It’s hard to believe, but sometimes you can have too much kale.
This past father’s day, visiting my in-laws for their traditional gathering and grilling, I prepared myself with the usual last-minute vegan BBQ supplies: a sack of veggie burgers and sausages for the grill (I woke up only an hour before that, so no handmade burgers this day) and a dashed together kale salad. They’ll supply the beer and the mustard, but beyond that it’s not unlike the BBQs of my teen years and many more after that; BYOVE (bring-your-own-vegan-eats). No big deal. And more kale for me.
Little did I know a seismic eating shift had happened since last time I visited. Due to cholesterol issues and various dietary events, the family BBQ spread was overwhelming, almost entirely vegan. Veggie kebabs, vegan yemista (Greek-style roasted veggies stuffed with rice), and no less than 3 kale dishes, including piles of crispy grilled kale dominated the table.
So what does this have to do with the excellent kale and strawberry salsa tacos above? Well, the end result is that there was left over kale. I’m a vacuum for the green stuff, but even I couldn’t conquered it all and I came home with nearly a quart of leftover salad.
These tacos sprung from the holiday leftovers in need of some TLC, plus a pint of delicate in-season local strawberries that needed eating NOW. You can of course use the fresh strawberry chipotle salsa on anything, but combination of the spicy veggie sausage (Field Roast in this instance, but homemade would fly just as fine) and juicy marinated kale is both refreshing and hearty.
The taco assembly is simple: sauté bite-sized bits of veggie sausage with fresh garlic and a little olive oil, and when crisp and browned transfer to a dish. Top warm tortillas with kale salad, sausage, and spoon on the salsa. For additional bulk I also sautéed a few handfuls of shredded collard greens with garlic, oil, and a dash of salt, then tossed them with the salad right before serving.
The magic of these tacos is in the fresh strawberry chipotle salsa; fruit and smoky chipotle pepper (either easy chipotle powder or saucy and delicious canned chipotles in adobo sauce) is a favorite combination and you’ll often see variations on this on my table. Make and eat this bright, smoky salsa as soon as possible; it doesn’t really keep well, and like peak season berries it’s best enjoyed in the moment.
Strawberry Chipotle Salsa
Makes about 2 cups of salsa
2 1/2 cups cleaned, hulled strawberries
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper or 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Dice the strawberries into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Gently toss with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately and eat up within a day of making.