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feel good food that's good for you

A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it's still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut flakes are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.

A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it’s still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut bacon are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.

A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it's still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut flakes are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.This is just the sort of the thing I crave as winter elides into spring. It’s not warm enough for “salad-salad” but all of the hot foods – soups, pastas, bakes – are getting old. Even if they are new. Do you know what I mean?

The vegetable section of the supermarkets are really struggling with salad stuff anyway. The rain in Spain has well and truly fallen on the plains in horticultural hotspot Murcia, decimating winter-grown tender crops that we in the UK have grown to expect. No pun intended. I’ve not seen the rationing that was reported recently in the press, but I have seen swathes of empty green crates lining the chilled produce aisle where courgettes, broccoli and lettuce would normally be. It’s like reliving the dreaded, but happily non-event, Millennium bug, but with veg instead of canned goods and bottled water.

This salad, like other salads of mine over the winter months in years past, majors on what we can easily get at its best. A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it's still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut flakes are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.Kale is easy to get and at its best right now. Heck, it is growing well in my garden, so mild has been our winter. I love going out in my jammies, scissors in hand, to cut kale for a morning stir fry (yes, I’m a little strange); the proud, swordlike leaves of dusty blue-green a bright beam of interest in an otherwise dull winter vegetable garden. I’m not at all green-thumbed, so if you have a wee patch to pop in a raised bed or till by hand, consider sowing seeds or buying plant plugs when the air is just a little warmer. Here’s an article on the types of kale to grow or look out for at your green grocer.

Blood orange, or blush oranges as they are sometimes coyly called, are one thing we cannot grow here. But the Sicilian imports are still pretty fabulous and go extremely well with kale. Their astringently sweet, raspberry-scented flavour marries so well with bitter flavours that I will be posting an even more unusual recipe that I’ve tested on a loop, and that we love very much. A speedy, healthy, hot supper recipe. Because despite me celebrating spring with a salad, we just know the mild weather can’t last.

A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it's still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut flakes are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.

Smoky Winter Kale Salad with Cilantro-Avocado Dressing

A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it’s still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut bacon are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.

The Dressing

30 grams (1 loose packed cup) cilantro/leaf and stem coriander, washed and patted dry

1/2 ripe avocado

Juice of 1/2 small lime

3 tbsp best olive oil

3 slices pickled green jalapenos (like you put on nachos), optional

Water to thin to desired consistency

Salt and fresh black pepper

Method: Put all but the water in a blender and pulse until creamy, adding water as needed. It is good for it to be just lighter than heavy/double cream.A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it's still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut flakes are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.

The Salad

6-8 leaves of cavolo nero/Tuscan kale/lacinto – washed and ribs removed with a sharp paring knife OR a mix of cavolo nero and purple or green curly kale (I have my own mild cavolo nero and heartier redbore)

1/2 tsp of olive oil

1 avocado, pitted and sliced into large pieces or as you wish

Handful of radishes, topped and tailed then thinly slicecd

2 small blood oranges or best oranges, peeled and segmented, saving any juice to spritz over the salad

Handful of toasted nuts or seeds – I toasted walnuts in a 180C oven for 10 minutes

About a cupped handful of my smoky maple coconut bacon – optional but highly, highly recommended; I’ve got a few people addicted to it 🙂

Method:

1. Stack the de-ribbed kale and slice into thinnish ribbons, or larger pieces like I have cut. Pop these in a bowl and drizzle with the oil. Using your hands, massage until the kale is softened and reduced in volume. This step also makes it sweeter.

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Blood Orange Olive Oil from Greybe Fine Olive Products, Scotland

2. Spread the avocado-cilantro dressing on the bottom of a serving bowl and top with the massaged kale and the remaining ingredients. Toss just before serving, spritzing with any residual blood orange juice.

A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it's still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut flakes are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.If you like this recipe, why not Pin it? You can also follow me on Pinterest!A perfect winter into spring salad for when you are craving fresh, healthy flavours, jewel-like colours and snappy textures. Blood orange, massaged kale (yep, it's still around!), creamy avocado dressing and toasty, smoky coconut flakes are what you want right now. Vegan and full of nutritious but luxurious tastes.

38 thoughts on “Smoky Winter Kale Salad – With Avocado-Cilantro Dressing To Go With Everything!

    1. Thanks so much. I’m really glad you like the look of this enough to perhaps make it. Let me know if you do!

  1. Bright and beautiful. Lovely combos 🙂

    1. Aw, thank you Niki. It *is* bright. I didn’t have to do any editing to the colour at all!

  2. Pinnatifid says:

    Beautiful food again! And whaddya know, I have all of the ingredients in my fridge right now… guess there’s no reason not to have this for lunch today!

    1. I’m glad to hear/read it! I hope you love it as much as I do. If you pop it on Instagram, do tag me so I can see it. I’m @food_to_glow. 😊😊😊

  3. This salad and gorgeously green dressing is calling my name. Love the combination of walnuts and coconut bacon here. Must try! Funny how we have similar elements in our salads this week but different takes on winter produce ;-). I’d love to grow my own kale but I don’t have a green thumb either. So your words have inspired me. #springgoal

    1. Do grow the kale! You might have to wait until next winter though unless you can get native seeds or plugs to tolerate your heat. Yes, we are often quite synchronistic in our posts, aren’t we? Your salad is GORGEOUS. Anyone reading this go look at Katie’s blog!

  4. Jessica says:

    Amazing pictures…yum, looks super tasty :)!!

    1. Thanks so much Jessica. The light was just right – I got lucky!

  5. egitamillere says:

    Colours are just so juicy 🙂 perfect! your blog is such an inspiration for my own little blog

    1. I love that description, Egita. Thank you!

  6. chefkreso says:

    Thanks for the recipe, plan on trying it asap, just bought kale today at the market!

    1. Awesome! I hope you like it – and make it your own. Do try and get the blood oranges if you don’t alread have them – soooo good. 🙂

      1. chefkreso says:

        I love blood oranges, don’t know if I can find them at the market at this time, but the first chance I get 🙂

      2. Oh, it would be good with any orange, but they need to be juicy and taste properly orangey – if you know what I mean!

      3. chefkreso says:

        I know what you mean ! Thank you!

  7. belleaukitchen says:

    right, that’s it… smokey coconut bacon os on the list… this is genius! And I know exactly what you mean about stews getting old… I want a salad but I don’t want a salad!

    1. It’s actually addictive, Dom. I make it for work to sprinkle on salads and there is NEVER any leftover and everyone goes crazy with the novelty of it. Theoretically it lasts for a couple of weeks 😉 Haven’t tried it on stew…

  8. Very enticing. The colours and textures look wonderful.

  9. What an awesome looking salad, it’s literally jumping off the screen for me! I could cry though at never seeing blood oranges any more, they were always my favourite but seem to be rarer than hens teeth these days:-(

    1. Hmm, I see them at greengrocers all wrapped in colourful tissue paper, as well as in bags at Waitrose and Tesco. They sometimes get called blush oranges. Rarely are they marketed as blood oranges these days. Our sensitive selves apparently find that description a bit off putting. 😉

  10. stateeats says:

    Oh man, the flavors and textures here! I think you’ve hit all the right notes. – Kat

    1. Why thank you, Kat. 🙂

    2. Thanks so much, Kat. It’s kind of unusual but it works. Or I think so!

  11. I love a good Salad. Yours look wonderful, and so easy! Thank you for the recipe.

  12. wolfaketa says:

    Hmmmm, That must taste great. I think I will make that. Great job, keep it up.

    1. I hope that you do. Thanks for taking the time to comment. 🙂

  13. I have found the lack of Spanish vegetables quite liberating! Although I would not want to go back to the 1960s when we only had potatoes, carrots, swedes and cabbage with the occasional cauliflower, but it was good to get away from the perennial broccoli! What a beautiful salad you have created, it’s not secret that I love blood oranges and this is another great way to eat them!

    1. Me too, Janice. For work and home I really try and stick with seasonal from here and the near continent but most lend themselves to cooking rather than eating raw, which I am starting to crave. I’m starting to dare getting back to smoothies more than porridge now. I hope I don’t jinx the weather with this daring move 😉

  14. I’ve been loving kale salads, will have to try this out!

  15. Wow, I love the idea of jalapeños in the dressing, and I’m a big fan of the rubbed kale salad almost any time. This salad is definitely on my to-try list.

  16. Allison J. says:

    This looks amazing! I can’t wait to make this. Thanks for sharing and your pictures are fabulous!

  17. agnesstramp says:

    What an amazing salad, Kellie! Gorgeous combination of flavours and colours!

  18. I love salads and now it is getting lighter I am waiting for the salad cravings to kick in, It’s usually round about the start of March that I usually start going salad crazy! This is one gorgeous salad! Shared, shared and shared some more!

If you have time, I would love to hear from you. Thanks so much!

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