The Perfect Summer Salad

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I cannot get enough of this salad.  It is one of the most simple and delicious salads that I’ve made nearly everyday for lunch this past summer! It is filled to the brim with juicy nectarines, crisp apples, sweet bites of currant and crunchy pumpkin seeds.  This summer salad is a little different in that we massage the kale leaves before eating. This may sound a bit odd but since kale generally has a tough texture no one would think to eat it raw.  I can’t imagine anyone wanting to become winded while eating a lunch of raw kale salad.  In lieu of this, we simply massage the kale.  As you massage the leaves, you are helping to break down the cell wall, wilting the leaves and leaving them soft enough to enjoy as a salad.

It is also topped with a wonderful tahini and honey dressing.  This dressing is the perfect balance between nutty and sweet.  It pairs beautifully with the fresh nectarines and apple slices.  As you eat this salad you might get a bite of nectarine, creamy avocado or pumpkin seeds but then comes along a small bite of currant and it changes the whole flavor of the salad.  It is a subtle refreshing sweetness amongst the nuttiness of the delicious dressing and hemp seeds. 

This salad exceeds many others since its fruits and vegetables promote healthy, glowing skin!  The vitamin C in the kale has collagen fibers, which help to hold your skin cells together.  This means that kale has antioxidant properties, which keeps the skin firm and elastic.  The same goes for the vitamin C and E in avocados!  Avocados have mono-saturated fats, which help to support skin tone by retaining moisture, keeping your skin looking plump and not dull.  The nectarines also supply an abundance of nutrients. They replenish the body with vitamin C and beta-carotene.  The beta-carotene is seen by the vibrant red hues and is an antioxidant that supports healthy eye function. 

I hope you get a chance to try this, as it is the perfect salad to pack for lunch at work, university or in a picnic. The kale leaves hold well and won’t wilt like many other lettuces do.  With that, everything in this recipe is interchangeable.  Don’t feel bound to one ingredient – if you don’t have pumpkin seeds, use almonds or walnuts and tailor the fruit to your liking.  However you make it, enjoy this beautiful salad and know that it is also doing wonders for your skin! 

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Serves 1

Prep Time: 15 minutes 

Ingredients for the salad:

- 3 large handfuls of kale

- 1/3 apple

- 1 nectarine or peach

- ½ avocado

- 1 green onion

- few sprinkles of hemp seeds

- few sprinkles of pumpkin seeds

- few sprinkles of currants

 Ingredients for the Tahini dressing:

- 3 tablespoons of olive oil

- ½ tablespoon honey

- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

- 1 tablespoon of tahini

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Start by tearing the kale leaves into bite-size pieces, disregarding the steams.  Then wash the kale leaves and pat dry.  Before you massage the kale, you want to pour the tahini dressing on top of the leaves.  Then use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale.  The acid from the dressing will help break down the cell wall.  Massage for 2-3 minutes.  The longer you massage, the softer the kale will become.

Then simply cut all the ingredients for the salad, cubing the avocado, and mix with the massaged kale.  Top with hemp and pumpkin seeds.  Enjoy!