By Dr. Julia Nordgren
I like to consider myself on top of culinary trends. But sometimes it takes a while for me to warm up something new. My relationship with kale is a perfect example. While kale has enjoyed a meteoric rise in popularity, I have been a bit slow to catch on. Believe me, I’ve tried! I have roasted many rounds of kale chips. I still burn them. I have sautéed kale with pine nuts, dried cranberries, yellow raisins, you name it – and it is still tough and bitter. I can’t say I blame my kids for keeping their distance!
But all of that changed when I was out with a dear friend from culinary school. We were dining in the beautiful Napa Valley she suggested we order their kale salad. In other situations, I would have protested. But I trust Maria implicitly. She knows a good dish when she sees one!
The salad was hearty and crisp, with a perfect balance of flavor and texture. I knew this was something I needed to recreate at home. I tried to be subtle and ask the waiter, “This dressing is so unique and delicious. Can you tell me what’s in it?” And after a few tries, the waiter gently but firmly reminded me they don’t give out their recipes. So I was left to take notes and embark on my own re-creation!
The key to the salad is chopping the kale finely and tossing with fresh mint, cabbage, and scallion. The peanut vinaigrette adds the perfect balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy. And the texture of the moist chicken contrasts perfectly with a hearty garnish of chopped peanuts.
So while I don’t have an “Eat Kale” bumper sticker on my car yet, I do have this delicious and healthy salad in my regular rotation!
Tear the kale leaves from the tough stems. Discard the stems. Chop the kale leaves finely. Remove the thick core from the cabbage and discard. Slice the cabbage into thin strips.
Stack the mint leaves, roll together lengthwise and slice thinly (i.e., chiffonade).
Slice the scallions thinly on the bias (i.e., at an angle). Mix all the greens together and toss with your hands. Mix roasted chicken with greens.
Whisk the lime juice, white wine vinegar, minced chili, soy sauce and peanut butter together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a steady stream, whisk in the peanut oil until fully incorporated. Taste and adjust as needed.
Toss the greens, chicken and dressing in a large bowl. Plate on a large platter or individual serving plates. Top with the chopped peanuts. Enjoy!
Saturated Fat: 3g
Julia Nordgren, MD has the unique distinction of being a physician and a trained chef. Her years of treating patients for cholesterol disorders and childhood obesity motivated her to inspire people to make healthy eating part of their daily lives. Dr. Nordgren received her medical degree from Dartmouth Medical School and graduated in 2013 from the Culinary Institute of America with honors. She currently lives on the Connecticut Shoreline and tests many of her recipes on her husband and two boys, who luckily have adventurous appetites and honest opinions.