Cook the Book: Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut

[Photographs: Heidi Swanson]

Something magical happens when you put dry kale in the oven. As the moisture leaves the tough raw kale, the leaves are transformed into dark green potato chip-crisp bites. Health food aficionados call them kale chips and virtuously sub them in for starchier snacks. Heidi Swanson, author of Super Natural Every Day, takes kale chips a step further by using them as a base for a grain salad.

Swanson's Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut takes the basic kale chip-making method and dresses it up by adding unsweetened large-flake coconut to the kale and seasoning with soy and sesame oil. In a matter of just about 15 minutes, the kale dehydrates and the coconut caramelizes and soaks in all of that deep sesame-soy flavor. Once you've got your crunchy, umami-ified coconut and kale you can mix it with any cooked grain that you'd like. I chose farro, thinking that its rich nuttiness would sync with the crisp, soy glazed crunchies, and it worked beautifully; but quinoa, wild rice, or any other whole grain would also do the trick.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Super Natural Every Day to give away this week.

Reprinted with permission from Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson and her blog, 101 Cookbooks. Copyright © 2011. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.

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Cook the Book: Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut

About This Recipe

Yield:4
Active time:15 minutes
Total time:15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup / 80 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons shoyu, tamari, or soy sauce
  • 3 1/2 lightly packed cups / 3.5 oz / 100 g chopped kale, stems trimmed, large ribs removed
  • 1 1/2 cups / 3 oz / 85 g unsweetened large-flake coconut
  • 2 cups / 9 oz / 255 g cooked farro or other whole grain (optional)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C with two racks in the top third of the oven.

  2. 2

    In a small bowl or jar, whisk or shake together the olive oil, sesame oil, and shoyu. Put the kale and coconut in a large bowl and toss well with about two-thirds of the olive oil mixture.

  3. 3

    Spread the kale evenly across two baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 18 minutes, until the coconut is deeply golden brown, tossing once or twice along the way. If the kale mixture on the top baking sheet begins to get too browned, move it to the lower rack.

  4. 4

    Remove from the oven and transfer the kale mixture to a medium bowl. Taste. If you feel it needs a bit more dressing, add some and toss. Place the farro on a serving platter and top with the tossed kale. Serve warm.

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