Autumn Jewel Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing
Gayle McLeod | November 10, 2015
T H I S salad is everything. With all the rich, jewel-toned colours of fruits and vegetables available in markets right now, I was inspired to build a salad with all my favourites... kale, fennel, oranges, pomegranates & pistachios. As if that wasn't enough, it was brought to life with a pretty special lemon-tahini dressing that I'm completely addicted to. In my books, the sign of a great salad is one that's exciting for the adults, full of nutritious ingredients and yet, still devoured by the littles. This one does the job and then some. Feel free to sub the ingredients too... Don't care for fennel? Try celery. Pecans, walnuts, toasted pine nuts or crispy chickpeas would also replace the pistachios with great success.
Serves 4-6 (4 meal-sized or about 6 side)
1 cup cooked beluga lentils* (see note below)
2 small bunches of curly kale (I used one bunch of purple kale and one green)
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt
1 small fennel bulb, tops removed and very thinly sliced
1-2 oranges, peel removed and thinly sliced into rounds (I used one Cara Cara and one Blood orange)
1 cup roughly chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
1 recipe Lemon Tahini Dressing
Remove the tough stems from the kale, then wash and dry thoroughly. Tear into bite sized pieces and put into a large bowl with the olive oil and coarse salt. Massage the kale for a couple of minutes until softened. Transfer to a large serving bowl.
Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl, then drizzle with the prepared Lemon Tahini Dressing just before serving.
If you think leftovers are a possibility, serve the dressing on the side and store the remaining salad and dressing separately for a later day. This is a robust salad and should stand up well to a couple of days in the fridge - but it probably won't last that long.
* Note regarding the beluga lentils: Sometimes referred to as the caviar of lentils, these are a nutritional powerhouse of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, protein and dietary fibre. I often have a container of cooked ones hanging out in the fridge so I can add them to salads and soups for a nutritional boost. The package instructions recommend cooking them for 25-30 minutes, but I prefer to undercook them and use the following method:
Add one cup rinsed lentils to a medium pot and cover with about 1 inch of cold water. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, then allow to cook for about 10 minutes. I usually check them frequently after 10 minutes to ensure they still have some bite and don't get too soft. Once cooked to your liking, drain and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in the fridge, or use them right away in this salad.