Did kale recently become trendy? I have no recollection of kale from childhood. Of course, my mom got us to eat vegetables by hiding them in cake (the chocolate and zucchini combination is perennially smart and sneaky), so it’s perhaps unsurprising that kale and I were unacquainted. Still, lately kale parades about as the new celebrity vegetable, getting prime space in the grocery store, and even magazine glamour shots. For the last year or so I’ve been buying all the kale hype, eating it up if you will (or won’t. I understand).
I introduced myself to kale by finally climbing aboard the kale chips wagon. While the kale chips craze swept the blog world, I sat back and thought, “there is just NO WAY that those taste like potato chips.” Still, eventually my curiosity got the best of me because really, if you can make vegetables taste like junk food, it’s got to be worth a try. So I followed the kale chip instructions that had been floating around the blogs, basically as seen on Kath’s blog though I don’t know who really invented them. I sprinkled little curls of parmesan cheese on the kale before sliding it into the oven and crossing my fingers. 15 minutes later, I approached the first “chip” with trepidation. But really, I reminded myself, I’ve never met anything that wasn’t good with melted cheese. A few curious chews and a eureka moment later led to me standing over the oven and shoveling in an entire pan of kale chips. It was ridiculous. It was absurd. It was a concerning amount of fiber in a single
sitting standing. After that first pan of kale chips, I found myself willing to concede some truth in all the kale hype.
Since the discovery of kale chips, I’ve occasionally used kale in smoothies and often in soups. Still, as raw kale salads started popping up in magazines and blogs I found myself right back on the defensive. Kale was just trying to usurp some more of spinach’s territory. First sneaking into my smoothies and soups, there was no way I was letting it take over salads. Besides, kale is a “serious” green; heat might make it accessible, but raw? That was still concerningly fibrous uncharted territory. Still when kale salads had conquered not only the blog world, but even the NY times, I admitted there might be something to this. This recipe for kale salad with apples and cheddar called to me, offering an easy path into the world of kale salad, before I dived into anything covered in hemp seed dressing.
I left out the toasted nuts, and I’d recommend buying some really high quality extra sharp cheddar. I think the cheddar makes the salad, but then I do have a thing for cheese. The juicy apple, the sharp cheddar, the “healthy” kale all come together in a really great salad. (Somehow healthy is still the best adjective I have for kale.) I’ve made it for J and I at least three times already, and I’d recommend you make it too!