December 14th, 2009

Peanut Kale Slaw (Bacon Optional, If You Are Crazy)

peanut kale slaw

Yea. I said it. Bacon is optional if you are crazy. Or if you are a vegetarian. But if you eat meat and not bacon, I stand by my comment. Bring it on. In the meantime, let me tell you about this delicious slaw.

For the first night of Hanukkah I gave the ChowPapa this Maple Bacon Peanut Brittle. (Yes. Bacon. For a Jewish holiday. We are, after all, a family that celebrates Christmaskah.) The first thing he said after his first bite was that it would be awesome on a spinach salad. He was right, though spinach salad seemed a slightly boring backdrop for these sweet and smoky treats. Instead, I decided to adapt a recipe for Kale Slaw.

I’d never made slaw with kale before. In fact, I’ve never prepared a dish with raw kale, period. It seemed too tough. But, as I tossed the kale with dressing, it occurred to me that cabbage—the primary ingredient in cole slaw—is equally hearty. Why hadn’t I ever put that together before?! I also learned that, not unlike spinach, kale quickly softens with dressing, giving this slaw a great texture from the get-go, especially paired with crunchy peanuts.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble of getting Maple Bacon Peanut Brittle, you can get a similar smoky punch of flavor by adding crumbled bacon (and, if you’re really serious, substituting 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil with bacon fat in the dressing). Or (all you crazies), skip the bacon all together. I will when we run out of Maple Bacon Peanut Brittle and don’t have any bacon on hand. Because I have a bit of crazy in me, too! (And because I can tell this will be tasty even without.)

(Bacon) Peanut Kale Slaw
adapted from Martha Stewart
(can be adapted for kids 12+ mos*)

1 large bunch organic kale, cleaned, ribs removed, very thinly sliced crosswise
3 organic carrots, grated
3/4 c organic vegetable oil
1/2 c organic cider vinegar
1/2 c organic roasted, salted peanuts or maple bacon peanut brittle, plus another 1/4 c, chopped**
3 tbsp organic light brown sugar (you can use granulated sugar if it’s all you have)
3/4 tsp kosher salt

1. Toss kale and carrots together in a bowl.

2. Place all other ingredients except for additional 1/4 cup of peanuts in a blender and blend until smooth to make dressing.

3. Toss kale and carrots with dressing. Top with remaining chopped peanuts.

*Note: Any child over 12 mos who is already eating peanuts can technically eat this slaw, but the texture may be a challenge for them. If you want to share this with little ones, very finely chop their portion and allow the kale to sit in the dressing long enough to soften quite a nit. Even better, you can quick steam their portion to soften the kale before dressing it.

**Note: There is a lot of disagreement about when it’s safest to introduce tree nuts. Some pediatricians (and I) believe that it is safe to introduce nuts to children without other food allergies or family history of food allergies at 12 months (perhaps even earlier!). Others encourage parents to wait until 24 or 36 months. Speak to your pediatrician about what’s best for your child.

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