As of last week’s Farmers’ Market stop, Tuscan kale (dinosaur kale) is my new favorite vegetable. It’s a flatter, darker version of the common curly-leafed kale and is full of culinary potential.

Food nerd that I am, I did a little research and found that it not only is incredibly healthy but it incidentally ranks pretty high on Michelle Obama’s list of favorites as well…so much so that she has gone to great lengths to stock up. While we may share tastes in produce, our styles of grocery shopping are not so similar; I usually leave the Secret Service and bomb-sniffing dog entourage behind on my veggie runs.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a kale fan, I think (along with Michelle Obama perhaps) that you need to give it a try. Here’s one way of preparing it that should please even the most reluctant taste buds:

1/4 cup olive oil
2 heaping tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 cup dates, chopped (I used the kind that is coated in oat flour)
3 cups Tuscan kale
1 medium carrot, grated
1/4 cup green onion or leek, finely sliced
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
dash of cayenne pepper, salt, and ground mustard

Measure out the liquids and let the dates soak in it for a few minutes while you prepare other things. Wash 10 or so leaves of kale thoroughly. With a sharp knife, remove the middle ribs of the leaves (they’re tough and fibrous) and then cut the tender part of the leaves into thin slices (chiffonade). Once you’re done cutting and chopping the vegetables, combine them in a bowl. If you’d like a little more sweetness and texture, throw in an additional 1/4 cup of chopped dates.

In an electric blender, blend the oil/vinegar/lemon/date combination until you stop seeing large chunks of dates. Add the dry spices to the liquid and taste (adjust accordingly). Finally, add the liquid mixture to the bowl of other ingredients and mix it up so that the liquid is lightly coating all of the kale.
You can serve this on its own as a little salad, top a sandwich with it…really you can use it like you would a normal coleslaw. The dates give it the traditional coleslaw sweetness, the vinegar and lemon give it the tang, but neither flavor should be overpowering. And there is no dairy or refined sugar in it!

The liquid acts like a marinade–it tenderizes the leaves, and the flavors settle in together over time.
Since the kale is pretty tender on its own you can eat this almost right away, but a few hours (or more) in the fridge will do it a favor.