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Do you really need another recipe for kale salad? You may think not. But this recipe, from Deborah Madison's recently re-released cookbook, The New Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, offers a couple of techniques that can add new life to the perhaps overly trendy dish. First, she toasts a batch of soy- and shichimi togarashi-glazed pumpkin seeds to toss with the greens. The hot seeds readily absorb the umami-filled sauce and heat of the Japanese chile—they're addictive on their own and a genius addition to the earthy kale. Madison also uses a hot vinaigrette for the salad, which wilts the kale within seconds and prevents any need to massage or marinate before serving. Your tired hands will thank you.
Why I picked this recipe: I'll be honest, I didn't think I wanted to assemble yet another kale salad, but the glazed pumpkin seeds swayed me. I can't say no to shichimi togarashi.
What worked:This salad is quick, easy, and a worthy addition to my kale repertoire.
What didn't: Nothing.
Suggested tweaks: If you've got the shichimi togarashi, you might as well sprinkle some more of it over the finished salad. (Why not?) If you can't find it, you can sprinkle a little cayenne on the seeds for heat. The recipe doubles easily if you'd like to serve it for a party. It also holds up very well in the fridge, so it makes a great make-ahead lunch.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, SFoodie, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.