Grilled Kale, Tomato and Peach Salad with Miso-Lime Dressing

Remember when kale leaves were just decorative accents in between the bowls in a salad bar? Nobody ate them. Sometimes they were even fake. But then — perhaps in a fit of monotonous midwinter vegetable insanity — people started playing around with kale. Baking it into chips. Rubbing it raw with a lemony vinaigrette. Whizzing it into green smoothies. Falling in love.

Now it’s time to jump on the bandwagon of the newest kale trend: grilled kale. It’s summery, it’s smoky, it’s crispy and charred and tender and it’ll make you fall in love with kale all over again.

Grilled kale leaves tossed with a little oil, salt and lemon or lime juice are addictive enough on their own, but the things you eat with your fingers while standing barefoot in the kitchen aren’t always what you want to bring to a dinner party. For that, you might want to add chunks of ripe peach, tart cherry tomatoes and a salty miso-lime dressing, which makes the plate of charred greens much more presentable and even more tasty.

I grill my kale leaves on a grill pan, which gets very smoky; open up all the windows and turn on a fan if you go this route. On the plus side, you can cut the leaves into bite-size pieces before grilling without worrying about them falling through the grates. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor grill, use whole leaves and either cut them up after grilling, or plan on eating the salad with a knife and fork.

This miso-lime-walnut oil dressing is one of my favorites for any type of grilled vegetable. It’s tart and salty in a way that complements the smokiness of grilled summer squash, scallions, carrots, anything really. It also magically makes peaches taste faintly like mango. Even if kale leaves you cold, give the dressing recipe a try.

Grilled Kale, Tomato and Peach Salad with Miso-Lime Dressing

Yield: 4 side servings

{ Ingredients }

For the Miso-Lime Dressing:
3 tablespoons lime juice (from 1-2 limes)
2 teaspoons yellow miso paste
3 tablespoons walnut oil

For the Salad:
1 bunch kale, thick stems and ribs removed
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
1 ripe peach, thinly sliced
½ pint mixed cherry tomatoes, halved

{ Directions }

In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and miso until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the walnut oil, whisking continuously until dressing is fully combined. Set aside.

Wash and thoroughly dry the kale in a salad spinner. If using a grill pan, cut the kale into bite-size pieces; otherwise leave whole. In a large bowl, toss the kale with the oil and a pinch of salt.

Heat your grill pan or outdoor grill until very hot. Working in batches, grill the kale leaves for 1-2 minutes per side, until brown and crispy in spots. Remove to a large bowl. (Cut up the leaves at this point if they are still whole and you would like to serve them in smaller pieces.) Toss with about 3 tablespoons of the dressing. Arrange the leaves on a platter.

For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice and miso until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the walnut oil, whisking continuously until dressing is fully combined.

Place the peach slices in the same large bowl and toss with about 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Arrange over the kale. Repeat with the cherry tomatoes and serve. (You'll probably have a small amount of the dressing left over. Save it in the refrigerator. You'll be glad you did.)

Notes
• This salad tastes great at room temperature and holds up well outside the refrigerator, so it is an excellent candidate for potlucks.
• Any type of kale works for this recipe: Tuscan, purple, curly, etc.
• You don't have to get all fancy with the platter presentation. For a more casual salad, just toss the grilled kale, peach slices, tomatoes and dressing together in a bowl.
• Use any leftover dressing to drizzle over raw vegetables, cooked grains, chicken, fish, or whatever else strikes your fancy. It's versatile.

   

{ 2 Comments }

  1. #
    1
    Lydia — August 6, 2012 at 6:35 am

    yummmmmm. I love this dressing of yours on grilled vegetables and can only image the glory of a summer peach in the mix.

  2. #
    2
    Emma — March 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    Can’t wait for peaches to be in season again! This salad looks wonderful… pinning it for Summer :)

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