Here is a salad that hits all the right notes:
Trendy superfood (kale) -- check
Protein (tuna) -- check
Fiber (veggies and beans) -- check
Flavor (Dijon dressing and roasted red pepper) -- check
It's chewy, crunchy, creamy, and tangy, hitting even more of the tastes and textures that make eating enjoyable. Also, to take a little of the chew and (sometimes) bitterness out of the kale, I have a little trick that you might find useful. After ripping it into bite-sized pieces, I massage a little olive oil into the leaves and let it sit on the counter at room temperature for a few minutes. It changes the texture just enough to make the leaves a little more tender -- no heat involved!
The tuna and the Dijon dressing reminds me of my student days when I studies in the South of France, so I will call it:
Provencal Tuna Salad
1 bunch kale
1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp white wine or cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can canellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 jar (6.7 oz) good quality tuna packed in olive oil (I got mine at the Fresh Market)
1 stalk celery, chopped into a small dice
1 roasted red pepper, chopped into a small dice
First, clean and pull the leafy part of the kale off the the stalk, discard the stalks (or save them -- I keep a bag in the freezer and put kale stalks, carrot peels, celery ends and such to make vegetable stock once the bag is full). Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces, put in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Using your hands (cooking can get messy, my friends), rub the olive oil on to the leaves, kind of like giving the kale a massage. I'm not kidding. After the oil has been (more or less) evenly distributed on the kale leaves, set the bowl aside while you put together the rest of the salad.
In a separate, medium-sized bowl, put the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, Dijon mustard and vinegar. Using a fork, whisk the dressing ingredients together until completely combined. Taste, then add salt and/or pepper to your liking.
[TIP: for a general vinaigrette, the oil to acid ratio is about 3:1, but you can also adjust that ratio to your liking as well -- start with three parts oil to one part vinegar, combine and taste. If it's too acid or sharp tasting, add more oil. If it's too oily, add a little more acid, which can be vinegar, lemon juice, etc.]
Then, just dump the rest of the ingredients (beans, tuna, chopped celery, chopped bell pepper) into the dressing and carefully combine.
To serve, put some kale in a bowl, then top with some of the tuna-bean mixture:
This makes 4-6 servings, depending on how hungry your family is. I had enough kale left over to make kale chips and have some of the tuna-bean mixture for lunch the next day. :-) Let me tell you, that even my picky eater liked some of this (he ate the tuna-bean mixture, but didn't like the red bell pepper). He probably would have eaten it if I had used raw bell pepper...and my oldest, who eats almost anything, ate all of his kale first. I almost cried, I was so proud!
Which brings me to my next point -- this is a really flexible dish. If you don't have roasted red bell pepper, then don't use it. Sub in an extra stalk of celery, or a raw bell pepper, red onion, whatever. If you can't find tuna fillets packed in oil (I used Tonnino brand), then use regular tuna, but add a little bit more seasoning (herbes de provence would be good, or oregano). It's your salad; these are just guidelines. Have fun with it!