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Food

The key to making your raw kale tender is a little massage

This undated photo provided by America's Test Kitchen in March 2019 shows Kale Salad With Sweet Potatoes. The recipe appears in the cookbook "The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook." (Carl Tremblay/America's Test Kitchen via AP)
This undated photo provided by America's Test Kitchen in March 2019 shows Kale Salad With Sweet Potatoes. The recipe appears in the cookbook "The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook." (Carl Tremblay/America's Test Kitchen via AP)

We love the earthy flavor of uncooked kale, but the texture of raw kale can be a little tough.

Many recipes call for tossing it with dressing and letting it tenderize in the fridge overnight. This method didn't deliver the tender leaves we were after, and the long sitting time wasn't very convenient.

Luckily, we found another technique that worked better and faster: massaging. Squeezing and massaging the kale broke down the cell walls in much the same way that heat would, darkening the leaves and turning them silky. Caramelized roasted sweet potatoes, shredded radicchio, crunchy pecans, a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese, and a sweet pomegranate vinaigrette turned our salad into a hearty meal.

If you can't find pomegranate molasses, you can make your own. Tuscan kale (also known as dinosaur or Lacinato kale) is more tender than curly-leaf and red kale; if using curly-leaf or red kale, increase the massaging time to 5 minutes. Do not use baby kale.

KALE SALAD WITH SWEET POTATOES AND POMEGRANATE VINAIGRETTE

Servings: 6-8

Start to finish: 1 hour

Salad:

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

12 ounces Tuscan kale, stemmed and sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide strips (7 cups)

1/2head radicchio (5 ounces), cored and sliced thin

1/3cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Shaved Parmesan cheese

Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

1 small shallot, minced

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Salt and pepper

1/4cup extra-virgin olive oil

For the salad: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 F. Toss sweet potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange potatoes in single layer in rimmed baking sheet and roast until browned, 25 to 30 minutes, flipping potatoes halfway through roasting. Transfer to plate and let cool for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, vigorously squeeze and massage kale with hands until leaves are uniformly darkened and slightly wilted, about 1 minute.

For the vinaigrette: Whisk water, pomegranate molasses, shallot, honey, vinegar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in oil.

Add potatoes, kale, and radicchio to vinaigrette and gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to serving platter and sprinkle with pecans and shaved Parmesan to taste. Serve.

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Nutrition information per serving: 288 calories; 171 calories from fat; 19 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 0 mg cholesterol; 292 mg sodium; 28 g carbohydrate; 5 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 4 g protein.

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For more recipes, cooking tips and ingredient and product reviews, visit https://www.americastestkitchen.com . Find more recipes like Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Pomegranate Vinaigrette in "The Complete Mediterranean ."

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America's Test Kitchen provided this article to The Associated Press.

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