I made this dish for my sister's birthday brunch in the Irish countryside and hope that you enjoy it as much as all our guests did—even the nonveggie lovers. It was inspired by a visit to a local farmer's market where I found an organic farmer selling giant bunches of kale and heads of cabbage and the most delicious Irish apples. My sister grows chives and other herbs in her garden, and I was inspired by the color of the chive flowers; they also added a lovely pungent flavor to the salad. Of course, as with all my recipes, feel free to add your own twist and use whatever veggies you can find locally. At the end, I've added some variations to inspire your creativity.
I love kale—I may be turning eccentric in my old age, but seriously: I have it for breakfast! It's packed full of nutrients vital for health and beauty, including calcium, magnesium and vitamin K—vital for bone health—vitamin C, iron, chlorophyll and phytonutrients. Most people never venture beyond simply steaming or boiling their veggies, and I'm hoping you'll venture with me into new territory and discover just how versatile these humble jewels of the earth are.
Remove the stalks from the kale and finely shred the leaves. Cut the stalks into thin diagonal slivers. Finely shred the cabbage and cut the apple, carrot and cucumber into thin julienne strips (like matchsticks). Combine all the veggies in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with the olive oil, lime juice, agave syrup and vinegar. Massage the salad with your hands so it sort of wilts. Serve in a nice bowl and sprinkle the leaves of the chive flowers over the top.
- Umeboshi vinegar is a salty vinegar made from Japanese pickled plums, which is one of my favorite seasonings. It can be found in most health food stores, and I promise that it's worth seeking out. If you can't find it, you can substitute soy sauce in the salad, or even a couple of large pinches of sea salt, and add a little more lime juice.
- When using raw leafy veggies in a salad, it's a good idea to soak them first in a basin of water to which you add about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. This will get rid of any critters that may be lurking in your veggies.
- You can use lemon juice in place of the lime.
- Agave syrup is a sweetener made from the agave cactus and is very low on the glycemic index so it's safe for people with diabetes. You can substitute honey if you can't find it locally.
- If you can't find chive flowers you can use other edible flowers, such as nasturtiums, which have a lovely peppery flavor and vibrant color—or you can omit the flowers.
- Other veggies besides kale can be used, such as collard greens or bok choy, fennel, celery, red cabbage, corn kernels—be creative with what you have available.
- To make the tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds, simply dry roast the seeds on a pan over a medium to low heat until they start to brown and pop. Drizzle with a little tamari (soy sauce) and turn off the heat. You could use sunflower seeds or chopped almonds in place of the pumpkin seeds.