Last week, I taught a Spring Cooking Class to two groups of women in my home. We had a great time learning how to cook, getting to know each other a little better, and of course, finishing the class off with a meal! Everyone loved this Springtime Spinach, Kale and Pasta Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing. It’s the perfect salad for your next luncheon served with a little chicken salad croissant and a fun dessert or two!
I’m probably the last person on the planet who hasn’t jumped on the kale bandwagon. I have a hard time eating something that tastes like a cross between grass and really tough lettuce. I love the dark color and the interest it adds to salads. I also love that kale holds its shape and doesn’t become soggy after being dressed, but the toughness of the leaves always makes me want to take a pass when offered a kale salad.
I was so happy to find the secret for me to enjoying kale in a salad was a little massage time! Yes, you read that right, a little massage. I shared a salad a while back that was a copycat of a salad I ate at Red Butte restaurant and surprisingly, loved! I knew for this salad I wanted a variety of greens and I thought kale was the perfect green to mix with either spinach or lettuce. I wanted the salad to have bit of pasta, lots of fresh fruit, and be able to hold up for a while if it was left to sit on a buffet table for a baby or wedding shower.
I know you’re going to love this dish. It’s loaded with fresh berries and veggies, a light citrus dressing and some creamy avocados to top it all off. Happy Spring!
Springtime Spinach, Kale and Pasta Salad with Creamy Citrus Dressing
Yield 20 -25 side servings
- 1 lb bowtie pasta, cooked al dente , cooled and tossed with olive oil or a bit of the dressing
- 8 cups kale ( about one bunch of Kale), chopped
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- sea salt
- 1 large head red leaf lettuce or 16-20 cups of spinach
- 1 pint blueberries
- 1 pint raspberries
- 1 pint strawberries
- celery, finely chop 2-3 stalks
- 1 bunch green onion, chopped
- ¼ cup red onion, chopped fine
- avocado 1-2, chunked
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 1 heaping tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate
- 1 tablespoons chopped shallot
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons honey
- Salt and pepper
- Cook the pasta, for bowtie, I cook for about 10 minutes ( a minute less than package directions) in about two tablespoons of salt.Set aside to cool, or if making ahead, toss with a bit of the dressing (about 1/4 cup) or a couple of tablespoons of olive oil, place in ziplock bag and store in fridge for up to three days before serving.
- Prepare the dressing by placing all dressing ingredients in a deep bowl or jar and whisking using an immersion blender. You may also use a blender. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Wash the berries and let drain. Pat dry if needed.
- Wash and spin the kale dry. Chop into bite size pieces. Place in a large bowl. Juice the lemon and pour over the kale in the bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the kale. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Using hands, massage the kale for a few minutes until you can feel the kale breaking down. When you are finished, the kale should be about half the volume. You may also do this in a sealed ziplock bag, squeeze the air out first!
- Toss the pasta, kale and the other greens (lettuce or spinach) together and place in a large serving bowl.
- Sprinkle the remaining fruit, chopped celery, green and red onions on top of the greens in a serving bowl or platter. Add the chopped avocado just before serving. Drizzle with dressing.
- Alternately, toss the greens, pasta and all of the other ingredients in a large bowl with about 1/2 of the dressing, reserving some of the fresh berries and the avocado. After tossing, place in serving bowl, top with additional fruit and avocado and drizzle with a little of the remaining dressing.