Lately I’ve been trying to find more ways to integrate kale into my diet. The ultimate superfood, kale is packed with nutrients. It makes me feel like I’m glowing from the inside. For those who missed my earlier post on kale, you should know that once upon a time I couldn’t stand the stuff. Then I discovered the kale massage. Massaging the leaves with olive oil wilts them slightly, mellowing their flavor and making them sweeter and less bitter. Now that I know the secret to tasty kale, I’m enjoying experimenting with it in different salads and recipes. This Kale, Fig and Halloumi Salad is my newest experiment, and I’m super happy with the result!
For those of you who’ve never tried halloumi cheese (also spelled halloume), you’re in for a treat. Halloumi originated in a small Syrian village named… you guessed it!… Halloumi. It’s sometimes sold under the name “Syrian cheese” in kosher markets. It’s a moist, salty cheese with a firm but tender texture. It is made with a combination of goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, and sometimes cow’s milk. The cheese has become popular all over the Mediterranean, particularly in Greece. It has a special texture that makes it ideal for grilling and frying– meaning, you can brown the outside to a crispy golden texture without it melting into a pile of goop. In fact, halloumi tastes best when it’s grilled or fried. The browning of the exterior brings out all of the flavor. You can even light it on fire, like Greek saganaki cheese. Opa!
Salty halloumi pairs particularly well with sweet, juicy fruits like watermelon and cantaloupe. I thought it would be a tasty addition to a kale salad, and I was right! The figs, walnuts, and cheese are a perfect accent to the mild, massaged kale. It’s a lovely flavor seasonal combination, full of flavor and loaded with nutrition. Your body and your tastebuds will thank you. Shabbat Shalom!
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- 8 oz halloumi cheese
- 1 bunch (about 10 oz) curly kale
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
- 8 oz fresh figs - about 10 medium figs
- 1/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Lightly grease a skillet and heat over medium. Slice the halloumi cheese and place the slices in the skillet.
- Let the halloumi fry for 7-8 minutes till golden brown on both sides. Allow the halloumi to cool to room temperature.
- Chop the halloumi into small pieces.
- Cut the stems off the figs, then slice them in half. Discard the stems.
- Cut the leaves of kale off of the thick, tough stalks; discard the stalks. Chop the kale leaves into bit-sized pieces. You should end up with around 8-10 cups of kale leaves.
- Place the kale leaves into a salad bowl and pour the olive oil over them. Massage the olive oil into the kale with clean fingers for 2-3 minutes till the kale is softened and slightly wilted. This will help remove bitterness from the kale.
- Add the balsamic vinegar or lemon juice, fresh figs, chopped walnuts, and salt. Toss the salad gently to combine.
- Let the salad sit for a few minutes at room temperature to allow the flavors to blend. Toss again, then serve. This salad should be eaten in one sitting; leftovers do not keep well. You can easily halve the recipe for a smaller crowd.
Other Great Recipe Ideas:
Simply Recipes - Sauteed Kale with Tahini Sauce
Steamy Kitchen - Cauliflower and Kale Salad (Cauliflower Tabouli)
Domestic Fits - Kale Caesar with Goat Gouda, Avocados and Homemade Croutons
Kalyn’s Kitchen - Baby Kale, White Bean and Tuna Salad with Lemon