Baby Kale Strawberry Salad- From My Garden to My Plate

Kale Strawberry Salad

I know you don’t need me to teach you how to make a Baby Kale Strawberry Salad. There’s no recipe needed. Simply put some kale (as much or as little as you like) on a plate, then slice a few strawberries on top. You can add “extras” if you like. I did. I chose almonds and cucumbers, as well as a rosemary balsamic vinaigrette. You could make this baby kale salad and vinaigrette with your eyes closed I know you could.

So why did I post this? The world doesn’t really need another baby kale salad right now. Baby kale is so trendy it’s positively boring. Strawberries are super seasonal and impossible to resist. We’re all trying desperately to use up the whole flats we convince ourselves we can’t live without this time of year. So why this kale strawberry salad?

Well, baby kale is just the muse for the excuse I’m using to talk about a personal failing of mine. This is a deep dark secret. Something I should probably keep to myself. Because the crowd I run with might never understand what I’m about to say.

You see, I’m a crappy gardener. I don’t mean my yard is ugly. I actually have a beautiful yard with a pretty garden with lots of nice plants. But when it comes to vegetable gardening. Well, I suck. Which is so disappointing to me. I spent a lot of years trying to be a good vegetable gardener. I read books. I experimented. I planted. I hoped. I prayed. But my harvest was always a disappointment. I tried artichokes. My artichoke plant never grew taller than my knee, and then it just disappeared. I suspect the gardeners put it out of its misery, but I was too ashamed to ask.

Most famously (for years and years) I tried to grow tomatoes. I tried them in the ground, but they faltered. Not enough sun I thought. So the next year I bought giant pots and put them on furniture dollies so I could roll them around the patio in an attempt to keep them in the sun. I had a schedule and everything. I’d cut lunch dates short so I could rush home and roll my plants around the backyard. We got a wireless internet connection so I could “work” closer to my babies– keeping one eye on the computer screen and one eye on the sun.

This plan almost worked. I had quite a crop of heirlooms going– only to discover that squirrels love tomatoes. They don’t even mind eating them a day or two before they are perfectly ripe. They also get up very early and like a big a breakfast. There was almost no beating them, no matter what time I set my alarm. I did get two or three nice tomatoes that year however. They were delicious. I figure they cost me $147 each.

This year I thought I’d try something the squirrels wouldn’t eat. I thought I’d try kale. Squirrels don’t eat leafy greens (do they?). Well we’ll never know because this baby kale strawberry salad amounts to my entire harvest. The thing about baby kale is it’s too young to make more baby kale. I shoulda known that… GREG

Baby Kale Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Dressing

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Kale Strawberry Salad

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small shallot very finely minced
  • 2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil or as needed
  • 4 cup baby kale loosely packed
  • ½ English cucumber peeled and sliced
  • 8 strawberries stemmed and quartered
  • ½ cup whole raw almonds

Directions

Make the vinaigrette: Add the balsamic vinegar, shallot, rosemary, salt, and pepper to a small mixing bowl. While whisking vigorously, add enough of the olive oil in a slow drizzle until an well combined emulsion forms, about 15 seconds. You might not use all the oil.

Make the salad: Add the baby kale, cucumber, strawberries, and almonds to a large salad bowl. Toss to combine.

Serve with the freshly whisked vinaigrette on the side.