The Edgy Veggie

Go hands-on with kale



Asian Kale Salad With Oranges and Red Pepper Flakes

This refreshing, do-ahead salad has bright flavor and very little oil — just what you rub into the kale leaves. It’s sturdy and pretty enough for a party.

1 head kale

2 tablespoons Asian toasted sesame oil

3 oranges

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 handful scallions, thinly sliced

2/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Wash kale and blot dry. Tear into bite-sized pieces, discarding thick stems. This should yield about 8 cups of kale leaves, packed.

Fill a large bowl with the kale. Drizzle one tablespoon of the sesame oil on the kale and the other on your hands. Rub oil into kale leaves, distributing it evenly. After a few minutes, you’ll feel the leaves soften.

Grate the zest of 1 orange into the kale and toss to combine.

Juice 1 orange and pour into a small bowl. Add garlic, soy sauce, brown sugar and pepper flakes. Stir until sugar dissolves and dressing thickens slightly. Pour over kale and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate at least half an hour; longer is fine.

Just before serving, peel and section the remaining 2 oranges, removing seeds. Leave sections whole for an impressive look or chop into bite-sized pieces. Scatter orange segments, sliced scallions, chopped peanuts and chopped cilantro over kale and serve. Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 147 calories (51 percent from fat), 8.8 g fat (1.4 g saturated, 1.4 g monounsaturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 5.3 g protein, 14 g carbohydrates, 3.2 g fiber, 451 mg sodium.

In this tough world of ours, try a little tenderness. Try kale. It’s the leafy green everyone’s talking about but no one seems to eat. Often dismissed as fibrous and bitter, kale turns supple and sweet with a little hands-on participation.

When someone rubs your shoulders, you let go and relax and start to feel good. The same trick works for kale. Drizzle a little oil into your hands and gently rub it into the leaves. The warmth and pressure of your hands work their magic, and after a minute or two, the kale will turn bright and pliable.

Dress and refrigerate it for at least half an hour. Your kale will stay pert and perky till you’re ready to eat. I’d like to see a lettuce salad sit around without going brown and limp.

Kale comes in half a dozen vibrant varietals including curly green, red Russian and black, fresh and in season at South Florida farmers markets. They all come fully loaded with calcium, iron, antioxidants and plant sterols, the natural fibers which can help lower cholesterol. Kale contains so much vitamin A, C and K, the vitamins practically burst from the leaves. You just need to show it a little tenderness.

Ellen Kanner is the author of “Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner.” She blogs at

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