Sometimes a salad-eating person wants more than romaine. They crave a meatier leaf in their salad bowl. Something darker. Something that makes them feel just a little bit superior to other salad eaters. (Kidding. Kind of. Not really.) They may hate themselves because of the trendiness of it, but the kale will charm them anyway. This particular kale salad is hard to resist. It has converted many. Follow me, friends, do not be afraid.

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I come in peace.

Have you ever roasted a chickpea? It is delicious as a little appetizer. I use them in my salad to add a little protein and take the place of croutons. (I can’t eat croutons because of my lame wheat allergy, but maybe you can! Go for it in this salad.) First thing you’re going to do is preheat your oven to 425º and cover a pan with parchment. Then drain your chickpeas, rinse them and pour them out on your pan.IMG_9007 Pat them dry with a paper towel. Super important that they are both rinsed and dry. That’s how you get the right texture. Now drizzle with olive oil, give a generous sprinkle of salt and shake on some smoked paprika if you like. IMG_9011 Toss those guys in the oven and set a timer for 20 minutes. Now get your salad bowl and squeeze a lemon into it. IMG_9014 There will be seeds. Don’t worry, just scoop them out. IMG_9015Now add the salt (key ingredient), an anchovy fillet or two, the garlic (one to three small cloves, diced small or, better yet, crushed, depending on your taste) the dijon, the Worcestershire sauce. IMG_9017 Oh! There’s the timer! Pull out the chickpeas. They should be crisp on the outside, creamy on the inside, and smoky/salty. If they aren’t crispy enough, stick them in a couple more minutes. IMG_9018 Back to our salad. Take a wooden spoon, mash up the garlic and crush the anchovy fillet so it breaks into small pieces. Like this:

Now add the oil. The ratio you’re going for is 2/3 oil, 1/3 other ingredients. If you like a really tart salad, use less oil. IMG_9022 Add about 1/3 of the parmesan. Mix well. The dressing will be creamy. Add the kale. It should be washed and torn into bite-sized pieces. This is regular kale but my favorite is lacinato. IMG_9086 Add your chickpeas. And some sort of ripe Alaskan avocado. IMG_9087 And the rest of the cheese. Mmmmmm. Cheese. IMG_9088 Now toss. There should be no dressing on the bottom when you are done. Add more salt and fresh pepper. Wait AT LEAST 20 minutes before serving. An hour is even better. Here are the ingredients … Natural light really flatters the Costco salt and pepper, doesn’t it? IMG_9012

Caesar-style kale salad with chickpea croutons

Croutons: 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed, dried 1 tsp salt 1/4 tsp smoked paprika olive oil Preheat oven to 425º. Place chickpeas on a small sheet pan (covered with parchment). Drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and paprika. Slide pan back and forth to coat. Roast for at least 20 minutes while you make the salad. The salad: 1 lemon 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp dijon mustard 1 to 2 anchovy filets, depending on your taste 1 to 3 cloves garlic, depending on your taste a splash of Worcestershire sauce about 1/3 c olive oil 1 to 1 1/2 cup grated or microplaned (microplaned is best) parmesan cheese, depending on your taste Two bunches kale, washed, dried, torn into bite-sized pieces About 1 cup roasted chickpeas One ripe avocado, chopped Black pepper In the bottom of a large salad bowl, squeeze one lemon. Spoon out seeds. Add the salt, garlic, dijon, anchovies, Worcestershire. Use a wooden spoon to crush the garlic and the anchovies and combine the ingredients. Add about a third of the parmesan and the oil. Stir well to combine. Now add the kale, chickpeas, avocado and the rest of the cheese. Toss. Add salt and pepper to taste. Wait at least 20 minutes before serving.

Kale, it’s inevitable. Like taxes and death.

— Uncle Tommy