This Loaded Kale Salad is the perfect recipe when you need a reset. I generally feel like a reset after a weekend of indulging. There is just something about a loaded salad that makes you feel like you’re treating your body right and hitting the reset button on your healthy eating goals.
Salads are always a winner, but a winning salad needs to be loaded with at least seven ingredients. Why Seven? Because that seems to be the magic number when everything balances out, and you don’t just get a giant forkful of lettuce, but a forkful of lots of things, and flavors, and colors!
I love using curly kale for this salad because it holds its form well, so you can make this salad for dinner and then enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day because it won’t go soggy like spinach or romaine.
This fantastic veggie holds up well to being sautéed, baked, and as a green in hearty stews. Often people don’t like kale because it is a strong, bitter green. Maybe you’ve had a kale salad before that was more bitter than it was hard to chew. Kale is delightful in a salad; it just needs to be treated properly. And that special treatment comes in the form of a massage.
While it might seem a bit odd to massage your food, you’d be amazed at what a quick five-minute rubdown can do to transform this green from being bitter and harsh to turning silky and sweet.
Massaging kale is easy to do. There’s a little prep that needs to happen before the massage.
Washing the Kale:
- Fill a clean sink or a large deep bowl with water.
- Submerge the leaves of kale in water, swishing them around gently to remove any dirt.
- Allow kale to soak for a few minutes and swish again.
- Pour the water out of the bowl and rinse kale under fresh water.
- Stand kale in a colander or spread a cloth towel on the counter and allow it to dry while you prepare the rest of the salad ingredients.
- Once the kale has had a bit of time to dry, get it ready for the massage but cutting out the tough, woody stem. Now, it’s time for the massage!
- The best way to massage kale is to drizzle a touch of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt to the chopped kale and massage it with your hands.
Massaging the Kale:
This breaks down the tough fibrous cell wall of the kale. However, if you massage it too much, it doesn’t last for leftovers, so don’t overdo it. If you want to know when your massaging hands have done their trick, take a bite. If it’s still bitter, it could use a little more.
The creamy dressing is super simple and great for those who aren’t fans of vinegar-based salad dressings. All you need is some tahini, olive oil, lemons, garlic, and sea salt. If you haven’t purchased tahini before, you may find it in the aisle with the other nut butter options at the grocery store. I often make a double batch of dressing because it’s just so good on almost anything.
Use extra dressing for another salad, lettuce wrap sandwiches, steamed veggies, or a raw veggie dip.Print
Loaded Kale Salad
- Prep Time: 15
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 Servings 1x
1 bunch curly green kale
1 tsp. olive oil
pinch of salt
2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
2 apples, chopped (use a crispy apple- granny smith, gala or honey crisp)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice, unsweetened (currants, raisins, cranberries)
Parmesan Cheese, grated (optional)
1/3 cup tahini
1 lemon, zest and juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. sea salt
Water, 1-6 Tbsp. depending on the consistency
Wash kale and allow to dry while you prepare the remaining salad ingredients and dressing.
Chop butter lettuce, grate carrots, chop apples, bell pepper, and green onions- set aside.
Prepare the dressing by combining tahini, lemon juice and zest, garlic, and salt in a small bowl. Whisk until dressing thins out. If the dressing is too thick whisk in some water, 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired consistency is reached.
Prepare the kale: De-stem the kale, cut into chunks and place in a large serving bowl. Drizzle in 1 tsp. olive oil and a pinch of salt. Massage kale for 3-5 minutes or until it is shiny and doesn’t taste bitter.
Add prepared veggies and fruit to the bowl with the kale. Toss in slivered almonds, dried fruit, and parmesan.
Drizzle in 1/2 of the dressing and toss, add more dressing until salad is coated to your liking.
Add dressing just before eating.
Keep any uneaten salad in the fridge and eat the next day- Kale holds up well even when tossed with dressing.