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Detoxifiying Kimchi Mayo Kale Salad (This makes bitter kale tastes oh so delicious!)

kale salad

It has been a while since I last published a recipe so I’ve decided to surprise you all with one sweet, spicy and luscious one, especially in celebration of National Kale Day and World Vegetarian Day.

And this time, yes we’re going to feature kale… again.

Since kale has, and will always be our beloved vegetable (love/hate relationship), I thought I should address the most important concern we have with this green leafy veggie.

Kale is too bitter! 

Yes, I’ve said it. Kale is too bitter. As much as kale is touted as the healthiest vegetable these days, I’m pretty sure some of you are still a bit reluctant to eat it, given its coarse texture and bitter flavor. 

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Kale smoothies? Nightmare to some (Tip #1: Don’t add too much kale and leave out the stems!)

What about kale salad, a big hit these days?

Some of the ones I’ve had were coarse and quite bitter. While you can marinate kale with lemon juice, to ease the bitterness, I personally find that a bit bland and sour.

I’ve also noticed that quite a few of the kale salads I have in restaurants that are drenched in olive oil. I think olive oil is great. However, since olive oil is extracted from its “mother” – the olive – through an artificial process, I think it is ideal to not overuse olive oil, especially if you’re watching your weight.

And I refuse to “down” a kale salad because it is the healthy thing to do (yes I know you do that…)

I love flavors. I love exotic spices. And I love a good large kale salad that I enjoy pleasurably, sensually….

So the solution to the above, is to invent my own salad dressing. And I’m generous enough to share this recipe with you 😉 So here’s the story of this sweet sweet dressing …

As I was having my organic cabbage salad at Sorabol, one of my favorite Korean restaurants in town, I figured I could make an earthy, tangy, sweet and slightly spicy hot pepper dressing that mimics the taste of kimchi you eat at Korean restaurants (skipping the olive oil.)

And as Emily von Euw has mentioned in our previous interview, the key to having a great dish is the mix and balance of these elements – sweetness, saltiness, sourness and tangi-ness. This is why I’ve invented this dressing to make kale taste all the better so you can eat healthier, while tantalizing your taste buds  and keeping the cooking minimal (this recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make!)

And this is especially important because you want to balance out kale’s bitterness with the dressing’s smokiness and deep flavor.

So here’s the recipe:

Kale Salad with Asian Chipotle “Kimchi” Mayo Dressing

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Salad:

  • 4 cups of Kale
  • Pinch of Himalayan Salt
  • Pinch of Black Pepper

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Instructions: Wash kale well. Drain water from kale on towel. Sprinkle salad with salt and pepper.

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Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp of Korean Red Pepper Paste (Gochujang) – I used a vegan oak mushroom one I found in c!ty’super. You should be able to find ones of your choice at your local Korean market store or other supermarket like Whole Foods
  • c. 4-5 tbsp of Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – You can just eyeball the amount. You need quite a lot to dilute the red pepper paste, which can be quick thick.
  • c. 1 tbsp of Maple Syrup or Sweetener of Your Choice
  • c. 1-2 tbsp of Sprouted Almond Butter (Optional) – This makes the dressing creamier and balances the tanginess from the ACV and Red Pepper Paste, I’d include leave this out if you want your dressing to be fat-free. Any nut butter will do, but I love sprouted almond butter because they are full of living energy and are high in flavanoids and vitamin E.
  • c. 0.5 tbsp of Organic Tamari Soy Sauce (Optional) – This complements the almond butter. I’d eyeball the amount and taste the dressing as you go to get the perfect balance.
  • Pinch of Lime Juice (Optional) – This mild citrus tanginess complements all the ingredients above and gives the dressing an extra oomph.

Instructions: Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender, or you can mix the dressing with a bowl and a spoon. Add to kale salad. Mix very, very well (you can even dig in and massage the veggies with this delicious dressing) Enjoy!

P.S. I added romaine lettuce to this salad for a bit of diversity. This dressing works on almost any greens you can think of. And you can even use it to make raw zucchini  “spaghetti” 🙂

P.P.S. Did I mention that the fermented red pepper paste can help you detox and break down pesticides?

P.P.P.S. This recipe is vegan, though I’m sure you’d enjoy it even if you are omnivorous. Again, I skipped the olive oil to keep the dressing relatively fat-free. The almond butter will do the trick.