Not a detox salad but a welcome to spring, summer and salads. Kale can be prepped the day before eating, then topped and dressed with the smoked oil vinaigrette and addictive nutty topping just before serving. This is perfect as a substantial side salad, or topped with your protein of choice for a “meal salad”. Add new potatoes or asparagus in spring, and pan-roasted sweetcorn in the height of summer.
Kale salads are everywhere. Still. You know a trend is pretty entrenched when main stream supermarkets have them alongside the everyday mixed veg salads, and don’t even make a big song and dance about it. I picked up one yesterday while doing the food shop for my cancer and nutrition classes – in the interests of research, of course – and it ticked all of the on-trend boxes: spiralized carrots and courgette, Vietnamese-ish dressing, shredded kale, edamame, black quinoa. The only thing it didn’t have was coconut water and sorghum. 😉
I have veered away from kale salads for awhile. I’m not sure why as I certainly appreciate the multiplicity of strong flavour options, as well as the robustness and “picnicability” of a kale salad. Heck, it even tastes great with sun-kissed strawberries. Which still continues to amaze me.
A word about buying kale: I know shops have bags of pre-cut kale. They are really handy to have for adding minerality and extra fiber to smoothies, soups and bakes. But can I please insist that you get whole leaf for salads? It will make a world of difference.
One of the pleasures of making this salad is the easy prep, and in all honesty having a bag of ready-chopped doesn’t make it significantly quicker. About three whole minutes quicker I guess. Three minutes where you could be cutting away the tough pale ribs (and saving them for soup) for a much more enjoyable salad. Taking the time to carefully cut out the rib from each leaf is meditative and, like anointing with the perfect dressing, takes your kale salad from serviceable to incredible. All you do is lay each leaf on a cutting board, run a heavy – or at least sturdy – knife along each side of the rib to give you two kale “fillets”, then stack them up and thinly slice.
The other thing that is nigh on essential is massaging. Many of you will know about this weird-sounding technique and already do it, but if you are relatively new to kale salads massaging your greens is de rigueur for salad perfection. The type used in most salads – cavolo nero – is gorgeous but thick. (No jokes about past boyfriends.) To soften it up add your sliced kale to a large bowl and either sprinkle over a little flaky salt and basically massage it in, or use oil – or both as I have done for this salad. The volume will shrink rather alarmingly, so don’t be alarmed to see your fluffy pile of green suddenly diminish before your eyes. But remember it is still the same weight and nutritional value (actually the nutrition slightly increases).
The great thing about kale salads is that you can do the kale prep a day in advance. So if you are having a lunch for friends you could do all of the above and stow it in a sealable bag or box until you are ready to eat. Kale salads make great leftovers too, especially if you save some naked salad back and dress as needed. That sounded a bit rude, but you know what I mean. 🙂
And I have another kale salad edict: make the nutty sprinkles. I have adapted the recipe from a previous kale salad recipe, veering it into ranch dressing territory. If this kind of flavour profile doesn’t float your boat, keep it to the original. I always make double and sprinkle it on other salads, over soups, mixed through yogurt (with chopped tomatoes and cucumber), on vegetable bakes and I even dip in with a teaspoon if I fancy something savoury. It’s pretty addictive stuff. As is this salad. You have been warned…
Spring-Green Kale Salad
Not a detox salad but a welcome to spring, summer and salads. Kale can be prepped the day before eating, then topped and dressed with the smoked oil vinaigrette and addictive nutty topping just before serving. This is perfect as a substantial side salad, or topped with your protein of choice for a “meal salad”. Add new potatoes or asparagus in spring, and pan-roasted sweetcorn in the height of summer. xx
1 x 400g (14 ounces) or so bunch cavolo nero/lacinto/black kale – all the same thing
1 tbsp smoked olive oil (I get mine from Marks & Spencer)
Handful of radishes
200g (7 ounces) roasted cauliflower or cooked new potatoes (or even cooked chickpeas)
1 head of Romaine or cos lettuce
The Nutty Sprinkles
30g (1/4 cup) pumpkin seeds
70g (1/2 cup) raw almonds in their skins
75g (1/2 cup) raw cashews
Zest of one lemon
15g (1/4 cup) nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp each garlic and onion powder
1/4 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp white pepper
Dressing: 1 tbsp smoked olive oil, 2 tbsp best olive oil, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or lemon and orange
Optional extras: steamed or roasted asparagus; steamed or roasted beetroot; steamed or boiled green beans; cooked chickpeas; pomegranate arils; orange or grapefruit slices; strawberries or blueberries; goat’s cheese; roasted sweetcorn; homemade croutons
1. De-rib the kale slices with a sharp knife and thinly slice. Add the kale to a large bowl and pour in one tablespoon of the smoked oil and a pinch of salt. Massage well with your hands until the kale is soft and shrunken.
2. Make the nutty sprinkles by toasting the nuts in a 180C (350F) oven for 5 minutes, then add the lemon zest and toast for a further 3 minutes. Let the nuts cool then tumble in a mini food processor until nubbly. Add in the nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powders and the dill and paprika; process for just a second or two to blend. Taste and add salt to taste.
3. When you are ready to eat, stone and slice the avocado (into cubes if you like), radishes and lettuce. Mix everything up in a serving bowl. Whisk up the dressing and pour over, followed by a generous hand of nutty sprinkles.
A Few Other Kale Salads On Food To Glow
Kale, Eggplant and Goldenberry Grain Salad with Tahini-Ginger Dressing
And some from others
Lightened Up Kale Caesar – Whole Nourishment
Kale and Butternut Squash Salad – Whole Nourishment
Lentil Salad with Kale – The Spicy RD
Asian Kale Salad with Ginger Dressing – Rough Measures
and 15 Favorite Kale Salads – Cookie and Kate
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