Kale salad with couscous, blood orange, and herbs

This appetizer or side salad is a wonderful mash-up of mostly Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavors. I love softening a hearty green like kale with a brief spa treatment (massaging by hand breaks down the cell structure and makes some of the natural bitterness sweet), and then lightening it further with couscous. The fresh herbs and pomegranate molasses lend the brightness that really makes this salad sing.

Servings: 4-6

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup couscous (I used one made from farro)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch of Kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, cut in one-inch wide strips, massaged for two minutes with a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil until tender and reduced in volume
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 blood oranges
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Couscous:

  1. Prepare couscous by spreading it out in a shallow baking dish and combining it with the olive oil and salt. 
  2. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, cover tightly, and let it absorb the hot liquid until tender, about seven minutes. 
  3. Chop the apricots and walnuts. 
  4. Combine the cooked couscous, dried fruit, nuts, and kale in a large bowl. 

Vinaigrette:

  1. Mince the herbs finely and combine in a bowl with the red wine vinegar, a pinch of salt, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, and black pepper. 
  2. Alternatively, use a mortar and pestle to pound the herbs and vinaigrette together. 

Blood oranges:

  1. Cut a little bit off each end, exposing the flesh below. 
  2. Place cut side down on cutting board and trim away the pith and zest (the white and colorful stuff, respectively) by following the contour of the fruit with your sharp knife. 
  3. Cut crosswise into round slices (pop the seeds out if you can) or cut out segments by trimming alongside the inner membranes. 
  4. Combine everything together and serve.

Nutrition Information (per serving)

For 6 servings

(Does not include feta; includes pinch of salt only).

  • Calories: 390
  • Total Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated fat: 2.5 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Sodium: 140 mg
  • Total carbohydrate: 47 g
  • Dietary fiber: 6 g
  • Sugars: 11 g
  • Protein: 8 g

Contributor

Benjamin Maring, MD