Louie, Louie (a Green Salad Recipe with Kale)
"Oh yeah yeah, yeah yeah yeah..."
I sing this song in my head whenever I make this easy, no-brainer green salad. It's actually the name of a salad from a local pizza eatery that I love! So I switched it up a bit, and attempted my own version (since the pizza place didn't list their dressing, I guessed). And I made it from kale- the super leafy green I talked about here.
I'm a huge fan of vinaigrette or olive oil with balsamic dressings- but for group gatherings and my family dinner I go with the ever popular bottled creamy dressing to avoid any salad neglect and up turned kids' noses- but it's mixed into the salad instead of topped. I even tried to make my own healthy version once, and it didn't have the right consistency and turned people off of my pretty salad. :( So, in the meantime, I went back to the Kraft bottle. You only need a few things- first, being kale-
and we usually go with organic dinosaur kale. I haven't mastered the art of massaging the lacinto kale and it's got such a bite of flavor all it's own without anything extra. And then you need Parmesan (here, again, fresher, actually grated versions are better, but I went with the dried 'fridge variety as my backup), sliced almonds (not slivered! the horror! because they look like bugs to my 6 y/o), and cucumber ranch dressing.
Regular or buttermilk ranch mixed in just didn't have the right flavor- and made it overpowering in my earlier versions- so cucumber is my top choice here. It's actually kind of like a non-Caesar, Caesar salad, maybe? The original version had spinach leaves, but kale is just so much better all around. :)
Be sure to wash and chop the kale to your liking. I always de-stem mine, but you can find some great kale prep tips over at Elana's Pantry. To your kale, add:
- 1/4 cup parm (grated, bottled, etc.)
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 4 Tbsp. cucumber ranch dressing
And toss it all together. Serve immediately (especially to avoid any wilting or soggy kale). That's it. #nom
You may or may not think it's enough dressing for a big bunch of kale, but the parm helps out the flavor. And if you're going with creamy, less is always more. It helps minimize overdoing the gobs of ranchness that Sillyboy sometimes feels the need for. I pop that bottle right back into the 'fridge. It's an easy, no-brainer green salad that doesn't have a lot of ingredients or chopping (you could even have your kiddo tear the leaves themselves!) involved. Toss and serve. It's my go-to on busy nights when need some green with dinner.
In this version below, I mixed kale with some leftover organic romaine hearts (and you know how much I love them!) in together- double-greens.
What's your favorite go-to salad? What do you limit your creamy dressings on?