I dreamed up this dish last summer when the farmer's markets in Denver were fantastic, and I was constantly inspired to eat all the veggies I could get my hands on. Honestly, this salad could be enjoyed without dressing - the crunchy kale, sweet strawberries, and creamy avocado all provide so much flavor on their own that a dressing is not necessary. I provided a dressing here, but feel free to try it dressing-less or simply drizzled with a bit of balsamic vinegar.
Summer is the time to get your fill of berries while the prices are low and the flavor is unbeatable. Strawberries - the heart-shaped members of the rose family - make the list of top 20 antioxidant foods and are known for helping to improve cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and fight against cancer. One cup of strawberries provides 112% of your daily free-radical fighting vitamin C, and they are high in phytonutrients that help lower C-reactive protein, an inflammatory marker raised by stress. Additionally, their high fiber content helps give them a low glycemic index, so they won't cause a spike in blood sugar (great if you have diabetes!).
Not to mention they're delicious.
We all know kale chips are awesome. A kale chip salad is an obvious next step.
Crispy kale salad with avocado and strawberries
Note: The textures and flavors shine through on their own, without dressing. I felt the need to include a dressing recipe, but feel free to enjoy this salad dressing-less or with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
5 curly kale stalks, leaves removed from stems
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 fresh strawberries, sliced
1/4 of a ripe avocado, sliced
Berry balsamic vinaigrette:
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fruity olive oil
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
- Preheat oven to 300F. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Drizzle with the olive oil and use your fingers to rub each kale piece with oil to evenly distribute. Scatter the kale between two foil-lined sheet pans and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes until toasted, then cool completely for maximum crunch.
- While the kale bakes, prepare the berry balsamic vinaigrette. Combine all ingredients in a small food processor and whirl until smooth. Taste and adjust flavors as desired.
- Divide the toasted kale between two bowls and top with the fresh strawberry and avocado slices. Drizzle with the berry balsamic and serve immediately.
Labels: fruit, kale, lunch, salad, side, summer, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian