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Spicy Kale Salad

We still have (had) some kale in our little garden; I noticed this week that it was on the verge of going to seed. I left one stalk to bloom; I'm always curious to see if we'll end up with surprise veggies in the garden (or the lawn, or the neighbors yard), or if I can harvest the seed. We've had good luck with this with mustard and cilantro. The rest of the kale I harvested for this delicious kale salad. It's possible you've seen this recipe on this blog before, but this variation contains my special touches (mushrooms!) and other ideas for customization. I have a hard time following a recipe to the letter and make little tweaks as I go along - depending on what's in the fridge or what inspires me at any give moment. Even then, often our dinner conversation is sprinkled with "I think next time, I'll try such and such". It sounds as if I'm not satisfied with the meal, but in truth, cooking is my creative outlet and I like to experiment.
Speaking of experimentation, I started seeds for our summer garden just last weekend. Already, I have tiny seedlings of 6 varieties of tomatoes, poblano peppers, a ruffled eggplant, pepperoncinis, basil and artichoke! They are so tiny and delicate, who knows if they will actually survive to "adulthood". This is the first time I've started seeds indoors and the first time I've grown any of these things from seed. If all goes well, we'll be having pizza parties all summer and giving gifts of canned tomatoes for the holidays. 
Baby seedlings

I find that potters (the majority of this blogs audience, I believe) tend to also enjoy gardening, cooking and eating. What about you - do you have a garden? Do you grow from seed or plantings? Any advice to bestow on a seedling novice?
This kale was planted last fall and has provided many a good meal. I'm a little sad to say goodbye to it, but am looking forward to Spring's bounty soon!

Spicy Kale Salad


6 oz shitake mushrooms, chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
5 cloves of garlic, finely diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2-3 bunches curly kale, stemmed, chopped or torn into small pieces
2 tbsp nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
2 tsp Srircaha sauce

1/2 c sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped

Heat olive oil in a 10 in skillet over medium heat; add mushrooms and cook until slightly browned. Stir in onions, garlic and sesame oil and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Stir in soy sauce and set aside.
Place kale in a large bowl, add sun-dried tomatoes, including a little of the oil in which they are stored. Massage kale and tomatoes together until kale is well coated.
Stir in mushroom mixture and sriracha sauce and toss well. Add cheese or nutritional yeast and serve.

This doesn't sound like much, but kale is very filling and hearty. This makes a great dinner salad.
It is also quite versatile. 
  • If you don't like mushrooms, skip them all together and add the onions, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil to the salad before massaging.
  • I think a little lemon juice and/or zest would be amazing in here too. 
  • Olives? Fresh tomatoes?
  • Not sure if the kale in the garden would be enough, I picked up some "kalelets" at the store. I didn't really read the package until I got home - the description says "A brand new vegetable, a cross between kale and brussel sprouts". I threw a few of those in here too - and they were good - it got me thinking - shredded raw brussel sprouts in place of the kale would be great! 
  • I will probably be adding some chickpeas to this salad later this week to stretch it into several lunches.  


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  1. This recipe will come in handy one day soon, we just planted a bunch of kale we grew from seed in February. Growing from seed was a first time for us this year too. We usually sow the seed straight in the ground in late April. It was nice to get an early start this year. Our first try wasn't too great, the plants all got leggy because we kept them under the humidor too long. Lesson learned. Second try was a success.
    Not that I'm an expert, but for us, giving the seedlings some air movement was critical in strengthening their stems.We put a small fan in the room Good lighting is key and also a good organic fertilizer with seaweed after transplanting will help the roots set strong. They will need to harden off a couple of days outside before they go in the ground and then the small plants will love some nitrogen. Once they set flower, bump up the phosphorus and the potassium and you will have good strong insect and disease resistant plants with great fruits! Its so fun watching the little seeds grow. I'm hooked!

    1. Thank you, Tracey! This is great info!

  2. there's nothing better than home grown

  3. Enjoy cooking and eating, YES, gardening? Terrible at it, but learning :) I will be starting little seedlings inside soon, too!

  4. Jeff and I both enjoy gardening but have been dealing with rock hard earth and too much shade. We have had the best luck with container gardening. I am hoping when we move (very soon I hope!!!) we will have a BIG garden.


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