Let’s face it: cleaning and preparing fresh vegetables can be a bit of a bother when you’re ready to eat. You have to have an empty sink to wash the vegetables, a clear counter to lay a cutting board…a knife. It’s asking a lot; I know the struggle. That’s why the best thing you can do to up your vegetable consumption is to get the hard work done before the vegetables even find your fridge. All lettuce and greens can be washed in advance. With kale you can go the extra step to chop, season and dress it a few days early. The sturdy greens will soak up the added flavors and soften just enough to be easier to chew. With a delicious ready-made salad in your fridge, you’ll find yourself adding a mound of greens to your place any time of day instead of reaching for snack food or take-out menus.
That’s where this salad comes in – when it’s time to get creative with different kale concoctions throughout the week. Yes it’s bacon and bread and all that (heavenly) grease. But situated into a week of quick and easy nutrient-boosted meals, it’s a contradiction that shouldn’t make you feel too guilty. #sorrynotsorry if this is how you’ll want to eat kale salad from now on.
Aside from the kale, to make this panzanella you’ll want a decent slice of sandwich bread per serving. I used a dense loaf with herbs baked in and it soaked up some oil, formed a crisp exterior, and still had a nice soft bite. And bacon! If your one of those who does not eat vegetables, hopefully this will rock you past your protest. (And then next time you’ll enjoy it without the bacon and we’ve converted you to the green side!)
- 1 bunch kale
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or oregano
- 1 lime
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 slices bacon
- 6 slices thick sandwich bread, cubed
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 avocado, diced (optional)
- Wash kale by submerging in a large bowl of cold water, letting the grit fall to the bottom and changing water as needed. Remove the tough center rib of each leaf and chop into small pieces.
- Toss kale with onion, jalapeño, fresh herbs, zest and juice of lime, and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be made a few days in advance. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed container.)
- Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Once browned on one side, flip and continue to watch closely as it cooks. Remove when crisp and cut or crumble into small pieces. Pour off grease until only about 2 tablespoons remain in the pan.
- Add bread cubes to pan and stir to cook on all sides. Toss into kale salad with bacon pieces, tomato, and optional avocado. Enjoy while bacon remains warm.