dinosaur kale, carrots, apple, sunflower seeds, orange juice and toasted sesame oil

I don’t really have a recipe for you today. But I have a salad.

Kale salads are pretty awesome nutritionally, but even more awesome is their shelf-life. A kale salad can be made ahead and will last a day or two if you don’t go overboard with the dressing.  Prefect for toting along for lunch. In my world this makes a kale salad far more convenient than that box of delicate micro greens you have sitting in your fridge – probably wilting as we speak.

So today, I thought I would go through a few basics of kale salad making. It’s pretty easy really. And because kale can stand up to some rough handling you can mix everything in one bowl. All of it, including the dressing.

So first… wash your kale. This goes without saying, but in case. I usually separate the leaves and rinse them under running water. Be sure to check for any visible dirt. Pat the leaves dry with a towel, or spin in a salad spinner. 

Next.. raw kale needs a good massage.  I like to remove the ribs from the larger leaves, then I stack the leaves on top of each other and run my knife through them, thinly slicing.  Toss them in a large bowl, add a tablespoon or so of olive oil (or another good salad oil – grapeseed, even avocado), a squeeze of lemon juice and then just massage for a couple of minutes until the kale is darker, softer and generally more agreeable. All the leaves should be touched by the oil, but not greasy feeling. And definitely, you do not want any oil or juice pooling at the bottom of the salad bowl. 

At this point I just let the kale sit and hang out while I get the rest together:

Mix-ins, my favorite combos:

  • thinly sliced red or green cabbage, shredded carrot, sesame seeds, orange juice, a few drops of toasted sesame oil and honey
  • grated apple or pear, grated raw sweet potato, almond butter and fresh ginger
  • thinly sliced celery, red onion, and sweet red pepper with cooked quinoa and lemon
  • tahini, a clove of garlic mashed, a large carrot and apple grated

Of course, you can add anything: dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, seeds are all great additions. Sometimes the best is simple – avocado, lemon and salt. Leave soft fruit and vegetables out until just before serving.

Add the mix-ins to your kale, add any additional juice, oils or flavouring (garlic, ginger, nut butters, tahini, etc) and toss well to evenly coat all ingredients. Soft fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, oranges segments, grapes, can be added at this point.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Some of my favourite kale salad recipes:

Kale Salad with Sweet Almond Ginger Dressing

Kale salad with Avocado

Kitchen Sink Salad Base with Kale

What’s your favourite kale salad recipe? Leave a recipe or a link below!