Kale salad with beets and oranges

I whipped up this kale salad the weekend before Christmas. We were at home then and taking it easy in preparation of holiday travels that were to come. The weekend before that we had hosted two parties with decadent holiday hors d'oeuvres and desserts. We knew we were in a "reset" period where we needed to cleanse our palettes and focus on whole, plant-based foods. This kale salad with beets and oranges hit just the spot!

When we're home for a weekend and don't have any plans I typically meal plan for a brunch and dinner with the intention of fending for ourselves for lunch and figure it out day-of. Sometimes this might be leftovers or finding something snack-y in the pantry. Other times it might mean an impromptu lunch date while we're out running errands. On this particular Saturday there were some basketball games playing that we were interested in so it was in our best interest to stay lounging on the couch and find something in the refrigerator and pantry that would suits our needs.

This kale salad came together quite easily! The kale had been ordered in our CSA box. I had canned beets the night before and one can didn't seal properly. If this happens you can put the jar into the refrigerator and consume it within a week or two. Fresh oranges had been delivered that week from a local fundraiser we supported. The cottage cheese was leftover from this baked mac-n-cheese we had made in the previous week. The cheddar cheese is typically something we have the fridge. And we try to keep almonds as a pantry staple!

Kale Salad with Beets & Oranges
   Prepare the kale - wash about 8 kale leaves and remove leafy kale greens from stem by tearing in small chunks. Place greens into a medium bowl and drizzle with 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil and a dash of salt. "Massage" the kale by tossing it with the evoo and rubbing it together. Do this for about 1-2 minutes. This massaging technique breaks down the tough fibrous kale. Divide the kale into salad bowls.
   Top the salad - Drizzle the kale greens with a few splashes of white balsamic vinegar (or whatever you have on hand). Peel and section 1 orange and split between the salad bowls. Add some pickled beets and a dollop of cottage cheese to each salad. Top with a tbsp of almonds and some shredded cheddar cheese.

The beauty of a fridge / pantry salad is that it can be customized to not only what's in your fridge and/or pantry but also to your individual tastes. Before I assembled the salads I told Patrick what I was going to put on mine (as I just described it) and asked him if he wanted it that way too. I was prepared to omit any ingredients he didn't want on it. He succumbed to eating his fruits and veggies and said I could make it like mine.

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