I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: it’s too hot to do any serious cooking or baking. Hence summertime seems prime for raw food recipes. When I got a waitressing job at the fancy raw food restaurant, I promised to share a few raw food recipes on the blog. I came up with the concept for this salad on my own; it’s inspired by a different raw kale salad at work, and some other salads I’ve enjoyed elsewhere.
The basic premise behind the raw food movement is that the enzymes naturally present in raw fruits, vegetables and sprouted grains start breaking down when they’re heated above 105 to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Those enzymes help our bodies digest food; when we kill them off, our bodies have to make the enzymes, which consumes energy and is basically unnecessary and counterproductive. Some vitamins tend to lose their potency when exposed to high temperatures as well. Basically, the raw food movement’s goal is to retain all the inherent goodness present in food in its original form.
I’ve always been a fan of raw and cooked vegetables and fruit, but only recently started thinking more about how cooking affects the nutrition content of food. I’m certainly not vegan, though, and I’ll never give up baked whole grain bread, or my favorite cold weather soups. I also know that heating some produce, like tomatoes and sweet potatoes, actually enhances their nutrition profiles.
While I’ll never be a raw food purist, there’s no denying the health benefits of eating fresh, raw fruits and veggies. This salad is an example of how delicious raw food can be. It’s so filling and flavorful, you don’t even have to know about raw food to appreciate it. It’s just good.
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (preferably cold pressed)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste (keep in mind that you will be salting the kale)
- 4 to 5 big stalks of green or purple kale
- 1 small green apple, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 avocado, cubed
- 1 tablespoon red onion, sliced into thin strips
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.
- Pull the kale leaves off from the tough stem, and break into small, bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with salt, and massage the leaves for a couple of minutes, meaning that you should scrunch handfulls of kale in your palms, release, and repeat. The kale will become darker in color and more fragrant. This step makes the raw kale tastier.
- Throw the kale into a bowl, drizzle with the salad dressing, and mix thoroughly. Toss in the avocado, apple and red onion.
- Salad dressing adapted from The Raw Difference.
- Salad ingredients listed above yield one big salad. You may have leftover dressing, just save it an airtight container for later.