Strawberries and kale and mint and walnuts and chocolate balsamic dressing. Do I really need to say anything else?

After last week’s chocolate kale cookies created a bit of a stir, I realized chocolate + kale is the perfect match. In fact, I’m seriously thinking about writing the “chocolate kale cookbook” because I have so many ideas for these two ingredients.

This salad might just be the best proof that chocolate and kale were always meant to be together. We’ll chop some kale, toss with strawberries and walnut and mint, then drizzle with a dressing made from cocoa powder, maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. It’s the perfect blend of sweet, acidic, and bitter flavors that are just too good together.

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Makes 2 small salads

Ingredients:

  • 10 large kale leaves
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 4 sprigs of mint
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Step One

Make the chocolate balsamic dressing. In a small mixing bowl, add 3 parts balsamic vinegar with 2 parts maple syrup and 1 part cocoa powder. Whisk until combined. Give this a taste and adjust any ingredients to your liking.

Pro tip: it is much easier to incorporate the cocoa powder when the balsamic and maple syrup are warm. You can either do this in a saucepan over low heat or by warming in the microwave for a few seconds.

Step Two

Prepare the salad ingredients. Rinse the kale leaves (I used dinosaur/Tuscan kale but any type works well here), pat dry, and loosely chop. Rinse the mint and tear by hand into pieces. Rinse the strawberries, cut off the tops and slice (lengthwise) into quarters. Gather a few handfuls of walnut pieces.

Step Three

For best results, massage the dressing into the kale leaves. This will soften the leaves and evenly coat them with the amazing chocolate dressing. To do this, add the chopped kale to a large bowl, pour in some of the dressing, and use your hands to literally massage each leaf for a few seconds. Then, throw in the remaining ingredients (strawberries, mint, and walnuts) and toss again. Transfer the salad to serving bowls and spoon another drizzle of the chocolate balsamic over top.

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