The other day someone asked me why I like food blogging. I felt pressured to come up with a very thoughtful answer such as, I just love the way standing over a bubbling pot of food, methodically stirring, makes all my worries disappear! or, whipping up different flavor combos in the kitchen is my favorite creative outlet!
While that is the case on occasion, in reality the thought of cooking anything that takes longer than 20 minutes these days stresses me out (hollar for quick, grilled summer dinners,) and guess what? After five years of food blogging, it’s HARD to be creative sometimes!
After thinking about it for a second I told him the truth – I just, uh, really love food. And then his face fell. Kidding. Kind of. But seriously, I just love the taste of food! Salty, sour, sweet, fresh, savory, herby – it’s all so very, very good.
By the way, if you had to pick eating sweet or salty foods for the rest of your life, which would you pick? I can’t choose. Ok, salty. Ben and I were comparing last meals on earth last weekend and without missing a beat he said open-faced turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and gravy. What can I say, the man knows what he likes. After some thought, I chose summer sausage with cheese and crackers, and also Judy’s Baked Beans. I know.
Anyway as a food lover, summer is the peanut butter to my jelly. The cheese to my cracker. The egg to my avocado (if you’ve never tried eggs and avocados before you are seriously missing out!) Walking into the Farmer’s Market or grocery store this time of year is a serious thrill for me. The abundance of fresh and healthy food is what inspired the Best of Summer Kale Salad with Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette!
The summer’s best and brightest produce including juicy cherry tomatoes, crisp sweet corn, and plump blueberries are sprinkled over fresh kale then joined by creamy chevre and crunchy almonds. The whole thing is drizzled with sweet-tart, tangy Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette. Like I said, this hearty, healthy salad contains the best of summer!
It’s also a cinch to prepare and no heat required, making it ideal for hot summer nights. The sweet corn that my beautiful state is so well known for is not only ready but so delicious you can eat it raw. That said, if it weirds you out you can definitely grill, steam, or boil the corn. Your call!
The vines on my cherry tomato plant are currently dripping with ripening tomatoes so of course I had to include them in my summer salad, and blueberries never taste better (nor are less expensive!) than in the summertime, so I piled ’em on top and into beautifully-hued vinaigrette that accompanies the salad.
Start with 2 bunches kale. You can use whatever kind you like – I chose curly kale. One of my favorite summer Farmer’s Market stands specializes in kale and it pretty much makes my day to visit them whenever I go!
Tear the leaves off the stems then chop or tear into bite-sized pieces, and then wash and spin dry.
By the way, I wouldn’t be tempted to buy the pre-chopped kale they sell in bags at the grocery store nowadays. They are riddled with chewy, hard stems that are practically inedible when raw.
Add the kale to a very large bowl then sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and get to work! That is to say, massage the kale with your hnnds for a couple minutes, or until it’s broken down and tender. Just keep tasting until you get to a place of tenderness that you like. You might want to do it in a couple batches, too.
The rest is easy. Pile the kale onto plates then top with fresh sweet corn kernels. Like I said, Iowa sweet corn just became available a couple weeks ago and there’s nothing like it. Ooo, I need to add the Adel Sweet Corn Festival to my summer bucket list!
Again, I added my sweet corn kernels raw because I love the crispy crunch, but feel free to grill, steam, or boil your cobs first.
Next add 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes that have been cut in half. Sweet 100s are my summer go-to snack. I just pluck ’em right off the vine.
Then add 1/4 cup blueberries on top. Fresh summer berries are such a treat and blueberries rise to the top as my favorite. I like that you can pop a huge bowl like popcorn at night, without the guilt. Plus, antioxidants!
Finally, crumble 1oz chevre on top and add 1 Tablespoon sliced almonds for a healthy crunch. Drizzle with Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette that’s easily made in a food processor or blender (directions in the recipe below,) then enjoy!
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Best of Summer Kale Salad with Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette
Best of Summer Kale Salad with Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette features the summer's best produce.
- 2 bunches kale
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 ears sweet corn, shucked and kernels cut from cob
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 4oz chevre
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- For the Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette:
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
- salt and pepper
- 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- For the Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette: add all ingredients except extra virgin olive oil to a food processor or blender then pulse to roughly chop blueberries. Turn processor on then slowly stream in oil.
- Tear kale leaves from stems, cut or tear into bite sized pieces, and then wash and spin dry. Add to a large bowl then sprinkle with salt and massage with fingers for two minutes, or until kale is dark green and tender. May want to do 2 batches.
- Divide kale between plates then top with corn, blueberries, tomatoes, chevre, almonds, and Blueberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette, and then serve.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.
Serve this hearty yet healthy salad as a side or entree with grilled protein for a little more oomph though it is very filling on its own. However ya’ eat it, make sure to enjoy it fast. Summer’s not sticking around forever!