For the last year or so, almost every time I needed to make and bring a meal to a postpartum family or to a potluck, I have made the following salad, always with rave reviews!
It has become just the thing that I do. I do not have an official recipe (I am terrible at not following them and not writing things down), but I have attempted to describe the process here.
And it *IS* a salad, so it is kind of hard to mess up — at least, in my world.
Cheese* Tortellini and Kale Salad
For the massaged kale part:
- very large bunch of kale (green and Russian red make for the best, but “dinosaur” or Tuscan can work)
- olive oil (or avocado oil)
- sea salt
- lemon juice (lime could be fun too)
For the veggies & toppings:
- sweet bell peppers (skip the green bells, because this salad wants colour!)
- red onion, scallions, or shallots
- heirloom baby tomatoes (halved or quartered, depending on size)
- sliced Castelvetrano olives (or black olives)
- goat milk feta (or Parmigiano-Reggiano or no cheese or vegan cheese)
- julienned shiitake mushrooms
- sliced hearts of palm
- pine nuts, sliced almonds, or crushed walnuts (or no nuts)
- sliced or cubbed avocado
- anything you want, just make it fun, colourful, and nutritious
For the tortellini:
- cheese tortellini (or vegan tortellini)
*if tortellini isn’t an option for whatever reason stand-ins could be:
- cubbed tofu (baked or marinated is better)
- cubbed seitan
- cubbed chicken/turkey/salami
- non-filled pasta in fun shapes (farfalle or “bow tie” is a fave)
For the dressing:
- I like Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette or Champaign Vinaigrette, but anything that sounds good to you!
Rip up your kale into manageable to eat pieces. Put kale, a sprinkling of salt, healthy dose of oil, and juice of about half a lemon into a large bowl. Then massage the kale, mixing everything together, for about 2 to 4 minutes.
Next you can add your veggies and toppings or let the massaged kale sit, covered, in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. It gets better if left at least 8 hours, in my opinion.
Cook your tortellini and cool it. It can be cooked the day before and stashed in the fridge. You will want to mix it with some oil and/or some of your dressing so it doesn’t become a giant clump in the fridge.
Mix your veggies, toppings, tortellini, and dressing all up.