Winter Salad Tip: Making Tough Greens Soft

by | Jan 11, 2010
Winter Salads

Winter Salads

Today Nathalie Lussier is sharing her secret tips for making tough winter greens soft enough to eat in salads. Winter salads are a perfect use for all the lovely radishes, kohlrabi, carrots, beets and other sweet vegetables available this season at the farmers market.

Top off your salad with hazelnuts, grapefruit and some shaved cheese for a satisfying winter meal or side dish.

Nathalie Lussier helps people overcome unhealthy food cravings so they can eat more fruits and vegetables, and experience the magick of raw foods. She’s known as The Raw Foods Witch.

How To Use Winter Greens In A Salad

by Nathalie Lussier

Winter might not strike you as salad season, but there are plenty of delicious hearty greens to be had this time of year. One trick is to marinate the leaves so they soften and are easier to chew.

Here’s how to prepare some of these tougher greens and enjoy rich, satisfying salads year round.

Choosing Hearty Greens

The foundation of any good salad is the green component. Usually we think of lettuce, but there is a world of other greens to explore.

So what options do we have when it comes to hearty greens?

1. Kale: Kale is a tough vegetable that can handle the cold. It has a strong taste, but with a little bit of massaging it can make a really satisfying salad green. There are a few varieties, from the most common curly green to the spotty dinosaur (aka Tuscan) and beautiful purple kales. They are each slightly different and you should experiment with them all.

2. Cabbage: Cabbage is a tried and true winter veggie, but we can go beyond the usual coleslaw, saurkraut and cooked cabbage. Different colored cabbage adds beauty and variety to your salads, as well as sweetness and a crispy texture.

3. Swiss Chard: A relative of spinach, Swiss chard has a thick midrib that comes in a rainbow of colors like green, white, red, pink, and yellow. Swiss chard is great in salads and can be easier to chew than some of the others.

Washing & Cutting The Greens

kale-destem

De-stemming Tuscan Kale

Wash the greens thoroughly, you never know when a caterpillar will decide to make her home in a leaf of kale.

The way you cut the greens is important because you want them to absorb the marinade and soften.

Cutting Kale and Swiss Chard

For both kale and Swiss chard, you need to remove the stems by using a knife and slicing them out vertically. You can then chop up the stems and add them back to the salad like you would celery or other hard vegetables.

After you’ve removed the stems, slice the kale and chard horizontally into 1 inch strips. Put the sliced greens in a large bowl.

Don’t worry if you think you sliced up too much, it will shrink down in size as it marinates.

Cutting Cabbage

If you’re using cabbage, cut the cabbage in half and then use a knife to cut thin strips. These should look like coleslaw slices. You may have to cut them lengthwise if they are too long.

I recommend you cut the whole cabbage and make a big batch, unless you have something else planned for the other half. Making large batches at once makes future healthy meals that much easier.

Massaging & Marinating The Greens

This is the magic part that will take regular tough greens and turn them into the perfect salad.

Ingredients

  • Your chosen greens or a combination of them (1 bunch)
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or more as needed
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Pinch of Celtic sea salt

Now it’s time to get your hands dirty! Add the ingredients into your mixing bowl and massage them into the greens with your hands.

You really want to squeeze the oils and juices into the greens, because that’s what will make them truly mouthwatering.

The Final Touches

After you’ve thoroughly massaged your winter green salad, add any other chopped vegetables you like, or any of these salad toppings.

Dress the greens and veggies for a hearty, satisfying winter salad!

Don’t let tough winter greens turn you off salads. Once you know how to make those winter greens more palatable, you’ll be eating delicious raw salads all year round!

Do you have any winter salad tips?

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7 Responses to “Winter Salad Tip: Making Tough Greens Soft”

  1. I love how you added the fresh seasonal winter veggies like radishes, carrots, and beets at the beginning. Those are awesome winter staples and I’ve been enjoying them in my salads too! :)

  2. Matt Shook says:

    A very informative and timely post Nathalie! I have been making a lot of salads lately and was looking for some fresh ideas…this simple marinated kale recipe looks fantastic. I’m definitely going to try it out this week!

  3. Hi Matt, I’m so glad you found it useful! It’s a great way to make the most of those winter veggies, and to keep your salad greens rotating a little too. ;) Let us know how it works out!

  4. Hey Nathalie. Good to read your post here and be introduced to a new website. Thanks. I massage kale regularly, never tried cabbage. Does it soften too?

  5. Hi Nancy! Glad you made it here. :) The reason I like to “shred” cabbage smaller than kale is that it doesn’t soften as much as kale or swiss chard might. But it does taste great marinated!

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