Autumn Celery & Spicy Peanut Dressing

Autumn is one of my favorite food seasons. It ushers in the arrival of a new crop of celery and the debut of cold weather lover kale. These two are married in this warm, spicy and peanut spiked Celery & Kale Salad, which I guarantee will make you think about celery and peanuts in new ways.

Peanut the wonder legume, provides a boost of protein. A little red chili adds a touch of spice, and a ton of greens topped with fresh herbs really make this dish pop. It’s a crowd pleaser and a great side dish, but can easily be made into a main dish with the inclusion of lovely *soba noodles, which are a nutty buckwheat noodle from Japan that cook up in just 6 minutes. 1 cup of steamed brown rice works well too, but takes up to 20 minutes to cook. Try the soba or enjoy it alone, all together it’s a 15 minute winner! Seriously consider doubling the dressing recipe, it only gets better the next day when the flavors have time to get cosy together.

Celery & Kale Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Serves: 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main dish

Salad

150g of chopped curly kale (or Tuscan/Cavolo Nero kale, stems removed and roughly chopped)
2.5 stalks of celery, chopped thinly and on the diagonal
1 large handful of fresh coriander, chopped roughly
2 stalks of green onion, chopped finely
60g (small handful) of roasted & unsalted peanuts, chopped roughly
8-10 fresh basil leaves, preferably Thai Basil
1 clove of garlic, chopped for sautéing the kale
Add any additional greens you like, watercress, carrot noodles for color, use what you have
Dressing – Double this recipe to keep for another day!
1 small to medium clove of garlic, chopped finely
½ of one hot red chili, seeds removed for less heat, chopped finely
¼ of a small to medium yellow or white onion, chopped finely
60g (small handful) of roasted peanuts (can be salted, but reduce the nama shoyu/soya by half)
60ml (¼ cup) of Raw Apple Cider, Coconut or Rice Vinegar
40ml of melted Virgin Coconut oil, Unroasted Sesame oil or other neutral vegetable oil
1 Tbs of Nama Shoyu, Coconut or Soy Aminos or best quality low-salt soy sauce
1.5 tsp (splash) of maple syrup or honey, as desired
(may need ½ of lime or lemon, to taste)

Preparation

Put the chopped chili and garlic in the vinegar and oil, leave standing for five minutes. Chop your herbs and celery while this infuses. Add the infused mixture to the blender with oil, vinegar, maple syrup, nama shoyu, Tamari or soy sauce, and peanuts and blend until creamy. Taste it and if it’s too chunky you can add a squeeze of ½ a lime or drizzle up to 30ml of water in, bit by bit.
Let dressing stand while you prepare the kale by warming a bit of your chosen dressing oil in a pan with garlic until garlic is lightly golden. Add the kale and cook until just bright green, about 3-5 minutes maximum. Toss the chopped celery through the warm kale and pour the dressing over the greens and combine to your preferred sauciness, taste and adjust (salt & pepper) seasoning as needed.

Substitute a heaping Tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter without sugar for the peanuts in the dressing and swap seeds like sunflower or pumpkin in place of the garnish peanuts without much impact.

Garnish

Top the salad with the fresh herbs, tear the basil leaves over the top. Garnish with sliced chili and the chopped peanuts or seeds as desired.
Bon Appetit!

*You can find soba noodles at any Asian grocery store or at most health food stores