My husband and I shared this Loaded Raw Kale Salad yesterday for lunch. You guys, my life changed the day I first had a raw kale salad. I don’t remember the exact salad, but I remember thinking, “Oh, okay. I can do raw kale. It’s good.” It was like I could finally be a bona fide kale lover now.
In my younger years, I thought kale was only (truly, I honestly thought this) for animals and for decorating the condiment table at Taco Time. (My first after school job.) But holy kale! I am hooked on kale now and I think that’s probably a good thing. Much better than my peanut butter addiction…
So let’s talk about raw kale salads. The first time I read a recipe for a raw kale salad, I thought it sounded as bizarre as could be to “massage” the kale leaves. I mean, really? Massage? But yes, it’s true. It helps tenderize the otherwise tough leaves and makes them tender like baby spinach. Or almost like that. But with the flavor of kale. I like to massage the leaves as I’m washing them in a big bowl of water and then again with lemon juice and olive oil after I’ve sliced them into ribbons.
Like all salads, this lends itself to playing around and adding or eliminating ingredients according to personal preference. I posted one I made awhile back on Instagram that had apples, cucumber, mint and raw cashews. THAT was a good salad. And so is this. I’m looking forward to more raw kale salads as we move forward into the chillier months of the year.
As far as the variety of kale, I used some curly and some Red Russian kale for this. My very, very favorite kind of kale is the lacinato or Tuscan variety, also called Dinosaur Kale. Use whatever you’ve got and it will be great.
- 1 large bunch of kale (5-6 large stems), washed well and patted dry
- 2 medium apples, diced
- 1 large cucumber, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
- 1 medium golden beet, peeled, halved and very thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- ½ cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted)
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoons fresh dill (if using dried, use ½ teaspoon)
- Remove the fibrous kale stems. Stack the leaves and cut into very thin ribbons crosswise. Place in a large bowl and add the lemon juice and olive oil. With your hands, massage, squeeze and rub the kale until it wilts. Add the remaining ingredients. Season well with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.