I make this salad 3 or 4 times a week. It is my go-to because it goes with everything and is so easy to throw together (once you have the cashew parm in the fridge). Once you've made the cashew parm, you'll see how easy that is to throw together too! I don't measure the ingredients, I just throw a clove of garlic in the food processor with what looks to be a cup or so of cashews, add some salt, and buzz till fine. Then I store it in a jar in the fridge, so next time I want this salad everything is ready.
A word about the vinegars: This recipe calls for red wine vinegar and umeboshi vinegar. If you haven't heard of umeboshi vinegar, it is a Japanese condiment made from the pickled plum and beefsteak leaves (shiso). You can get it at your local health food store. It is a wonderful condiment, more salty than vinegary, and it is absolutely delicious over steamed vegetables or greens. I highly recommend trying it out. But, as an alternative, this salad can also be made simply with olive oil and lemon juice, and omit the vinegars. You may need to add a little more salt to taste, but it is very good this way too.
If you haven't discovered the joy of Little Pond Farm's red and green leaf lettuce, or their red and green romaine, you have been missing out. All through the season I can't seem to get enough of these perfect tender heads of lettuce, they are nothing like what you can buy in a store! However, you can use store-bought lettuce too, or even arugula - the peppery taste goes so well with the parm.
Finally, I'll share with you that I sometimes make this salad a meal in itself, by adding some chopped pan-seared "chicken tenders" that I get at Trader Joes. Processed vegan meats are not the healthiest choice, but once and a while they really hit the spot, and work great in this salad.
For the cashew-parm:
1 cup roasted cashews
1 clove garlic
1/2 t salt
Combine in a food processor, process until the cashews are fine, like grated Parmesan.
Store in an airtight jar for up to 1 week in the fridge. This recipe is enough for 4-6 salads.
For the salad:
1 head lettuce: red leaf, romaine, green leaf
2 T olive oil
1-2 T red wine vinegar
1 T umeboshi vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the “butt” off the bottom of the lettuce and wash the leaves, or dunk them in a bowl of water. Let them drain in a colander for a minute. Tear or chop the lettuce into 1 inch pieces, in a large salad bowl. Add the olive oil, vinegars, salt and pepper. Add about a 1/4 cup of the cashew-parm, and toss well with salad tongs. Adjust for more vinegar, salt or parm to taste.
Every time I go to San Diego for Sports Medicine Acupuncture training, I eat lunch every day at Ocean Beach People's Food Coop. Their deli is an homage to California vegetarian food - the cuisine that started the "fad" for healthy, fresh, plant-based dishes that is so popular everywhere now. When you go to People's you know that you can get fresh whole-food vegan meals, with plenty of vegetables. One of my favorite dishes to see available in their deli case is the Almond Kale Supreme.. it is a rich, creamy kale salad with plenty of crunch! It goes with just about everything, and I simply can't resist it whenever it is there. The people at People's were kind enough to share their recipe for Almond Kale Supreme, I hope you enjoy it too!
p.s. the cooler weather is the perfect time to use kale.. it gets sweeter when it's colder out!
Slightly obsessed with OB People's Coop? My bumper sticker :)
Almond Kale Supreme Salad
2 bunches kale, sliced thinly
2-3 stalks celery, sliced thin
2/3 bunch of scallions, sliced thin
1 1/2 ripe avocado, cubed
2/3 cup tamari roasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup almond butter
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos
Blend or mix the dressing well, pour over all other ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Recipe is courtesy of Ocean Beach People’s Food Coop.