The Ten-Minute, Super-Amazing, Magic Guilt Eraser

April 6th, 2011 · 28 Comments · Quick, Sides, Salads, Soup, Vegetarian

I know. Bummer. An entire post devoted to salad. Not a BLT salad or a wedge of iceberg with thousand island dripping in and around the crevices. But a yawn-inducing, omega-3-rich, good-for-you, raw bowl of nutrients that falls into the “leafy green” category. Thanks, Jenny! Thanks for the big bowl of homework!

Go ahead, leave the page. Go lose yourself in some duck confit fried in lard. Cause then the secret of the salad’s hidden superpowers is still somewhat secure. You see, this concoction above may look like a dutiful mound of kale with grated ricotta salata and thinly shaved red onions, but it’s actually more than that. A lot more. I’m telling you, if you can get your kids to eat it, all kinds of amazingly freaky things start to happen. Like for starters, I think I can actually see Abby growing before my eyes, her shirt bursting at the buttons, Lou Ferrigno-style, right at the dinner table. And about three minutes after Phoebe inhaled her salty ribboned kale last Sunday, she had a sudden impulse to recite the quadratic formula, even though, as far as I know, trigonometry is not part of New York State’s third grade curriculum. (Yet.)

But the real magic is a little more subtle. When you — as in you mom and dad! — get up from the table you’ll suddenly notice that the guilt you have been carrying around with you all day about missing “parent observation day” at tennis has been replaced by a rush of happiness endorphins. And you know how you’ve been beating yourself up over the fact that your eight-year-old still can’t tell time? For at least a few days after you have served your children this salad, that hardly seems to register on the guilt-o-meter either. The remorse over the fried-in-butter beef-veal-pork double hot dog with spicy curly fries from Walter’s*? Gone. Completely cancelled out.

I’m telling you, this stuff is powerful. And, sadly, its applications of guilt-erasing possibilities: endless.

*Whattup MHS Tigers?!

Kale Salad with Ricotta Salata
The credit for this salad goes to my superhero friend Naria, who first made it for me for lunch last summer, then again last week at a delicious dinner party.

Wash and trim the stems off two large handfuls of kale. Chop into confetti-like strands as shown. Shred a boatload of ricotta salata on top, add about 1 tablespoon of red onion that has been sliced to the point of transparency. Add a few glugs of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, and freshly ground pepper.

To feel really virtuous, serve with fish presents.

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28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Amanda // Apr 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Wow this is a heavy post. I don’t even get to cook the kale? You’re eating raw kale? This is asking a lot of your readers, Jenny. Even I am not sure this one will fly. Eeeyikes. I feel guilty even questioning this.

  • 2 Jenny // Apr 6, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Don’t question it. Just eat it!

  • 3 Sharyn // Apr 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Kale is my very favorite green. Even my husband likes it! I will def try this – I make a Tuscan version w/Parm and bread crumbs – the longer it sits, the better it is. But ricotta salata rocks.

  • 4 samantha // Apr 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    love the Walter’s and MHS shoutout!

  • 5 Jane // Apr 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    omg, haven’t thought of walter’s in years! grew up a few towns over, but had an MHS love and many a meal there. ahhh, memories…

  • 6 Ingrid // Apr 6, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Ummm…raw kale? Girl…What happened to the gal who rarely entered Garden in college, yet alone hung out at the salad bar…Whoa!

  • 7 Jenny // Apr 6, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    Fear not, Grid. I’d still choose Annex over Garden. Three words: Chicken Cordon Bleu. (And yes, I realize there is no Annex anymore and that I am seriously dating myself.)

  • 8 Alison // Apr 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    This looks pretty tasty!
    And don’t worry about the telling time troubles; time is tough! I’m 24 and my mom still teases me about it. And speaking of time, I have to go to my graduate seminar now because my clock-related inability has never held me back :)

    ps. the coconut shrimp is amazing

  • 9 Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} // Apr 7, 2011 at 7:41 am

    I love kale salad and would be ecstatic if my daughter would eat it. She only 2, so here’s to hoping that someday she will! :-)

  • 10 Emilie // Apr 7, 2011 at 9:04 am

    So funny, yesterday morning, before I saw your post, I stopped at the store and bought some lacinata kale, planning to make this. I was so excited that I had thought of a way to eat dairy at the table without making my (newly allergic to dairy) son feel sad and marginalized. Because there in no way in a million years he would ever come near a bowl of raw kale. It was a dish that I could eat all by myself guilt free!

  • 11 Kate // Apr 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

    LOL – such a good post I may just have to try this.

  • 12 c // Apr 7, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    Made it last night (b/c I had kale in the fridge and for a week did not know what to do with it!) and our 4 year old loved it. Our 2 year old did not. She’s got time. So good.

  • 13 Lis // Apr 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    So funny and so true! It is amazing how good it feels to see your kids eating a healthy meal.

  • 14 Blair // Apr 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    Just love that kale!!!! Love, love, love it!!! Thanks for our side dish tonight.

  • 15 torrey // Apr 13, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Delish. I just made this for dinner tonight–I think it’s beyond the children, but I’ve sampled before serving and it’s so yummy. Serving it with the NYT chicken adobo and coconut milk rice. Yum.

  • 16 Pookie // Apr 13, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    What is ricotta salata? Do you mean ricotta cheese?

  • 17 Angela // May 2, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    this recipe pushed me over the edge to a full-on kale salad obsession. A few ideas — I made it for a potluck and added some chopped, toasted walnuts and walnut oil, and it was unbelievable. One preparation tip is to massage the olive oil into the kale leaves — it softens them a bit and integrates the dressing with the salad. It’s also a bit therapeutic, like a healthier version of kneading bread. Next time, I’m going to skip the chopping and put the kale in the food processor to chop to a tabboule-like consistency. Come to think of it, kale tabboule would be fantastic!

  • 18 CookiePie // May 24, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    A friend of mine brought this to our house for a dinner party, and I COULDN’T STOP eating it. I like kale, but usually don’t love it — but I had to stop myself from sticking my fork directly in the salad bowl. SO good. Thank you for sharing!

  • 19 Elizabeth // Jun 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    Kale was in our box from the food co-op today, so guess what’s for dinner?

  • 20 Elizabeth // Jul 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    OK, this is becoming a once or twice a week dinner item! Thanks!

  • 21 nancy // Feb 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I am missing something – what is ricotta salata, and where is the recipe for that?

  • 22 Jenny // Feb 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    nancy – ricotta salata is a kind of cheese, it’s hard, very white, very salty, and shreds beautifully. You can find it at better supermarkets and Whole Foods.

  • 23 Jamie // Feb 18, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    I made the kale salad with some chopped up strawberries and sunflower seeds….it was outstanding! Thanks for the recipe!

  • 24 danielle // Mar 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I wanted to let you know that I featured this great recipe in my “What I Bookmarked This Week ” post – stop by and see!

  • 25 cheryl // Jul 1, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    I just made this and it is sooo good! I have never eaten kale raw…only baked as kale chips. I massaged the olive oil and lemon juice into the leaves and let it sit for a bit. Added lots of the ricotta salata, and also some slivered almonds. Fantastic. Can’t believe I’m going back for more RAW KALE!!!

  • 26 Barb // Jul 31, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Kale, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, shallots, parmesan cheese. Best salad ever.

  • 27 Marlene // Jul 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    Loving kale! I have been massaging mine right after the thin slicing step with a little celtic sea salt.. so that it turns greener, and a little softer.. then lime juice and olive oil.. sometimes simple tumeric and freshly ground pepper.. but the sky’s the limit.. I love your hard cheese and red onion suggestion!

  • 28 Shelly // Oct 27, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks, just tried this. Gave a small bowl to my husband, and he merely commented on how edible it was, considering it had red onion in it. Didn’t bat an eyelid at the kale. Has anyone tried kale with pickles or hot jar peppers (stuff he likes)?

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