Declare your independence from boring salads with little to no nutritional punch. These holiday celebration sides feature the super-food edge of dark green leafy vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and arugula. While the focus may be on familiar cookout foods like hot dogs and burgers, there’s nothing in the Declaration of Independence that says you can’t eat foods that taste good and are healthy for you on the Fourth. Strike a blow for the fortitude of your troops by serving these body-fortifying, health-enhancing, vibrant green salads alongside the red, white, and blue foods/decorations on your table.
Festive Tuscan Kale Salad
Chock full of the good stuff that makes the Mediterranean diet one of the most healthful eating patterns on the planet, this simple salad evokes the siren song of summer in northern Italy. Featuring remarkably healthful kale, heart-healthy pine nuts, antioxidant-rich extra virgin olive oil, and the taste bud-tingling magic of superior balsamic vinegar, this vibrant green salad also gets some savory kick from freshly shaved, imported aged Parmesan cheese.
- 1/8 cup dried whole golden raisins
- 1/8 cup dried cherries (e.g. Montmorency cherries; allegedly cultivated by the Ancient Romans, these light-red sour cherries are grown—and are widely available—in the United States)
- 1/3 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1 lb. fresh lacinato kale (aka Tuscan kale, or Dinosaur kale), rinsed thoroughly and dried
- 1/4 cup highest-quality balsamic vinegar de Modena
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (California-grown is recommended due to provenance issues regarding imported olive oils)
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp organic honey
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly shaved genuine imported Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parmesan
- Heat a small skillet over low/med heat. Add pine nuts, stir and/or shake, and watch carefully as they brown. Remove before they can scorch. This can happen quickly, so vigilance is paramount.
- Cut the tough ribs out of kale leaves and discard ribs. Slice/chop leaves crosswise into thin strips. Place in a large serving/salad bowl.
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix the liquids; vinegars, olive oil, honey and stir in salt and pepper. Within 30 minutes of serving, toss kale with dressing, and sprinkle with dried cherries/raisins. Sprinkle parmesan on top and toss lightly.
Fruit and Cheddar Kale Salad
The remarkable health-boosting benefits of kale are available to you here in a delightfully salad that combines savory notes with the crunchy, sweetness of nuts and fresh fruit. A fiber-packed extravaganza of flavor and goodness.
- 4 cups finely shredded/chopped kale; curly or Russian varieties are best; rinsed and dried thoroughly to remove any trapped sand
- 3 Tbsp. toasted, chopped hazelnuts and/or almonds
- 1 apple (sweet or tart variety; your choice); cored and chopped into fine dice and/or 1 firm pear, peeled, cored and chopped into fine dice
- 1 ounce extra sharp cheddar cheese (4-year aged white cheddar recommended for most intense flavor); chopped into 1/4-inch dice
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- 1 small garlic clove; peeled and very finely chopped
- 1 tsp. prepared dijon mustard
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (California-grown is recommended, due to concerns regarding the provenance of imported oils)
- 3-4 Tbsp. freshly grated imported Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a large, decorative salad bowl, combine the kale leaves, nuts, apple, and aged cheddar. Whisk lime juice and olive oil, a pinch of salt, chopped garlic, and mustard with a hand blender until emulsified. About 15 minutes before serving, pour over salad, toss, and let kale soften, before serving.