This kale strawberry salad was inspired by my friend Lahle who is in need of getting some extra iron into her diet. Personally, I never want to feel that I have to eat something just “because it’s good for me.” If I’m going to bother to make any dish, the standard must be that I can’t wait to take the first bite. This means add sweet and rich ingredients.
Kale especially needs a sweet element to balance it’s bitterness. I used strawberries as the sweet but, I recommend using whichever fruit is in season. This means it will be sweeter and more flavorful. In the winter, orange slices or red apple would be a great substitute for the strawberries. The avocado makes this a rich and satisfying salad. Top it with my Gluten-Free Baguette Croutons and you have the perfect salad in my opinion!
So back to the healthy . . . Kale and pumpkin seeds are great sources of iron, but iron from plants is not as easily absorbed as it is from animal sources. So if you pair plant based iron with vitamin C, the body is better able to absorb the iron. So I’ve added red cabbage and strawberries which also add some nice sweetness and beautiful color. The lemon-mint vinaigrette pulls this kale strawberry salad all together with a sweet and tangy brightness.
- Kale can be pretty tough uncooked. So you’ll marinate it in the lemon-mint dressing for a few minutes before plating. This will tenderize it and the flavor of the dressing will help balance the slight bitterness in kale.
- Mint oxidizes (turns brown) quickly. To retain the bright green color of the dressing, keep it refrigerated. If you are making the dressing ahead of time, I recommend waiting until the last minute to blend in the mint.
- Lemon Zest is the colorful outer layer of the peel. It has all the wonderful pop of lemon flavor. If you haven’t used lemon zest before, here is a quick tutorial on How to Zest a Lemon.