03 July 2012

RECIPE: Southwest Kale Salad

It is currently raining BUCKETS where I am.  I had dreams of riding my bike today--twice, actually--but both times my dreams were dashed by TORRENTIAL downpour.  I can deal with droplets but what my city experienced today was NOT droplets (or even drops, for that matter).

The positive side effect of the rain is that it forced me inside.  What's inside?  My laptop.  What's on my laptop?  This thing called the internet.  And what awaits me on the internet??  My blog!  So day one of my "regimented" (ie: after work) blog schedule is going well because here I am!  Blogging! 

For today's post I am providing a recipe, which is something I have not done in a while...quite a while, actually, and I want to start including them more often because as a vegan, myself, I am constantly scouring the internet for recipes and am so appreciative of the recipes others provide.  If I can somehow return the favor and provide my own recipes that people like (or I do, anyway), then that's what I'll do!

I was in the mood for something spicy for lunch that would use up quite a few of the ingredients in my fridge and still taste good.  I concocted what I am calling a "Southwest Kale Salad."  It, like many of my recipes, is incredibly easy to make and can be made even easier if you choose not to roast the cumin seeds, corn and cherry tomatoes and instead just throw 'em on the salad (but I would HIGHLY discourage skipping the toasting/roasting step, as IT is what makes the salad, in my opinion).

Southwest Kale Salad

Serves 1


-  3-4 stalks kale, depending on size
-  1/3 c. sweet corn
-  6 or 7 cherry tomatoes
-  1/4 avocado, diced
-  Small handful cilantro
-  1 T. toasted whole cumin seeds (if you want to, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind the seeds, which will release more flavor, but I like the texture contrast of the whole seeds!)
-  Southwest Dressing (recipe follows)
-  Sea salt, to taste

Southwest Dressing
-  2 T. non-dairy milk (you could also use vegan sour cream if you have it on hand and want a thicker texture, in which case you could omit the apple cider vinegar)
-  2 t. Cholula, or other hot sauce (although as many of you know, Cholula is my F-A-V-O-R-I-T-E)
-  1/2 t. tabasco sauce
-  1/2 t. apple cider vinegar
-  Juice of one small lime
-  1/4 t. taco spice mix (if you don't have one pre-mixed, you can just sprinkle into your dressing a little cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, onion powder and whatever else you're fond of, to taste)
*Note:  This recipe makes enough dressing for one salad so if you find you really like it and would like to have it around, I suggest multiplying the quantities of each ingredient by eight.  That will give you a nice amount of dressing to have around for awhile but not so much that it will be sour by the time you finish it.  I usually just make enough for my salad because it's really the only dish I have it with.


1.  Preheat oven to 400' and place a skillet on a burner over medium-high.
2.  While oven and stove are heating, use a fork to whisk together dressing ingredients and place in refrigerator.
3.  Once oven is preheated, place cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet.  Toss tomatoes in oil and salt and pepper generously.  Let roast in oven for 15-20 minutes, checking constantly towards the end so as not to let them burn.  Tomatoes will be done when they look like they're about to pop (it's okay if some actually do).
4.  Meanwhile, chop kale and massage dressing into leaves.  Sprinkle leaves with sea salt to "wilt" them.  Let kale sit and marinate while you prepare other ingredients.
5.  Toast cumin seeds by placing them in the hot skillet and immediately removing the skillet from the heat.  Seeds will pop, hop and crackle, so give the skillet some good shakes and when the seeds begin to brown and release their aroma, immediately pour them into a dish and place them in the refrigerator or freezer so they stop toasting.  Using the same skillet, pour the corn in and let the kernels toast for about 3 minutes per side, leaving the skillet on the burner this time.  When fully toasted, take skillet off burner and set aside.
6.  Assemble salad by adding corn, tomatoes, avocado, cilantro and cumin seeds.

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