Virgin River: Kale Salad With Lemon Dressing
The slow-burning, highly addictive drama starts with Mel (Alexandra Breckenridge), a heartbroken city slicker from LA looking for a fresh start. The only restaurant in town is Jack’s Bar, but luckily for homesick Mel, the cook (curiously nicknamed Preacher) includes more on the menu than typical bar food, including a surprisingly flavorful kale salad. In fact, it reminds Mel of the trendy farm to table restaurants in LA.
According to Dan Souza from America’s Test Kitchen, the trick to tender, delicious kale is cutting it into thin strips, massaging it, and then rinsing it. Rinsing after the cutting and massaging helps to wash away all the bitter flavors that get released.
Another essential component to eating kale or any type of greens is the dressing. If you pair the right dressing with your salad greens, everybody at the dinner table will enjoy it (and maybe even ask for seconds!). This recipe uses a simple but very effective lemon dressing, which has enough acid to quickly soften the kale. If you eat raw kale, it will taste like a Christmas tree, but a 10-minute soak or longer in lemon juice can make a huge difference.
Yield: Serves 4
Skill Level: Easy
Prep time: 10 minutes
- Large bowl and mixing spoon
- Cheese grater
- Chopping knife
- 1/2 large bunch of curly kale, ribs removed (about 8 cups)
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup toasted sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup medium grated Parmesan cheese
- Coarse black pepper and salt to taste
- Crumbled feta or Gorgonzola (optional)
- Prepare the kale by cutting into thin strips and massaging the leaves. Then rinse thoroughly, strain, and pat dry with paper towels or a kitchen towel. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
- Add lemon juice, zest, and olive oil. Toss to coat thoroughly. Top with sunflower seeds, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
We recommend making this easy to make kale salad ahead of time; that way the kale will have plenty of time to soften and marinate in the acidic lemon dressing. In fact, the longer you wait to eat it, the better it will taste!
For the best flavor, we advise waiting at least 10 minutes, which will give you a chance to queue up the next episode and gather other TV-watching essentials like a box of tissues. Spoiler alert–this series gets very dramatic!
Fun fact: Although the series is based in a fictional northern California town, the exterior of Jack’s Bar was filmed in Squamish, British Columbia.
Bonus tip: For a little variety, we recommend switching it up with diced and peeled orange sections, Gorgonzola or feta crumbles, and toasted, chopped walnuts.
Wow! That’s a genius tip to massage and rinse the kale! Now I know why my kale salads always turned out tasting like chewing up moldy hay! I’m going to try this method!