Kale and Mushroom Salad with a Lemon Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

When I was in Los Angeles back in May, my cousin introduced me to Lemonade LA, which is possibly the hippest and healthiest cafeteria ever. Lemonade is all about "seasonal Southern California" food, and there's one salad that I've ordered each time I've eaten at Lemonade: the kale, mushroom, and kumquat vinaigrette salad. It's da bomb. For realz. 

When I picked up my CSA share this week and realized that I was getting a bunch of kale, I knew immediately that I was going to have to make a kale, mushroom, and kumquat vinaigrette salad. Unfortunately the kumquats on my little kumquat tree aren't ready for picking yet, and the new Lemonade LA cookbook isn't shipping until November, so I decided to make a lemony dressing to go with the salad -- which is perhaps the easiest dressing (and salad) to make.

All I did was wash and dry the fresh kale, then I removed the stems and tore up the leaves into bite-sized pieces. Then I added in 16 ounces of washed and sliced baby bellas to the kale. (You can use any type of mushroom you want.) The toughest part was making the vinaigrette, and that's only because I decided against whisking the ingredients together with my fingers and had to take a minute to find a real whisk in an unorganized utensil drawer.

For the vinaigrette, I squeezed out the juice of one Meyer lemon into a bowl. Then I whisked in about a tablespoon (I eyeballed it) of dijon mustard into the lemon juice. Then I whisked in a tablespoon of organic wildflower honey to add some sweetness and balance out the bite of the mustard. I drizzled in about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, and I cracked a little bit of pepper and put in a pinch of salt to the mixture. I whisked it all together, and in seconds it was done. My measurements aren't precise here -- are they ever? -- but you can adjust the amounts of any of the vinaigrette ingredients to taste. (I liked mine extra citrusy to cut some of the bitterness of the kale.)

I tossed the kale and mushrooms in the lemon honey dijon vinaigrette, and I let the salad chill in the refrigerator for about an hour in order to make sure that each bite had a nice amount of crunch to go along with the zing from the lemony dressing.

I'm hoping I get more kale in future CSA pickups because I'd like to make this again (and again). It reminds me of window shopping in Manhattan Beach and walking down Abbott Kinney in Venice Beach. Kale is my comfort food.