The Best Shredded Kale Salad

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Whenever I’m in the Phoenix area, I make a point to dine at True Food Kitchen. For those who aren’t familiar with True Food, the famous Dr. Andrew Weil (along with restaurateur Sam Fox) opened this restaurant in 2008. There are now several locations. The entire menu is based around Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Diet and food pyramid with an emphasis on local and organic food whenever possible. And I can tell you, every time I’ve been the restaurant is absolutely packed (and it’s a huge restaurant!).

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[image source: True Food Kitchen]

Everything I’ve had at this restaurant has been ah-mazing. Even though it’s not a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, I always find a few great options on the menu. My last visit was no different. I ordered The Autumn Ingredient salad and I was blown away. It’s bursting with roasted squash, brussels sprouts, pomegranate, cauliflower, mulberries, and white beans. It was the first time I’ve had roasted pomegranate seeds and I can tell you I’ll be doing this real soon. The only thing that I didn’t care for was the Horseradish Vinaigrette that came with it (but I’m not a horseradish person, so what do I know).

Also intriguing, was my mom’s Tuscan Kale Salad – I love the idea of shredded kale (it just seems so much easier to chew!). The shredded kale was tossed in a simple lemon garlic dressing with a few handfuls of breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese thrown in. I decided I had to make a vegan version of this salad as soon as possible. I knew it would make the perfect salad starter for any holiday menu!

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The Best Shredded Kale Salad with Pecan Parmesan and Cranberries

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free

By

5 from 3 reviews
print icon   The Best Shredded Kale Salad

Inspired by a kale salad my mom enjoyed at True Food Kitchen, I knew I had to make my own vegan version as soon as I was back in my kitchen. The key to this salad is finely chopping (or shredding) the kale. The lemon garlic dressing will coat each and every tiny piece of kale, working its magical softening powers and infusing it with so much flavour. Instead of cheese, I topped the salad with my homemade toasted pecan "Parmesan" topping and a handful of dried sweetened cranberries. The result is one of the BEST ever kale salads I've tried to date. No joke. Two bunches of dinosaur kale might seem like a lot, but once it's shredded, it only makes about 8 cups and then it further reduces in volume as it marinates by almost half. If you are making this salad for more than 4 people, I suggest doubling it. I felt like I could've had half of the lot just on my own...

Yield
4 small bowls
Soak time
1 hour
Prep Time
Cook time
Total Time

Ingredients:

For the salad & dressing:
  • 2 medium bunches destemmed Lacinato/dinosaur kale, finely chopped (8 cups chopped)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (just eyeball it)
  • 1-2 handfuls dried sweetened cranberries, for garnish
For the pecan parmesan:
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 1.5 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pinches fine grain sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Spread the pecans onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden.
  2. Remove the stems from the kale and discard (you can save for smoothies if you are hard core!). Finely chop the kale leaves (the smaller, the better!).
  3. Wash the kale and spin dry. Place dried kale into a large bowl.
  4. For the dressing: In a mini food processor, process the garlic until minced. Now add the lemon, oil, salt, and pepper and process until combined. Adjust to taste, if desired. Pour the dressing onto the kale and mix it into the kale with your hands or toss with spoons. Keep mixing for about 1 minute to ensure everything is coated perfectly.
  5. For the pecan parm: Rinse out the mini processor and pat dry. Add the pecans into the processor and process until the pecans are the size of peas or a bit larger. Now add in the nutritional yeast, oil, and salt and process again until it's a coarse crumb. Be sure not to over-process - we still want a nice crunchy texture here, not powder.
  6. Sprinkle the pecan Parmesan all over the salad. Toss on a handful or two of dried cranberries. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30-60 minutes to soften. I tried letting this salad sit overnight in the fridge and I greatly preferred the flavour of the salad served the day of, so I don't recommend making this salad the day before and letting it sit in the fridge overnight.

Note: 1) Instead of a mini processor, you can chop/whisk the dressing and pecan "parmesan" by hand. 2) For a nut-free version, try using breadcrumbs instead of pecans.

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Like I said, I felt like I could’ve polished off the entire salad on my own. It’s that good. I hope it’ll convince you to give kale a shot if it’s not already on your regular rotation!

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{ 201 comments… read them below or add one }

Alysa (InspiredRD) November 25, 2013

I love True Food Kitchen, it is one of our favorites! And the autumn salad is SO GOOD. Thanks for this recipe, I’ve been wanting to try making the kale salad at home!

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Abby November 25, 2013

I absolutely LOVE kale, and this recipe sounds scrumptious! :)

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Emily - It Comes Naturally Blog November 25, 2013

Ooh, I’ve been looking for a suitable Thanksgiving salad – that looks great. How would you incorporate fresh cranberries?

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tricotbelle November 30, 2013

Since I only used half a bag of fresh cranberries for Thanksgiving, I am attempting to dry the rest in the oven on 175 degrees today. I cut them in half and mixed them with a simple syrup using water and raw sugar and spread them on a baking pan lightly coated with a canola type oil. I think I’ll let them dry for four or five hours while I go to the store and track down kale and pecans. Is anyone interested in the results later?

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Helen December 12, 2013

Did it work? I would love to know

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} November 25, 2013

This looks simple and perfect. Restaurant recreations are my favorite!

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh November 25, 2013

This looks beautiful! (And don’t worry, you’re not the only one on the anti-horseradish bandwagon. I’m in the drivers seat!)

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Jessica Rose November 25, 2013

You are fast becoming one of my favourite blogs.. x
vodkaandarose.blogspot.co.uk Jess. x

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Shundara@SavyNaturalista November 25, 2013

I go on and off kale and never really tried it shredded. I am going to give it a try, lovely salad and those cranberries give it a nice color.

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Dayna November 25, 2013

That pecan parm looks so easy and delicious! I have never been to True Food Kitchen—or to Phoenix for that matter—but I did check out their website. I’m psyched about the Dallas location; my parents live there and I could totally see it being the first place we hit up next time I visit.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 25, 2013

Oh you should! Let me know what you think of it :)

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Kaila @healthyhelperblog! November 25, 2013

Well I just found my recipe for a ‘green’ side dish for Thanksgiving!!!

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Suzannah November 25, 2013

You are so incredible with your ideas! I think my entire family would love this kale salad! Except for my 2 year old. Do you have any suggestions for getting toddler’s to eat kale?

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Denise August 19, 2014

I realize this is an old post, and you may not see it. but I have an answer to how to give kale to a toddler who might be picky. you give it the same way I give all my teenagers kale and zucchini. simply puree it and then add it to anything. pizza pasta sauce banana smoothies, brownies, cake, homemade salad dressing, make my own bread, any kind of soup. I seriously don’t never know it’s there unless you get caught red-handed, which my teams have now done, but they’ve come to accept it because I’ve never made a bad thing with it. it is one of the easiest superfoods to sneak into your family’s life, and hope for any thing more healthy.

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Suzanne @ hello, veggy! November 25, 2013

I absolutely adore pecans, but hardly ever cook with them. Now I have an excuse!

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Ivana November 25, 2013

Oh, I love salads like this one! I actually make a similar version, but I add balsamic vinegar and sometimes cherry tomatoes. And no nutritional yeast though, there is no way of getting hold of it where I live…

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toni January 3, 2014

I found nut. yeast on amazon.com and they ship.

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Sue November 25, 2013

True Foods does have some amazing options, but the atmosphere was always a little too formal for me; have you checked out some of the new vegan-friendly diners in the downtown area? I love their hodge-podge, chill out feel (and the food, of course :) )

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Averie @ Averie Cooks November 25, 2013

That just screams healthy and good for you! If I have one of these, then I can have more cookies, right? :)

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Jesse @OutToLunchC November 25, 2013

I LOVE kale salads and this one sounds amazing. The ingredients are so simple but I’m sure they come together perfectly for a festive dish.

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suzanne November 25, 2013

yummm- this is on my list now! Looks like a perfect fall/winter salad!

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Laura November 25, 2013

This looks awesome– it’s the next kale salad I am making!

Thanks!

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Lillian @ Seize the Latte November 25, 2013

This looks amazing! I’ve been trying to sneak kale into my husband’s foodstuffs for a while now, so this is definitely next on my list. :) (The greatest coup of my married life was when I successfully put spinach and kale in his breakfast smoothies for a full two weeks before he found out. When he saw me making one, he wigged out, of course, and said that his impending kale-rific smoothie was going to be “vile and disgusting” — at which point I informed him that the offending kale had been there all along, and that he’d neither noticed nor been bothered by the taste. He then sheepishly gulped it down without complaint, and I’ve reveled in my victory ever since.)

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Steph @ Steph Cook Wellness April 29, 2014

Lillian- I love how sneaky you are!! I’ve been easing in more veggies with my husband too. He’s finally into adding spinach to his smoothies, but green juice, forget it!!

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Catherine @ Chocolate & Vegetables November 25, 2013

I love shredding or finely chopping kale for salads–it really does much better than in a more “leafy” form. I’ve been working on converting my boyfriend to the idea of raw kale, this recipe should certainly help!

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janae @ bring joy November 25, 2013

Oh boy, isn’t it such a treat to go to a delicious whole foods restaurant? Even though I live in a city of a million+, vegan friendly places to eat aren’t easy to find. In fact, my city held a “Meatopia” festival awhile back (this is Texas after all).

I will put this on my “restaurants to go to someday” wish list :)–thank you for sharing & beautiful salad.

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Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate November 25, 2013

This is one of the best looking kale salads I have ever seen. I don’t blame you for wanting to eat most of it yourself!

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Kate November 25, 2013

I feel like I’m constantly searching for a kale salad that doesn’t involve cheese! The pecan parm seems like the perfect substitute. Thanks!

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dishing up the dirt November 25, 2013

This sounds fantastic! I’m making this on Thanksgiving for my in-laws. Thanks for the recipe!

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar November 25, 2013

I have always wanted to try that restaurant!! Also, salads like this are my favorite – love it!

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Heather November 25, 2013

OH MY! They just opened a location here in Dallas last Tuesday!!! We went on Sunday and it is amazing!!!
I had a muffin that was very good and I am trying to find the recipe now.
The Johnny Cakes with red Quinoa are AMAZING!! You can actually find the recipe here:
http://layoga.com/eat/recipes/quinoa-johnny-cakes/

Since we are talking about Kale here in this post I am on a Kale Chip kick:) I personally do not like pepper with it so I leave that off and the nutritional yeast and sea salt is just amazing!
This was from http://www.lifeovercancerblog.com/

Cheezy Kale Chips
Ingredients:
1 bunch kale, torn into 2-inch pieces
High-heat canola oil spray (try Spectrum Naturals)
Nutritional yeast (try Kal brand)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Tear kale into pieces, avoiding the tough inner stalk. Rinse well in water and dry as best you can either in a spinner or on a tea towel.
3. Spray baking sheet with canola oil. Place kale on sheet in a single layer and spray tops with canola oil. Sprinkle lightly with nutritional yeast, sea salt, and pepper.

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Keri @ WithlovefromColorado November 25, 2013

I start to get really bad about eating kale when the weather turns cold. I have a feeling this salad is going to give kale a comeback in my weekly meals. Can’t wait to try it! Especially with a couple pot lucks and Thanksgiving this week–the clean feeling eating kale always gives will be much needed and appreciated. Thanks for posting!

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Alex @ Kenzie Life November 25, 2013

I love kale but it’s not my favorite in salads. This however looks like something I would try! That pecan parmesan looks really good!

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Amy November 25, 2013

I’m so excited to try this recipe! I love kale salads. Yours looks delish.

-Amy

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 25, 2013

Oh my gosh, I’ve been wanting to eat at this restaurant for so long now!! The salad sounds absolutely amazing. I’ve found that my digestive system has a bit of a hard time with raw curly kale, but seems to be fine with the lactinato kind. Until I make it to the restaurant one day, I will live vicariously through you (and this salad!)

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Kathy November 25, 2013

This looks so good! I think I’ll be making it for Thanksgiving! Thanks for another great recipe, Angela. I pre-ordered the cookbook on amazon this morning :)

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Kathy November 25, 2013

PS And if you can re-create that Autumn Ingredient Salad, I would love to try that one too. It sounds amazing!

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kat November 25, 2013

I’ve never heard of this type of kale. Is it different from the usual supermarket kale?
I’m guessing any kind would work just as well?

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@simple green moms November 25, 2013

Love your pictures! You somehow manage to make a kale salad looks A-mazing!!! =)

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Carrie November 25, 2013

Angela, you read my mind! How did you know I had signed up to bring a big kale salad to Thanksgiving, and that I had envisioned it including cranberries and pecans? This is absolutely the recipe I will use now. You are a mastermind vegan genius psychic. Thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 26, 2013

yay!! Hope you all enjoy it :)

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Holly November 25, 2013

Made this for supper this evening. It was delicious! Did not change a thing. It’ll be my new go-to kale salad. Thank you!

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Marissa@ohhhsolovely November 25, 2013

this looks so delicious! a friend just gave me a kale recipe today that i must try!

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Emily November 25, 2013

Ohhhh stop it. This looks amazing. When I’m baking my little heart out for Thanksgiving this week, I think this will be on the lunch list, you know, to balance out all the pumpkin cookies and pecan pie bars I might have to taste test.

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Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat November 25, 2013

I love, love, love kale! This salad sounds delicious and would be a perfect Thanksgiving side dish!

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Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog November 25, 2013

Yum! I love a good kale salad. I especially like the shredded part of this because as You mentioned the dressing would evenly coat each leaf. A great way to introduce kale to others!

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Kari @ bite-sized thoughts November 26, 2013

This is getting added to my Christmas possibilities list :D

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