KALE + WHITE BEAN SALAD

While cooking, listen to this: Keep You - Wild Belle

Kale and White Bean Salad

Remember when kale was seen as nothing but a mere garnish to place various mayonnaise-based salads upon? Seems like ancient history, right? Now that kale is in everything from smoothies to pasta, it's hard to recall a time when people weren't obsessed with what carnivores could rightfully call "rabbit food."

Well, I'm here to remind you that those times did happen, friends, and what better way to remember than with a good old-fashioned fun fact? I'm nothing if not consistent.

Kale and White Bean Salad
Kale and White Bean Salad

So apparently before people starting bathing in kale (or whatever people do with kale these days, I have no idea), it was just decorative. Like, as in, was not eaten at all. Before the health benefits of kale went mainstream, the biggest consumer of kale wasn't Whole Foods or the hippie down the block, but...Pizza Hut.

"Um, what?" you might be thinking. Yep! They used it to decorate their salad bars. Don't believe me? Have a look. They don't do it anymore because I guess now they actually serve it as an option at the salad bar. Who knew Pizza Hut could be so trendy?

Kale and White Bean Salad

Anyway, why am I telling you this. Well, besides the fact that I absolutely LOVE fun facts, especially if they're related to food or animals, I'm grateful that kale is available pretty much everywhere now. Yes, if prepared incorrectly it can be a semi-traumatic eating experience, but when done right it's pretty great. Thanks to recipes like this salad from Minimalist Baker, which is so good that I now make it for 50% of the Shabbat dinners I go to, it's easy to see how kale can be elevated from sad, lowly Pizza Hut garnish to something you can actually get excited about eating.

Like all of Dana's recipes, this one is crazy easy to make, and only takes 30 or so minutes from start to finish. That includes chopping and mincing, too. This salad has some of my favorite things, like lemon, garlic and tahina, and is so good for both body and soul. It should also be known that it goes swimmingly with a large glass of white wine. But like, what doesn't.

Especially when it's 100 degrees outside and only getting hotter, this salad is perfect to make when the thought of turning your oven on is enough to put you over the edge. I get it! I may or may not be wearing pants right now. That's one thing to feel great about, and making this salad is another. Hop to it, loves.

Love and meows, Rina

Kale and White Bean Salad

KALE + WHITE BEAN SALAD

Servings: 4-6, depending on how much salad everyone wants

Total Cook Time: 30m

Category: Salad, Vegan

Source: Minimalist Baker

Note: Dana includes croutons in her recipe - I'm not a huge crouton fan so I leave them out, but go to the link above to get that part of the recipe if you want to include them.


BEANS

1 15-ounce (425 g) can white or butter beans, rinsed and drained

½ lemon, juiced (1 Tbsp or 15 ml)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 Tbsp (~4 g) fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for topping

SALAD

10 ounces (283 g) kale, chopped, large stems removed

1 lemon, juiced (2 Tbsp or 30 ml)

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup

Pinch each sea salt + black pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

DRESSING

⅓ cup (80 g) tahina

1 clove garlic, minced

1 and ½ lemons, juiced (3-4 Tbsp or 45-60 ml)

1-2 tablespoons (15-30 ml) maple syrup

Pinch each sea salt + black pepper

Hot water to thin

Prepare the beans: in a small bowl, combine the drained and rinsed beans, lemon juice from half a lemon, olive oil, salt and parsley. Stir and set aside.

Prepare the salad: in a large bowl, add the kale, juice of one lemon, olive oil, maple syrup, salt, pepper and minced garlic. With your hands, massage the kale to break it down - straight-up raw kale is, in the words of Alton Brown, not good eats. This will also help season the salad even before it's dressed.

Prepare the dressing: I like to use a jar to make dressings, but use your go-to dressing container. In there, combine the tahina, 1 clove of minced garlic, juice from one and a half lemons, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Shake well - tahina can be deceptively thickening, so you'll probably need hot water to thin it. Add a couple of tablespoons at a time until you get the consistency you like. Taste to see if you think it needs any more lemon, salt or anything else.

Assemble: when you're ready to serve, add the beans and dressing to the kale. Toss well and serve.

To keep: kale is sturdier than other leafy greens, so it could feasibly last a bit longer in the fridge even after it's dressed. To keep this salad optimal, though, only dress the amount of kale you need, and store the salad and the dressing separately until you're ready to eat it.