This salad surely packs a crunch in your mouth just like the leaves underneath your feet on a late autumn day. With the utilization of fresh fruits and veggies that are currently in season, this salad is full of flavor, and unlike many bowls of 'leaves', actually keeps you feeling full and satisfied.
Before delving into the recipe, I'd like to first highlight the benefits of choosing to eat in season, as this is truly highlighted with the ingredients used to make this salad.
So, what the heck does eating in season exactly mean, you may ask?
It means biting into a juicy apple on a brisk October day. Slicing into a fresh piece of watermelon on a steamy summer afternoon. Filling your belly with a hearty stew on a frigid day in January. And it also means maybe it'd be best to wait on buying those tomatoes until next June. Eating in season means you are consuming foods that are currently being cultivated by your local farmers. By doing so, we are supporting local agriculture and reducing our carbon foot print by cutting down the support of companies that truck around foods to every part of the world.
When a food has traveled hundreds or thousands of miles, it not only loses some of its taste, but also some of its nutrient content. The plant has to be picked ahead of time before its actually ripe so that it can last until you get your hands on it, aka it never fully grows to its true potential. When we eat foods that are grown relatively close to us, we can then take advantage of the true nutrient content of that specific food. Not to mention, your wallet will also thank you, as these foods are typically cheaper. (ever look at the price tag of raspberries in the dead of winter?)
And last, but perhaps the most important part of consuming foods in season is that it forces you to become aware of the present moment. Our bodies are pretty magnificent -- the way we can self regulate ourselves to adapt to most situations is often taken for granted. How our salivary glands ramp up when viewing a glass of ice cold water after a long run in the dead heat of summer, or how our stomach grumbles for that hearty soup + rustic loaf of bread after being outside in the cold for too long. Our bodies are constantly telling us something, and its for good reason.
Interested in learning how to establish a better relationship with the current produce offered in your area? The easiest way is to frequent your local farmer's market, or join a CSA (community supported agriculture) to get deliveries of locally grown food. This is quite interesting, as it challenges you to create meals based on what you get in your box :). For more information, search for CSA's in your local area.
OK, so now onto this kale and apple goodness.
This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite markets/ cafes in Washington, D.C., Glen's Garden Market. After spending the past year and a half trekking to Dupont Circle for yoga teacher training (and now teaching!), I found this gem by the recommendation of one of my past yoga teachers. Each time I go, their kale salad always ends up on my plate, and I've definitely started a tribe of kale salad aficionados in my circle of friends.
Glen's has an amazing array of ready prepared foods that utilize only ingredients that come from the city's local farms and businesses, while their entire infrastructure supports sustainability practices. Their deli bar is to die for (offering a host of vegan/vegetarian options), the sandwiches and pizzas are pretty dope, and they serve $4 beers each day no matter what time. Are you sold yet? To top it all off, they are opening a second location right in my neighborhood in the next month!!
Late Autumn Kale& Apple Salad w/ Tahini Garlic Dressing
3 large handfuls of kale, chopped with stems removed
3/4 large apple or 1 medium apple (LOCAL!), chopped
1/4 C. raw sunflower seeds
For the Dressing:
1/4 C. tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
pinch of sea salt
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
water to thin, (add 1 Tbsp at a time)
In a small mixing bowl, combine all salad dressing ingredients and whisk together. Gradually add in water 1 Tbsp at a time until you reach your desired thickness. The sweetness from the apple cider vinegar and honey creates a nice balance of flavor.
Next, place chopped kale in a large bowl. Add about half the dressing onto kale, and show your salad some love! Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale, as massaging the acid from the lemon and vinegar help break down the cell wall of the leaves to soften up the texture. Continue to add dressing as you desire, though you may have some left over. Throw in your apples and sunflower seeds, and give it one last toss before its ready to plate. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.