Kale Salad with Lemon, Almonds, and Nordic Cheese

Kale Salad with Lemon, Almonds and Cheese

When it comes to holiday meals, people generally think of rich, creamy, and calorie-laden  foods, but I don’t see why food has to be heavy in order to be festive. I found proof of that in Trine Hahnemann’s new book, Scandinavian Christmas, which includes a recipe for a raw kale salad with pomegranate, with the bright red seeds adding a decorative touch to the richly-colored greens.

Taking cues from Hahnemann as well as my sister- and brother-in-law’s restaurant, which is currently serving a kale salad with sunflower seeds and dried currants, I decided to come up with my own version. The raw kale leaves have a toothsome texture that is accented by the soft crunch of sliced almonds. The salad is given a fresh, silky touch with the flavors of good-quality olive oil and freshly-squeezed lemon juice, and is finished with some grated Nordic cheese to round it all out.

I hope you’ll give it a try in the weeks to come. It’s simple enough to put together for a weeknight dinner, but I think it’s special and festive enough to serve with a holiday meal as well. Enjoy!

Kale Salad with Lemon, Almonds, and Nordic Cheese

7-8 ounces (10-12 cups) kale leaves, stalk removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces
Juice of 1 large lemon (5 tablespoons)
4 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 cup Scandinavian cheese such as Herrgård or Västerbotten, grated

Put the kale leaves in a large salad bowl. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper until emulsified. Add the dressing to the kale and toss to combine. Add almonds and cheese and gently toss a little more until all ingredients are combined. Serve immediately.

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Saying Goodbye to Summer with a Trio of Salads

Summer Salads

When I was a kid, summer ended in the beginning of September, on the first day of school. These days, however, I let the season linger, embracing the last of the long days and warm weather as the season gently transitions to fall.

So I was caught by surprise the other day when I read a lovely post by Hannah of Honey & Jam. In honor of everything she loves about the approaching season, she looked ahead to the golden-lit, apple-filled, crisp days of autumn. Though the Seattle weather forecast has highs in the 70s and even 80 one day this week, I’ve now started to think about how I want to spend the remaining weeks of summer as I look forward to fall, one of my favorite seasons. On my late-summer list: sipping mojitos on the porch with my husband after work (he makes the best mojitos I’ve ever had), eating an abundance of perfectly-ripe late summer produce, and establishing a new routine of regular walking before it gets cold outside and I lose my motivation.

With that, I’d like to offer you a trio of summer salads as inspiration to take advantage of the best that summer has to offer before we welcome fall. These salads are from The Nordic Diet by Trina Hahnemann. Though the word “diet” is in the title, this book feels less like a diet book than a beautiful and delicious cookbook aimed at inspiring people to adopt healthy and sustainable eating practices while losing weight in the process. Serve these salads with grilled salmon or chicken and maybe a glass of chilled white wine or rosé and you’ll be in for a real treat.

Napa Cabbage with Shrimp, Watercress, and Radish

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
5 1/2 ounces napa cabbage (the original recipe calls for pointed cabbage), cut into inch-long slices
7 ounces cooked bay shrimp
5 ounces radishes, thinly sliced
2 ounces watercress

Whisk vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper together in the bottom of a large bowl. Add cabbage, shrimp, radishes, and watercress, and toss until combined.

Tomato, Cucumber, and Mint Salad

1 cucumber
9 ounces cherry tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped mint
salt and pepper
juice from half a lemon

Cut cucumber in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut into thin slices. Halve the tomatoes. Combine cucumber and tomatoes with the mint, salt and pepper, and lemon juice, and serve.

Fennel, Strawberry, and Feta Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

1 head of fennel, thinly sliced with a mandoline grater
1 cup strawberries, sliced
1 cup crumbled feta
1/2 cup raspberries
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or raspberry vinegar

Soak the sliced fennel in cold water for 30 minutes to allow the edges to curl up. Drain well, then gently toss with the strawberry slices and feta. Make the dressing by blending the raspberries and vinegar in a food processor or blender, and drizzle over the salad.

Recipes serve four or more people.

Full disclosure: I received a review copy of The Nordic Diet from the publisher. However, I made no promises to give a positive review, and am sharing my honest opinions of this book.

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One last summer salad

Today’s recipe needs no explanation, other than to say it came from a whim when I spotted some beautiful heirloom tomatoes recently and wanted to capture one last little bit of summer before fall fully set in. Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

3-4 heirloom tomatoes of various sizes and colors, sliced
Salad greens
White goat cheese (I like Laura Chenel chevre)
Fresh marjoram, chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil of the best quality you have

Spread salad greens onto each plate, then top with sliced tomatoes in a decorative arrangement. For example, if you have three colors of tomatoes in three different sizes, consider stacking them. Crumble cheese over each plate, sprinkle with marjoram, then drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and serve.