Copy Cat Primal Kale Salad

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My slightly different version of Smitten Kitchen’s featured recipe this week! If you aren’t familiar with the Smitten Kitchen, I highly suggest stumbling over and getting sucked into her vortex of endless fresh seasonal recipes and heavenly indulgent baked goods. I love this perfectly simplistic kale salad, especially to take to the Santa Monica beach concert to share with friends! And if you are dairy free or paleo simply leave out the pecorino cheese or swap it for a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and you’ve got yourself a delicious dairy-free salad.

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Primal Kale Salad (Slightly Adapted from Smitten Kitchen) (Difficulty-Easy, Serves 4-6)

  • 1/2 c walnut halves or pieces
  • 1/4 c organic dried cranberries
  •  1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/4 c almond meal
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Coarse or kosher salt
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch purple kale, washed and patted dry
  • 2 oz pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total) (optional)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste

Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350°F. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 7 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Prepare cranberries: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and cranberries for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.

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Prepare crumbs: Toast almond meal, garlic and 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.

Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and tear leaves off of the ribs by hand. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.

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Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino (if using), walnuts and cranberries (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the cranberries, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with almond meal crumbs and, if needed, a final 1 teaspoon drizzle of olive oil.

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