Hail to the almighty greens of spring! What better way to celebrate warmer weather than with an easy and delicious salad with a jazzy twist? This exciting combo of greens, dried fruit, nuts and seeds offers a welcome change to your daily dose of greens.
I adore all varieties of kale; Curly, Lacinato, Red Russian and even Baby Kale! Steamed, sautéed, baked into chips, simmered in soups, layered in casseroles or just plain raw, kale is a diversified and delicious leafy green - no matter how it’s prepared.
Bonus: Organic kale is available throughout the winter and right into the spring and summer seasons - in other words, all year ‘round.
Romaine lettuce is available all year ‘round too and it is excellent to use in salads, soups, stir fries and as a low-calorie wrap instead of a tortilla. You may see tender “baby romaine” at your market place too. Baby romaine is more delicate and tender than mature heads of romaine. In this zingy salad recipe, you may use any variety of romaine that you prefer.
To finish it off, dressing the salad with my sweet and sassy Maple-Dijon Dressing adds punch, but a basic balsamic dressing pairs well too. Happy spring!
Baby Kale, Romaine and Sweet Fig Salad
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
3 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1½ cups finely chopped baby kale or mature kale (see note), larger stems removed and thinly sliced
2 large plum tomatoes or a handful of grape tomatoes, chopped
6 large dried figs, stemmed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts (optional)
2 tablespoons raw or roasted sunflower seeds
Sassy Maple-Dijon Dressing (see below) or your favorite salad dressing
Put the lettuce, kale, tomato, figs, optional walnuts and sunflower seeds in a large salad bowl. Add the dressing to taste and toss until the greens are evenly coated. Serve at room temperature.
Chef’s Note: Mature or baby kale of any variety may be used in this salad. Make sure to remove the tough stems, before slicing it.
Sassy Maple-Dijon Dressing
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
2 ½ tablespoons maple syrup (plus more as needed)
1 ½ tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (plus more as needed)
Freshly ground pepper
Put the maple syrup, mustard, garlic and sea salt in small mixing bowl and briskly whisk to combine. For a sweeter dressing, add more maple syrup, to taste. Season with more salt and pepper, to taste.