I love, love, love this easy kale salad. I love the texture the sunflower and pomegranate seeds add to it. I love the substance from the black beans. I love that it is very nutritious and guilt free. I've made it four times now; for myself, my omnivore household and for a potluck. Each time it has been a hit. With the couscous and black beans,it can stand alone as a complete meal or a side.
This showed up as a recipe in my CSA box, chelseasmessyapron.com is credited as the source. The original called for mango, which also works great, but since we are in pomegranate season now, I use pomegranate seeds instead so that it is more of a localvore dish.
Secrets to preparing raw kale
When I first made the transition to a plant based diet, I had no clue on how to work with raw kale. Like a lot of people I found it tough and bitter, and so I would only cook it. Turns out there are a few tricks to preparing raw kale that turns it into a great leafy green for your salads. They are:
- Strip the leaves off the stems - the stems are very tough and not good for a salad
- Chop or tear the kale into small bite size pieces, small strips work well too
- Massage the kale with your hands and an acidic liquid - I usually use lemon juice
You'll be surprised how these steps transform kale into something very edible and tasty. If you still need some help, below is a YouTube video that explains how to prepare raw kale.
An easy way to peel a pomegranate
A pomegranate is a another food that can be a challenge to cut and de-seed your first time. They are also messy. It got a lot easier once I knew to do the peeling in a bowl of water. If you have kids in the household, you can recruit them to do the peeling as it's fun and great for little nimble fingers. Here's how I do it:
- Cut the top of the pomegranate off and discard
- Locate the ridges and make cuts along those ridges where you are just cutting the skin of the fruit and not into the seeds. Don't worry if you don't see the ridges, just make several vertical cuts from top to bottom.
- Fill up a large bowl of water and put the pomegranate into the bowl
- while submerged, peel and separate the seeds from the chaff. The seeds will settle at the bottom while the chaff will float to the top, making for easy disposal.
- Strain the water from the seeds
Pomegranate season in the northern hemisphere runs from September to February and uncut pomegranates will keep up to a month.
Raw Kale Salad with Pomegranate Seeds, Couscous and Black Beans - Recipe
Here's the recipe:
For the salad:
- 5 cups of packed kale with stems removed
- 1/3 cup of dry couscous
- Pomegranate seeds from a small pomegranate
- 1 can of rinsed black beans
- 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- juice from 1 lemon (about a 1/4 of a cup>
- 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider
- 2 teaspoons agave syrup
- salt and pepper to taste
- Chop or tear kale in bite sized pieces.
- Prepare couscous according to package, I usually add a teaspoon of olive oil.
- Peel a pomegranate as described above. If the pomegranate is large, reserve about a third of the seeds for a separate snack.
- Combine dressing ingredients and then pour about 1/4 of it over the kale and massage it into the kale
- Massage until kale is thoroughly coated and mix in the rest of the dressing
- Stir in the black beans, the prepared couscous, sunflower seeds and pomegranate seeds
- Optionally garnish with a few small chunks of mango
You can serve this right away, or it will keep in the refrigerator for a few hours. Enjoy!