For this week’s Oahu Fresh #QuarantineCooking class we’re featuring, truly, the most important vegetable in my life – KALE and making the Perfect Kale Salad!
Kale salads can sometimes be a disappointing pile of green fluff, making them difficult to eat and even harder to enjoy. This kale salad recipe is more than a recipe – it’s three techniques that will help make kale salad into something truly crave-worthy. It’s wholesome, filling, nutrient-dense, and very delicious.
The three techniques that I use to make this salad exceptional are the following:
- Properly prep the Kale: Wash, de-stem, chop finely, and then massage. Massaging the kale literally breaks down the cell walls and makes it easier to eat (it’s less poofy) and more digestable, as your hands do some of the ‘chewing.’
- Combine Raw and Cooked Ingredients: I like to combine the raw kale with other cooked ingredients to make a flavorful and a more texturally interesting salad: some crunch from toasted seeds, some sweet, soft Kabocha pumpkin, and crunch red bell peppers.
- Add a Creamy Dressing: Kale is a tough leafy green, and it holds up well to thicker dressings. This creamy Tahini-Miso dressing (a simplified version from my cookbook, Gettin’ Saucy) brings all the elements of this salad together magically. Make a double batch because you’re going to LOVE IT!
Oahu Fresh Perfect Kale Salad
1 bunch of lacinato/dinosaur kale (about 8-10 kale leaves)
½ cup finely chopped red bell pepper
½ cup finely chopped roasted veggies (Kabocha, squash, sweet potato)
½ cup – 1 cup cooked, cooled quinoa, wheat berries, millet or other whole grain
½ cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
Simple Tahini Miso Dressing
¼ cup tahini (or other nut butter)
2 Tablespoons miso (any variety)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1-2 Tablespoons water, as needed
1 Tablespoon honey, optional
- Prep your kale: Wash your kale well, removing any brown spots. Peel leaf from stem (can use a knife or your hands). Pile the kale onto your cutting board, and slice into small chunks. Toss into a large bowl.
- Once all kale is chopped, massage the kale until it breaks down – it should decrease in size, release a bit of green water, and become really dark green. Drain out excess water at the bottom of the bowl if needed.
- Add other veggies and toss to combine.
- Add some or all of the quinoa – you can use more grains to make a more grain-based salad, or use less and keep it mostly veggies – your choice!
- Toast the seeds: Add seeds of choice to a dry skillet. Warm over medium heat, shaking or stirring constantly, until seeds begin to brown slightly. Once fragrant, remove from skillet – keeping in mind that seeds will cook a bit even after they are removed from the heat.
- Once cool, add toasted seeds to the salad.
- To make the Tahini Dressing: Mix together tahini, miso, and lemon juice and whisk to combine. Tahini (and most nut butters) will ‘lock up’ and look very dry – add a Tablespoon of water and continue stirring until smooth. Add a bit more water if you want a thinner dressing. Add honey if you’re unaccustomed to the bitter flavor of tahini.
- The dressing is great as is, or you can make it more incredible by adding some fresh or dried herbs, ginger, garlic, turmeric, toasted sesame oil, a bit of vinegar, and so much more.
- If serving immediately, toss the dressing and the salad; if serving later, keep salad and dressing separate (as the lemon will wilt the greens).