No-Fail Kale

Leafy greens are healthy, but kale is too much of a good thing. They don’t call it a superfood for nothing. First of all, it’s so aggressively leafy and green that it looks like lettuce on steroids. The veins pop, and the leaves are so buff they ripple like a bodybuilder’s abs. Secondly, something that packed with nutrition can’t possibly be palatable. I mean, there are plants that are delicious, and then there are plants that just taste like chlorophyll and pulp.

For the Challenge, I wanted to try kale in its natural state–raw and in large enough chunks that it’s discernible as a flavor. If you want to consume kale completely disguised by other flavors (e.g. in a smoothie), that totally counts. No judgement here! I just really wanted to push myself to genuinely give it a chance.

My strategy was to purchase the Sweet Kale Salad Kit from Costco. I’d heard great things, and I figured if “Sweet” preceded “Kale” in the title, I could probably choke it down. The obvious benefit of buying kale as part of a salad mix (besides the convenience) is that you aren’t stuck with loads of kale left over if you don’t end up liking it. However, you will still be stuck with loads of salad mix because Costco food doesn’t exactly come in single servings. I purposely waited until I had at least 2 other people eating with me before I opened the package.

For those who have not partaken, the salad seems more like a slaw to me. While it does contain kale, the bulk of the roughage is actually shredded broccoli. I happen to like raw broccoli stem, especially when heavily dressed (in my chicken salad, for instance). The package also says it contains Brussels sprouts, but I didn’t notice them at all. There was already a lot of green going on. They also added a little radicchio for color, so you could hit a triple for the Challenge just with this one prepackaged option.

The salad comes with a sweet poppy seed dressing which is enough to coat, but not soak, the greens. However, the “Sweet” in the title probably refers more to the dried cranberries which are included as a topper. There is also a packet of sunflower seeds and other mix-ins to make it even nuttier and nutrient-dense. The kale is shredded and a smaller percentage of the overall salad than I expected. Still, you can definitely detect the bitterness offsetting the flavor burst of the sweeter ingredients.

Even though the salad probably contains enough sugar that it no longer qualifies as low-calorie, I still felt so healthy consuming it! This strange sense of confidence washed over me, and I had the fleeting thought that I could totally run with the Vegans. I’m not saying everyone will experience the same mystical moment with kale that I did, but it was certainly worth a taste. I don’t plan to start buying it in bulk and adding it to my daily diet, but checking one more rather intimidating vegetable off my list has been rather empowering!

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