For today’s Vegan MoFo, I thought I’d share my absolute favorite way to eat greens these days: massaged kale salad. It’s so easy, so simple, and so ridiculously delicious, plus it’s insanely good for you. Make this tonight, you will be so happy.
1 bunch kale—I used lacinato, or dinosaur kale.
Handful sun-dried tomatoes
2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Prep your kale by stripping it from the stems and ripping the leaves into regular, smaller pieces. Wash and dry, and throw it in a bowl.
Sprinkle some salt—less than a teaspoon, I don’t measure—onto the kale. With your two hands, knead the salted kale until it shrinks roughly 50 percent in volume, and looks glossy and dark. Maybe five minutes?
In your preferred serving bowl, mix the olive oil and lemon juice. Add the kale.
Dice the sun-dried tomatoes, and add them to the kale.
If your pepitas aren’t toasted, heat them in a pan until browned and good-smelling. Add them to the kale.
Toss the whole bowl until everything is nicely mixed. Add salt and pepper—this salad takes pepper really well!—and mix again. Taste, adjust seasonings accordingly, and serve. Soak up the accolades, because everyone loves this and people who’ve never eaten raw kale before will praise your culinary genius. Graciously accept these compliments.
A few notes: I find one bunch of kale serves two comfortably; if you want to eat exclusively this, you might want the entire bunch to yourself (I often do) (I am a kale monster). I also find that red wine vinegar substitutes for the lemon juice quite well, but as balsamic is milder, if you want to use it, maybe add more. Also, if you don’t want to turn your cuticles/under your nails green, wear gloves while working with the kale.
Massaged kale salad! It’s the best!
Vegan MoFo: Margherita toast! »
More often than not, my easy vegan recipes come from a random craving that needs immediate satisfaction. Margherita toast is no exception: One autumn afternoon in 2010 I had a serious hankering for pizza—not greasy, drippy, stringy-cheesy pizza, but hearty, rich, and healthy: whole grains, chunky veggies, fresh greens, and tons of flavor. With no vegan pizza options in the vicinity, I rolled up my sleeves, opened my refrigerator door, and decided I’d have to get creative. Margherita Toast was soon born, and has become a simple staple in my household ever since.
Depending on the portion, it can be a snack or a full meal, and the flavors are full and rich enough to satisfy cravings for the not-so-super-healthy pizza varieties. Read on, and drool accordingly!
A couple slices of bread (whole grain is obviously best; sprouted is even better!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh ground salt and pepper
Fresh greens (I like arugula, but spinach, mizuna, broccoli rabe, etc. all work too)
vegan cheese alternative (I love Daiya, any flavor)
Fresh or dried Italian spices (basil, rosemary, oregano, etc.)
Get creative! Maybe some olives? Mushrooms? Artichoke hearts?
Preheat oven to 350 F. Place one or two (or more!) slices of bread on a baking sheet or sheet of tinfoil. Spread a spoonful of sauce on the bread if you like, or just leave it plain. If you have a taste for cheese, sprinkle a little handful of Daiya (whichever flavor you like) on each piece of bread.
Then lay three or four tomato slices on each piece—slice ‘em thick if you like it hearty, or thin if you prefer a more subtle tomato flavor.
After the oven has preheated, put your creation on the middle rack and let it toast for about 12 minutes, depending on your oven—it may take as little as 10, or as much as 15.
Yank those bad boys out of the oven before they burn, and sprinkle some finely chopped fresh or dried herbs if you’re into it, then toss a good handful of greens on top of the whole mess. Follow that up with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper, then a drizzle of olive oil over everything. Let it marinate for a minute or two—be patient!—and then feast.
With all the fresh, real, simple ingredients combined, you’ve created a serious taste of Italy. Win!
Last night’s dinner: penne with roasted-pepper and pumpkin seed pesto, and garlicky greens. SO GOOD.
I found the pesto at Simple Recipes, but for starters I didn’t have roasted red peppers: I had three raw bell peppers, two orange and one red. Oh how grateful we are for the internet! I found these instructions for roasting them, and it was pretty easy, not to mention fun, to turn these gorgeous vegetables all black over actual fire. Be bold in your kitchen!
I also didn’t have pine nuts, and though I had several other varieties of nuts I didn’t want their taste to overpower the flavor of the peppers in the pesto, so I substituted about 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds instead. Now, mine were “roasted, lightly salted” and unhulled—versus pepitas, which are naked—but removing the hulls seemed like a hellish process of doom, so I threw the seeds in whole, adding a little extra to compensate for their hulls.
I didn’t expect the pesto to be as sweet as it turned out, but of course the roasted bell peppers were super-rich and sugary. Dandelion greens, though, have a very earthy, bitter taste, and the contrast was SCRAMAZING. You guys, so good. And so easy, really. Yes, time-consuming, but I have so much fucking time on my hands, it’s obscene. So you should make this, it’s delicious and good for you and you will love it.