Kale is now a vegetable superstar. It appears in soups, salads, smoothies, on tasting menus and in sushi. Kale is best enjoyed in its pure form: raw and leafy. In this no-cook kale salad, the leaves are cut into thin ribbons and coating in a velvet sesame soy dressing that elevates the earthy vegetable to new heights.
Now that kale is so popular, farmers are planting larger crops many different varieties so that we might enjoy the exotic purple leaves of Russian kale or the sophisticated bitterness of Tuscan kale. This recipe calls for the Tuscan or Lacinato kale, a varietal which has a long history in Italian cuisine. There’s even a type of kale called “Hungry Gap,” named after the mild in-between seasons in the British climate between spring and winter. Kale is related to cabbage and has similar growing patterns.
Tuscan kale is perfectly delicious on its own. I often use thinly-sliced ribbons as a bed for stews and heavy curries instead of rice or pasta. This salad requires absolutely no cooking, just slicing and whisking. This is a great salad to bring on the go because the chopped leaves will not wilt and the dressing can be made in advance.
Amazing Asian No-Cook Kale Salad with Sesame Soy Dressing
Serves 4 as a side
1 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon warm water
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
1 bunch Lacinato or Tuscan Kale
First wash and dry the kale stalks. Remove the thick center ribs by running a small sharp knife along each side of the rib. Discard and slice remaining leaves into thin ribbons.
In a small bowl whisk the miso paste, warm water and rice vinegar together. Add the sesame oil, garlic and soy sauce and whisk. Taste the sauce and add more soy sauce if you want.
Toss with the kale ribbons and serve.
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Photos by Ally-Jane Grossan