Mystery Dish: Kale Salad with Sesame-Lime Dressing

Kale salad is made over with a tangy and nutty sesame-lime dressing! 

Kale Salad with Sesame-Lime Dressing | thepajamachef.com #MysteryDish

Welcome to another edition of Mystery Dish! This month, Zainab from Blahnik Baker was our host and she gave us a fabulous list to make one great dish with, including: sesame seeds, green chiles, green tea/matcha powder, cardamom, ginger, feta, lamb, pinto beans, white wine, prickly pear cactus, and apples. We were supposed to use three ingredients, and I immediately thought of a few directions I could go: an apple dessert, a Mexican dish, or something Asian-y. To me, making an apple dessert [which I’d make anyway countless times this fall] was the easy way out. So was Mexican. That left Asian. What to make, what to make. OH! Sesame. I had sesame seeds and sesame oil… and somehow made an awesome awesome kale salad that has been a constant in our fridge for the past three weeks. Seriously!

Kale Salad with Sesame-Lime Dressing | thepajamachef.com #MysteryDish

 

I would say that the dressing in all its nutty sesame, citrusy tart lime, intense fresh ginger, and salty soy is the best part of the salad. But then I’d be doing a disservice to the crunchy toasted sesame seeds [I used white AND black] and the dried sweet apples. That’d be so sad. This salad keeps well in the fridge over the course of the week. The dressing softens the kale more and more over time, and is just so fragrant and flavorful! One might think that if you’re making the salad ahead of time it would be better to add the sesame seeds and dried apples just before serving. But surprisingly the sesame seeds stay nice ‘n crisp, and the apples take on a great salty-sweet flavor once they’ve bathed in the dressing for a day or so. Obviously the ultimate choice is up to you–assuming the salad lasts long enough for leftovers–but I highly recommend just tossing it all together and enjoying dish after dish in your lunch all week long.

Kale Salad with Sesame-Lime Dressing | thepajamachef.com #MysteryDish

I’ve never had a salad I’ve had to fight Ben for…this is a first. I mean, he likes salad and kale but this kale salad is out of this world amazing! Enjoy!!

one year ago: Maple Apple Pie-Crisp with Cheddar Crust and Bacon Crumb Topping
two years ago: 1970s Style Tacos

four years ago: Sweet and Spicy Blueberry Pork

Kale Salad with Sesame-Lime Dressing

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 15 minutes
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dressing recipe from freshncrunchy

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • juice of 1 lime [approximately 1/4 cup]
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup dried apples, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Directions:

Wash kale, then remove thick stems and thinly slice leaves into ribbons. Dry with a salad spinner or a kitchen towel. Place in a large bowl.

In a measuring cup, combine extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, maple syrup, and ginger. Whisk to combine, then pour half the dressing over the kale. Toss together with salad tongs or your hands, and add as much of the remaining dressing as desired. For extra tender kale, massage dressing into the kale with your hands for a few minutes. Allow salad to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving to soften. Top with chopped apples.

Place sesame seeds in a cold skillet. Set on stovetop over medium heat, and toast for 3-5 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring often. Add sesame seeds to kale salad before serving.

September Mystery Dish | t hepajamachef.com
Come check out what else we made this month!

  1. Green Chile Chicken Soup – Chez CateyLou
  2. Crockpot Chicken Chilli Stew – Yummy Healthy Easy
  3. Spiced Apple Crisp – I Want Crazy
  4. Kale Salad with Sesame-Lime Dressing – The Pajama Chef
  5. Spiced Mini Skillet Apple Crisp – Culinary Couture
  6. Pan Seared Pork Chops with Spicy Apple Chutney – Flavor the Moments
  7. Matcha Swirl Cheesecake – Baking a Moment
  8. Green Chile Cheese Pinwheels – I Dig Pinterest.
  9. Baked Apple Donuts with Cardamom Cream Cheese Glaze – Joyful Healthy Easy
  10. Vegan Gluten-Free Ginger Walnut Apple Pie Bars – The Sweet-Tooth Life
  11. Apple Feta Salad with Toasted Sesame Seeds – The Well Floured Kitchen
  12. Apple Cardamon Crisp – Blahnik Baker
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Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame

Spicy peanut sauce, noodles, kale, and edamame meet in an addictive, easy pseudo-takeout meal that can be enjoyed hot or cold–what’s not to love?!

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame | thepajamachef.com

This spring/summer Ben and I have been eating sesame or peanut noodles all. the. time. [Side note: is there an actual difference between them? I’m sure there is. The librarian part of me is itching to google this up and see what I find out, but I’ll restrain myself.] They have replaced our easy mac & cheese from a box dinners. I have a hard time telling you what recipe I’ve used because a) I have many pinned on Pinterest and b) don’t really measure ingredients for sauces like this because I’ve never taken the time to take a few pictures to share the recipe here! But this time I did. Measure and photograph. :) And this time I didn’t use any recipe except what sounded/looked/tasted good to me. It’s a good thing I did, because my noodles were utterly amazing.

Inspired by the lovely Amy of fearless homemaker and HER spicy peanut & sesame noodles, I added mix-ins to my noodles for the first time ever. What a good choice! Adding some kale and edamame made the textures of everything just pop and look pretty. Dontcha just love all that green?! :)

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame | thepajamachef.com

Ben walked in the door just as I was mixing everything together and was like, “what in the world is that fabulous smell?! You must be the best wife ever for cooking such an incredible dinner.” Okay, maybe his words didn’t come out exactly like that, but the sentiment was there. I know it. But seriously–these noodles DO smell fabulous. The sauce is the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, and fresh flavors. I used ground ginger in the sauce but if I had had fresh ginger… oh man. Use that if you can.

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame | thepajamachef.com

Though I served these noodles as a vegetarian main course, this is a great base recipe to add some meat. I think grilled chicken or thinly sliced steak would be great. Or even shrimp or tofu. This could even be a side dish if you like. We loved every last one of these yummy noodles, and like all good Asian-ish recipes…you can enjoy them hot or cold. They’re great both ways. In the recipe below I included notes about how to prepare them to be more picnic friendly, but no matter how you make them, I’m sure you’ll love ‘em! Enjoy!

one year ago: Ginger Banana Waffles
two years ago: Minty Asian Slaw
three years ago: Lemon Crinkle Cookies

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 20min
  • Print

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Kale and Edamame | thepajamachef.com

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces thin spaghetti noodles [any sort of thin noodle would work–Asian of any type, linguini, etc.]
  • 3 cups kale, tightly packed & thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Thai basil, loosely packed & chopped
  • 1 cup edamame, shelled & room temperature
  • green onions, sliced, for garnish

for sauce

  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • juice of half a lime [roughly 2 tablespoons]
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger [use 1 inch grated fresh ginger if you have it]
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • ~1/2 cup pasta water, to thin sauce

Directions:

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Be sure to reserve about half a cup of pasta’s cooking water to thin the sauce.

While noodles are cooking, whisk together all ingredients for sauce except for the pasta water.

When pasta is ready, drain, and return to pot [or a large bowl]. Add kale, basil, and edamame and toss. Thin dressing with 3 tablespoons of pasta water, whisk, and the pour over noodles and vegetables. Toss well to coat. If necessary, add additional pasta water to thin sauce further, up to a full half cup.

Serve noodles with green onions for garnish.

Note:

Can be enjoyed warm or cold, but the dressing does really absorb into the noodles after refrigeration [which doesn’t bother me but does affect presentation] so if you’re making these noodles for an event and want to serve them cold, be sure to rinse well after draining to get rid of starch, toss with a bit of sesame oil, and then refrigerate separately from the sauce and veggies. Toss together before serving. I haven’t tried this technique with this recipe, but I have done similar things for other dishes so I assume it’d work well! Using rice noodles [that you don’t boil to cook, thus, they stay cold] might be a good option too.

 

Kale Quinoa Salad

When I was asked to cater the bridal shower, I was told that the bride loooved kale and quinoa. This salad was the direct inspiration of that. Well, and of Smitten Kitchen. Ha. But anyways, this kale quinoa salad is just SO good, you guys. It’s so fresh and delightful, I could seriously eat it for breakfast and be happy. With a fried egg on top? Oh goodness, I think I’m going to try that really soon.

Kale Quinoa Salad | thepajamachef.com

Like any kale or quinoa salad, the sky’s the limit on mix ins. I just used some basic, affordable pantry staples: dried cranberries, almonds, and feta, but feel free to adjust based on your preferences. I’m a huge pistachio fan myself and think think that would be yummy. Oh, and don’t skip the dressing! Sometimes I just wanna do a basic olive oil rub on kale or quinoa but taking a couple minutes to mix up this vinaigrette-eqse dressing is totally worth it. Enjoy!

Kale Quinoa Salad | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Mexican Rice
two years ago: Black Bean Wraps

Kale Quinoa Salad [adapted from Smitten Kitchen]
click to print

Ingredients:

for salad

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 8 ounces kale, stems removed and thinly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries [or cherries]
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

for dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, as desired

Directions:

In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, kale, cranberries, and scallions. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients: olive oil, viengar,lemon juice, mustard, honey, and dill. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired. Pour dressing over salad and toss well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to set. Top with almonds and feta just before eating.

Time: 40 minutes [10 minutes active].
Yield: 6-8 servings.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt

A few years ago, I made Avocado Soup. It was a cold, gazpacho-esque soup made with yogurt, avocados, and seasonings. Hardly any liquid and served cold, it has gone down in history as one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever served for dinner. Nowadays I would have revamped it as a dip or a sauce, but four years ago it just went in the trash. And with it, my desire to use yogurt as anything more than something to eat with granola or occasionally in baking.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

With that history of yogurt as a dinner ingredient, it came as a surprise to me when I saw this Creamy Shells and Yogurt recipe online and decided to make it. I know warm yogurt sounds weird, but hear me out. This is totally not what you think. Here, Greek yogurt makes a surprisingly delicious rich pasta sauce when combined with eggs and cheese.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

As the sauce comes together, it is almost reminiscent of a rich macaroni and cheese. It is truly one of those dishes that you just have to taste to truly understand.

Creamy Shells and Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

The eggs, cheese, and yogurt come together to make a tangy sauce that tastes rich while being actually pretty light, but the true star of the sauce are fresh herbs and lots of lemon zest. I used lemon thyme and mint for my herbs, but you could use whatever you have on hand. I think parsley, basil, oregano, or any of the usual suspects would work perfectly–but do try the minty lemon combo if you can. It is divine! For a little extra something-something I added some kale to the mix. You know how I love my kale!

Creamy Shells and Yogurt | thepajamachef.com

Everything about this dish screams summer, and even though I only made this pasta a couple weeks ago, I’m craving it so badly now and am wondering if I can justify dirtying up the {clean} kitchen at 10:30 pm just for a small bedtime snack. Of yogurt pasta. And this after making Pumpkin Soup for dinner and telling Ben how I just cannot WAIT for apple picking, apple cider, pumpkin chocolate chip mini muffins, and all the joys of fall [which do NOT include football, thankyouverymuch. That’s Ben’s department.]. I am so seasonally confused. I want it all, summer and fall. But most of all, I want a big bowl of Creamy Shells and Yogurt. It is totally a bright and cheery summer comfort food. I am sooo glad to have tried this pasta–hope you will too!

a year ago… Oatmeal Buttermilk Bread
two years ago… Chorizo and Potato Tacos
three years ago… Taco Casserole

Creamy Shells and Yogurt [adapted from Big Girls Small Kitchen]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces shell pasta
  • 8 ounces plain Greek yogurt [whole or 2%]
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup mint, chopped + more for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon lemon thyme, chopped
  • 3 green onions
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • 1 ounce Mozzarella, shredded or cubed + more for serving
  • 1 large handful kale [~1.5 cups]
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to boil, then add shells and cook to al dente.

Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt, eggs, mint, lemon thyme, green onions, lemon zest, and Mozzarella. Wash kale, remove thick stems, and tear into small pieces.

When pasta is ready, drain and reserve ~ 1/2 cup cooking water. Return pasta to pot and stir in kale. Then add 6 tablespoons water to yogurt sauce and whisk well to temper egg. Pour yogurt sauce over pasta and kale and stir vigorously to coat. Keep stirring until Mozzarella melts, then season to taste with peppers and salt as desired. Serve with additional mint and cheese as desired.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 3-4 servings.

Linked up with: What’s Cookin’ Wednesday.

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese & Bacon

Kale. Seriously can’t get enough of it. Ben can’t either. No complaints here.

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

Normally, our kale is cooked–in pasta, fried rice, or as a base for chicken or pork. But this time, I decided to do something different and make a chopped kale salad. That’s right… raw kale, chopped into a billion teeny tiny bites and tossed with a fabulous array of toppings and the most spectacular dressing ever. Intrigued?

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

What makes this salad special and different is ALL the tastes and textures going on. Crisp carrots, sweet apples, salty bacon, pungent bleu cheese, tart cranberries, crunchy toasted almonds. And a sweet peanut butter-maple vinaigrette that is nothing short of amazing. I was literally eating it with a spoon, for goodness sake! It has a peanut butter base, so that’s totally legit, right?

By the way, if you aren’t the biggest fan of bleu cheese, don’t let this scare you. There’s only enough to give a hint of the flavor, but if you like it you can always substitute feta or parmesan. I don’t always include cheese in my salads but it really works in this one, to make it more substantial. Just FYI.

Chopped Kale Salad | thepajamachef.com

I threw this recipe together quickly on a busy night when we were headed to a small group dinner, and it was all but polished off. Fortunately, there was enough leftovers to enjoy for lunch the next day, but the salad definitely got a little soggy on day 2 so I would recommend adding the dressing just before serving if at all possible. I only made this a couple weeks ago and am totally craving it now, as I write this at 10:27 pm. I have a feeling this salad is going to become a regular in our house and I hope it will in yours too! Enjoy!

So you tell me… have you ever had a kale salad before? What are your go-to [kale] salad mix-ins?

a year ago… Man Cupcakes
three years ago… Creamy Baked Spaghetti

Chopped Kale Salad with Bleu Cheese and Bacon [dressing adapted from Iowa Girl Eats]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 bunches kale
  • 1 1/3 cups red cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large Fuji apple
  • 3 ounces bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup almonds, toasted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • freshly ground black pepper

dressing

  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

Directions:

Wash and dry kale, then tear into small bite-size pieces, discarding thick stems. Add to a large bowl and set aside.

Wash and dry cabbage, carrot, and apple, then shred. I used my food processor but a grater would also work. Add to kale, along with bleu cheese, bacon, almonds, and cranberries.

Whisk together balsamic, olive oil, maple syrup, and peanut butter until smooth to make dressing, then drizzle half over the salad. Toss to combine, and add more dressing as desired. I used about 3/4 of the total dressing made. Season with black pepper to taste, and serve immediately.

Time: 20 minutes.

Yield: 10-12 side salads, 3-4 meal size salads.

Linked up with: Tuesday Talent Show.