Kale Salad with Shredded Turnip, Radish & Mustard Dressing

Hello and happy 2020 everyone! I hope you had an amazing holiday and most festive start to the new year.

We had a perfect blend of social chaos (for some reason we decided to host our first ever holiday party a day before our first of four Christmas-es began), obsessive reflection (I spent at least 15+ hours with my journal over the holiday break), and beautiful stillness. The chaos was lovely and everything a successful holiday season should be. The reflections were meaningful, packed full of gratitude and warmth. And the stillness was more than either of the former combined: it was inexplicably, absolutely essential.

For the past couple of years, life has been speeding up to an uncomfortable pace and though I’ve been successfully keeping all the plates spinning so far, in a lot of ways I have felt destabilized since at least April, knowing that it wouldn’t take much to make this house of cards fall. I knew I was in need of some deep stillness this holiday season— some completely unscheduled, unplanned days where I could get caught up on the aspects of my life that have been making me feel unbalanced.

I wound up doing a couple of productive things for the business (beginning the annual work plan for our farm’s communications and marketing, and assessing our year-end financials) but mainly I spent whatever free time I could find at the end of 2019 decluttering and making space. 2020 is going to be a huge year and there is nothing I crave more heading into a big year than some organization and space.

I started where I feel people always start with decluttering: my closet. I donated eight bags of nonsense that made me feel like anything less than my absolute best self. I organized my clothes by seasons and by color. I put earrings in beautiful ceramic bowls. I learned how to fold big bulky sweaters properly so they weren’t always so disheveled. I made the space back into one I loved walking into.

Then onto the kitchen, the pantry, the fridge and most overwhelmingly– my iPhone. I downloaded the 9433 photos that were taken in 2019 so that I could purge the garbage, organize (and back up) the happiness, and get the best of the best printed so that our lives could again, for just a little while, live in print.

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There were many wonderful things about clearing out my phone to end the old year. I got to reflect and feel immense gratitude for all the amazing things we had done in the past twelve months. I was able to feel re-inspired and re-invigorated by the summer sunshine we are so far away from in this current moment. I got to pick my favorite photos from the farming season to share with farm fans. I literally made space for all the new things to come in 2020 that I will no doubt want to photograph. But perhaps most exciting was discovering photos of all the recipes (and recipe inspiration) I had collected over the past year.

I had a very busy season of recipe creation this past summer. I developed recipes for two local farms every week of the growing season, and took photos of most of these recipes. My phone was packed full of photos of finished products, works in progress and screenshots of things I wanted to try at home. These images, all hidden away on my phone before, are now organized and one step closer to being ready to share with you!

Today’s recipe is one of those formerly buried recipes. I originally created it in early June when we were swimming in curly kale, crisp white salad turnips, and perfect spring radishes. I remember whipping this salad together in 10 minutes on a beautiful sunny morning before I headed to the farm. I had just learned how amazing matchstick-ed and shredded root vegetables were on a salad and was feeling so grateful that this new world of salad had been opened up for me.

I was sick of topping every salad with roasted vegetables. This felt like a totally different type of salad. It felt easy, light, and super refreshing. I made it four or five times and then forgot about it when all the summer heavy hitters starting popping. Nothing makes you forget about a kale salad like an overabundance of cherry tomatoes.

Then, about a week ago I started getting moody about salad again. We have loads of root vegetables (and not much else) left in our storage fridge, and honestly, even as a seasonal vegetable lover, I can only eat so many roasted beet salads. Then I remembered my spring trick! I could just take a root vegetables and shred it or turn it into matchsticks! I didn’t have delicate little salad turnips but I did have purple top turnips. I didn’t have spring radishes, but I did have tons of watermelon radishes leftover. I made it with these and it was every bit as delicious.

I’m so glad to have rediscovered this recipe in the darkest part of winter when I want to be eating healthy but struggle to feel inspired by local products. I hope you enjoy and I hope you are having a beautiful start to 2020!

-Your Leek

P.S. Don’t know how to matchstick root vegetables? Watch this great video we asked friend and food blogger Sarah from Wisconsin From Scratch to make for our CSA members!

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KALE SALAD WITH SHREDDED TURNIP, RADISH & MUSTARD DRESSING
As I say above, this recipe was originally written as a spring recipe with crisp white salad turnips and delicate spring radishes. It is also great this time of year with purple top turnips and watermelon or daikon radishes substituted in. I’ve included either option below. 

Serves 2-4 (depending if it’s a side dish or a meal)
Takes 20 minutes

1 cup walnuts or pecans
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and very thinly sliced
3-4 salad turnips (the small delicate ones you get in spring) OR 1-2 large purple-top turnips, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1 bunch radishes, greens removed and thinly sliced OR 1-2 large watermelon or daikon radishes, shredded or cut into matchsticks
1/2 cup pitted and roughly chopped dates (or dried cranberries or cherries)
2-3 scallions, sliced
2 ounces favorite blue cheese or crumbly goat cheese

Mustard Dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt (or favorite sea salt)
6 twists freshly ground black pepper (or 1/4 teaspoon regular black pepper)

  1. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven. This should take 8-12 minutes, but check them often. They should smell very fragrant but not at all blackened when they are done.*
  2. Combine all dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. Toss with kale in a large bowl and set in the fridge to rest while you matchstick, shred and slice your other vegetables. This will soften the kale ever so slightly and make it better salad green.
  3. When ready to serve, top kale with turnips, radishes, dates, scallions, cheese, and cooled toasted nuts. Try not to devour immediately.

* I always toast a big batch of nuts every couple of weeks and keep them in a jar for whenever I need them. They’re great salad and grain bowl toppers but also great snacks. Plus making them in a large batch saves you time when you are trying to throw things together quickly.

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