I am not a kale enthusiast. It is not the first veggie I gravitate to in the produce aisle or at the farmers market. So when I make it, I do my best to make it really tasty. Of all the ways I’ve made it, this kale salad with currants and pine nuts is my most favorite. It’s my husband’s, too, and he’s not a fan of kale OR currants. So that’s saying something!
This kale salad with currants and pine nuts just might make a kale-convert out of you.
I had a roommate in college who used to make kale all the time. She bought it frozen and cooked it in vinegar for a really long time and it smelled terrible. That was probably my first impression of kale.
Since my college dates were not a time in my life that I was focused on nutrition AT ALL, (I probably got the bulk of my calories from 4/$1.00 Ramen noodles and Hamburger Helper) I had no interest in finding out more about the stuff which made my apartment smell awful.
And then years later, my mom called and somewhere in that conversation she told me to make this lacinato kale salad. Because I was a sort-of-adult and no longer an angsty teenager, I listened to her and did just that. That was approximately 127 years ago, and this is still my favorite way to make it.
I especially love that the ingredients are so simple and minimal. Once you make it with currants and pine nuts, try other combinations; like mango and spicy pepitas, peaches and almonds, apples and pecans… Pick a fruit and a nut or a seed and it will most likely be good!Print
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1 large or 2 small bunches lacinato kale, (also called dinosaur kale; about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- lemon zest, (optional, for garnish)
- Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat and add the pine nuts. Toast for 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Make sure they don’t burn. Once they are fragrant, remove from the pan and set aside.
- To the same pan, add the balsamic vinegar and currants. Once steaming, turn off the heat. Allow to sit while you prepare the kale.
- Pull the leaves off the stems of the kale, roll up the leaves lengthwise, and chiffonade as thinly as possible.
- In a large bowl, massage the kale with the olive oil for 3-5 minutes, or until it’s reduced by one-third to one-half.
- Stir in the currants and balsamic vinegar, salt, lemon juice, and pine nuts.
If you make this ahead, add the pine nuts at the last minute so they don’t lose their crunch.
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