Combine ingredients. Add salt to taste. Let sit for about 30 minutes at room temperature to allow the garlic to infuse. And lastly,

Ingredients for salad:
-1 large bowl of kale leaves, thick stems removed, chopped into bite-sized pieces (do not neglect this part)
-1 lemon
-olive oil
-1 medium carrot, shaved into thin strips

Once you have your bowl of kale lettuce all prepped--NO STEMS ALLOWED!--drizzle over the juice of half of the lemon, a couple of teaspoons' worth of olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt. Toss until well coated and set aside until your chickpeas are cooled completely and you are ready to serve (kale will last overnight in the fridge like this, too (unlike lettuce or spinach!). The lemon breaks down some of the fibrous quality of the kale, and makes it super tender). 

When ready to serve, shave over the carrot. Toss in the amount of dressing you like, and serve with grated Parmesan and the chickpeas on top.

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