Did you know that I’m one of the luckiest gals on the block? I think you may already be aware that I have some awesome neighbours. When I bake an overabundance of sweets I love sharing with the lovely people who live on my street. I have known most of them since we moved into our home in 1988 so it’s safe to say, we are pretty familiar with each other and have watched our families grow.
One of my neighbours in particular has the most wonderful talent for growing her garden. In fact, she has the most unbelievable gardens on the block. It extends from the backyard to the front driveway.
Essentially, if you’re going for a walk you’re more than welcome to stop and pick up some produce on the way home. Not joking here. She is so lovely and generous and has opened her garden for the taking to me many times.
Last week, I strolled over and grabbed some greens to make a signature salad for the blog. There were so many types of kale, spinach and rainbow chard it was a no brainer to come up with this sensational, healthy salad.
Just as a side note, Janet is also the founder of RAINBOW PLATE. Have a look at what she does and how meaningful her work is. I’m so happy that she’s just down the street and has a green thumb because I sure don’t.
Now, there might be a few of you who don’t know what the secret is to having your raw KALE being as soft as possible. How many of you have used kale in a recipe and found it to be dry and chewy? I know it’s happened to me time and time again. My daughter-in-law let me in on the secret and it’s MASSAGE. Yes, massage your kale folks. The reason behind this is: Massaging the kale helps to break down the tough cell structure and gives the kale a softer texture and a gentler flavor, that’s more appealing in a lot of raw preparations like salads, and is supposedly easier to digest, too!
When I prepared this salad, it was not only a labour of love but a very therapeutic literal “hands on” experience. I don’t think I have ever massaged my food so much in my life. No wonder my salad was so soft! Here’s how to get to know your kale by massaging it. Gently rub the kale leaves through both of your hands until you notice it beginning to soften. It should take less than a minute but I couldn’t help myself and went at it longer because I didn’t want the leaves to remain crisp.
And just like with any well dressed salad, the ingredient list for the vinaigrette is quite delicious while remaining simple. I think you are going to love this rainbow plate as much as I did and I want to thank Janet again for allowing me to forage through her beautiful garden.
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp honey, agave or maple syrup
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch of black pepper
- Assorted kale, spinach and rainbow chard, stems removed and finely chopped ( I used a half a bunch of kale, a half a bunch of spinach and 6 rainbow chard leaves and stems)
- 2 fresh peaches, sliced
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries or currants)
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- In small bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, honey (or agave or maple syrup), salt and pepper.
- Add chopped greens to a medium bowl. Drizzle with dressing and massage into leaves until well coated. Let stand for for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- When ready to serve add pine nuts, sliced peaches and dried fruit then toss to coat. Garnish with shaved Parmesan cheese.