A unique take on kale salad from Gjelina – one of Los Angeles’s most talked-about restaurants, lauded by critics and beloved by stars, locals, and out-of-towners alike for its seductive simplicity and eclectic Cal-Med menu from talented chef Travis Lett.
Tired of the usual kale salad? Try grilling kale – you will love how crispy the charred edges are – kind of like eating kale chips, and the tangy yogurt dressing is deliciously cool and refreshing with a satisfying nutty crunch from toasted hazelnuts.
It’s a darn good thing that I’ve always been committed to cooking healthy, nutritious meals for my family since Day 1, because now it’s a life or death call to action. If I hadn’t been interested in health and nutrition since I was a teenager eating brewer’s yeast (what teen does that?), been eliminating processed foods, sugar, and salt from our diet for over a decade, and making home-cooked meals nearly every night, then the recent turn of events would seem like an almost insurmountable task.
(To qualify the overused and often misused words “healthy and nutritious”, I mean balanced meals that include protein, carbs with fiber from whole grains and lots of fresh vegetables – many from our garden – and fruits with very few foods from a can, box, or jar.)
The reason why it’s a darn good thing is it’s making the adaptation to my husband’s cardiologist-mandated strict low-sodium diet a little less brutal than if we were in the habit of drive-through breakfasts, fast food lunches, or takeout dinners on a regular basis. And, it’s still been tough because, although I diligently read labels, its amazing how insidious sodium is until you’re trying to consume less than 2,000 milligrams a day! A few slices of deli turkey (920 mg) with low-cal mayo (125 mg) between two slices of whole wheat bread (320 – 160 for each slice) with NO cheese, sounds pretty healthy, but has a whopping 1365 mg of sodium, nearly all of his daily recommended allowance of 1500 mg, and that’s just lunch! Fortunately, I discovered Low-Sodium Ezekiel bread which has 0 sodium and The Don is enjoying avocado, tomato, and cucumber veggie sandwiches several days a week.
But let’s get to today’s recipe which I found online at L.A. Times Food after reading a very interesting article on how restaurants are cutting back on salt and hoping you won’t notice it. I was looking for a creative recipe for the kale that I picked up when shopping for ingredients for my Farmers Market Makeover entry and this was a unique take on kale salad. I loved how crispy the charred edges were – kind of like eating kale chips, and the tangy yogurt dressing was deliciously refreshing with a satisfying crunch from the hazelnuts.
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 shallot, very thinly sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 10 mint leaves, chopped
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- 3-4 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or to taste
- Freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup raw hazelnuts (skin on)
- 2 bunches Russian kale, stems removed*
- Heat the oven (or toaster oven) to 350 degrees. Heat your grill to medium-high heat or a grill pan over medium-high heat until hot.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, shallot, garlic, mint, ¼ cup olive oil, red wine vinegar, and ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. This makes about 1½ cups dressing, more than is needed for this recipe. The dressing will keep for up to 3 days, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed cookie sheet and toast in the oven until fragrant and golden, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the hazelnuts to a clean, damp kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins. Chop roughly and set aside.
- Place the greens in a bowl and lightly coat with the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper. Place the greens on the grill until edges are slightly charred, 1-2 minutes depending on how hot your grill is. Move the greens around to avoid burning and continue wilting for another minute or so.
- They should be slightly charred on the edges and softened in the middle.
- Remove the greens to a large bowl or platter. Top with desired amount of dressing and sprinkle with hazelnuts. Serve immediately.
From L.A. Times Test Kitchen - Adapted from Travis Lett of Gjelina