I like to make this as a quick dinner during the week. Kale, (especially in its raw form), is packed with nutrients, easy to prepare and tastes really good when paired with other textures and complimentary flavors. For this dish, I made a dressing by reducing some sweet, tangy and salty ingredients with toasted sesame oil and a touch of pomegranate molasses. The dry-fried tofu “croutons” adds some ‘heartiness’ to this perfect healthy and sublimely easy dinner. Bon Appetit!
for the dressing:
♦♦ 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
♦♦ 1/8 cup toasted sesame oil
♦♦ 1 TB soy sauce
♦♦ 1 TB raw agave nectar
♦♦ 1 tsp pomegranate molasses – (An unusual ingredient with a wide range of creative uses. Add zip to your barbecue sauce, drizzle around foie gras or add delicious sweetness to your breads. Even use as a topping for your desserts and waffles. An essential for a creative chef, like me!) (Buy it or see recipe below)
♦♦ crushed macadamia nuts (optional)
coconut oil for frying the tofu (*Love Spectrum organic, expeller pressed)
for the salad:
♦♦ 14 oz. firm tofu, cubed into dice-sized pieces (no need to press the tofu: dry-frying actually works better when there is some moisture left in the tofu.)
♦♦ 1 bunch of curly kale, (actually I’ve made this with Rainbow Kale too) bulky stems cut out and cut into small strips
pomegranate seeds (seasonal and if you feel like it, sometimes, I sub strawberries or green papaya – last night it was berries and green papaya!)
Whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat some coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Dry-fry the tofu cubes on each side until browned, about 7 minutes per side. (I really like to do all sides as I prefer it a bit crispier.) Add the dressing to the saute pan and heat until its bubbly and slightly thick, about 3 minutes. Transfer the tofu cubes and dressing into another bowl to cool.
Toss the kale, tofu and dressing together until well combined. Top with the pomegranate seeds, green papaya shreds and/or mac nuts! Enjoy!
Makes about 3/4 cup
Pretty sure this originated in Turkey, but I do know that it is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, pomegranate molasses adds a tangy-sweet flavor to salad dressings, marinades, and meat glazes. Although you can buy it in specialty stores and Middle Eastern markets, making your own is a snap. Just slowly reduce fresh pomegranate and lemon juice with a little sugar until it thickens into a molasses-like syrup. If you prefer a sweeter syrup, simply increase the sugar to taste. Needless to say, the anti-oxident properties are an added bonus!
♦♦ 3 cups pomegranate juice
♦♦ 3 tablespoons sugar
♦♦ 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place the juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, at a brisk simmer until the juice has reduced to 3/4 cup, about 45 minutes. The liquid will thicken as it cools.
Transfer the molasses to a clean jar, seal tightly, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
(original recipe idea (to eat Kale raw in a salad was ripped from a delicious Farmer’s Choice salad we had at Flatbread in Paia, HI and Thanks!)
photo credit: Getty Images