Grilled Kale Salad

Grilling kale may sound like the most obnoxious hipster unnecessary culinary way to ruin a perfectly wonderful vegetable…but let the grill masters hate, it steals the show.

Ingredients: (serves 4 adults as a side dish)

  • 2 bunches of Lacinto Kale
  • Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Plain greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • Salt/pepper

Preparation:

To make the dressing, mix 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt (any amount of fat content in the yogurt is fine, but make sure it’s greek yogurt otherwise the texture will be weird), the juice from 1 lemon (roughly 3-4 tablespoons), 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

[Note: these are the base ingredients for any super delicious yogurt-based salad dressing. When I’m making this dressing for other salads with  more delicate greens, I’ll often add 1-3 tablespoons of water to dilute the dressing and make it a bit less potent/thick. At this point you can also improvise, like adding chopped basil or cilantro to mix things up. I don’t recommend any of that for this particular salad though, which benefits from a thicker dressing and doesn’t need additional herbs which get lost in the strong grill flavor of the kale.]

To prep the kale: rinse the kale and rub each leaf with olive oil. If you massage the kale a bit while you’re rubbing oil on the leaves it’ll help break down the toughness of the kale and make the salad even better. Sprinkle a few pinches of salt and pepper over all of the kale. Heat up your grill to medium/high. It’s fine to leave the kale post-oil-massage for awhile if you’ve got a lot of other things on the grill or a fun party to distract you — it’ll keep getting a little bit more tender.

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To grill the kale: Lay each long piece of kale along the grill. You don’t want to walk away from these while they’re grilling because they go pretty quick depending on the heat of the grill.

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You want each piece to have some nice charring on them, but to still retain plenty of green, non-charred parts too. Don’t worry about whether or not the kale is “cooked” so much as whether it has the right amount of charring for your preferences.

IMG_4028 (1)Take the kale off the grill, and cut each grilled piece into salad sized bites. I leave off the bottom few inches which are mostly stalk and not much leaf. Toss the chopped kale with some of the yogurt dressing. I add the dressing a few tablespoons at a time to make sure I don’t overdress. Depending on many stalks of kale you grilled and how dressed you like your salad, you may have tons of leftover dressing, or none.

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Other things that I’ve added to this salad in the past and definitely are yummy if you want to get fancy: grilled red peppers or any other grilled vegetables, croutons, grilled shrimp, pickled red onion or slow roasted tomatoes. Whatever you add, you’re building upon a strong base that is good as is!

 

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