Festive Kale, Fig and Tomato Salad

Here's a festive and unique salad for your holiday celebrations. Figs add a hearty texture, while kale adds a pop of dark green cheer.

Serve this salad as a first course or light luncheon entree. Yum!

Kale, Fig and Tomato Salad

MAKES 2 TO 4 SERVINGS

2 to 4 cups cleaned and finely chopped kale (see below: HOW-TO clean leafy greens)

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 ripe tomato, chopped

3 to 4 large dried figs, stemmed and thinly sliced

2 tablespoons salted roasted sunflower seeds

3 tablespoons Sweet Balsamic Dressing (see recipe below)

Put the Kale in a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing and massage well with hands. Set aside while preparing the rest of the salad.

Put the lettuce, tomato, figs, and sunflower seeds into the salad bowl. 

Right before serving, add the kale and the additional dressing (to taste) and toss until the greens are evenly coated. Serve at room temperature.

●Kale varieties with thinner leaves, such as Red Russian (also called Lacinato or Tuscan Kale), are best suited for this recipe.


 

Sweet Balsamic Dressing

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt, to taste

Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Put all of the ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together until emulsified. 


 

CLEANING LEAFY GREENS:

There are so many ways to prepare and serve fresh kale, but no matter how you serve them, they must be cleaned first. Cleaning dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, romaine, collards, etc.) is essential in order to rid leaves of the sandy residue often found on their surfaces. Removing residues before cooking is very important, otherwise your greens recipes may have a “gritty” taste. Here is a great method for cleaning greens:

1. Put the greens into a very large bowl and then put the bowl into your sink.

2. Cover the greens in cold water.

3. Let the greens soak a minute, then swish them around.

4. Scoop the greens out of the soaking bowl and place them into a very large colander, (also over the sink) to further drain.

5. Discard the sandy water left in the big bowl and rinse it briefly.

6. Repeat these steps one or two more times, or until no sand or dirt ends up in the bottom of the bowl after removing the greens. Continue with either step 7 or 8 depending on your needs.

7. If you are steaming the greens, or using them in a stir-fry, do not remove the excess water that sticks to the leaves after rinsing. The tiny droplets that adhere to the leaves will help the greens to stay moist while cooking.

8. If you are using the leafy greens raw, in a salad or sandwich, then it is important to dry the greens thoroughly so your salad does not become soggy. After all of the grit and sand is gone, remove excess moisture in a salad spinner or blot with a towel.