Confession: I used to hate eating raw kale.
In fact, raw kale was the bane of my existence!
The only way I could bring myself to eat raw kale was if I put it in a Green Monster, and even then it was always quite bitter. Or I would bake kale chips and cook them so long that you couldn’t even tell it was kale.
But then I learned a couple secrets to preparing raw kale and I never looked back. And it’s a good thing because I have 20 kale plants growing in the garden right now!
My 3 tips for preparing raw kale:
1. Remove the stems when you plan on eating it raw (and some people remove the stems for cooking too-it’s personal preference). The stems are the bitter part of the plant. I used to always use the stems and wonder why my kale salads tasted ridiculously bitter. Now I just use the leaves and it always turns out wonderful to the palate.
2. Massage the dressing into the leaves and let it ‘marinate’ for at least 10-15 minutes. A kale salad tastes best when the dressing has had a chance to soak into the leaves. This also helps soften the leaves which is especially important if you are using the curly variety. You don’t want it scratching your throat!
3. If you really don’t like curly kale, try Dinosaur (Lacinato) kale as it is less bitter.
When I started using these simple tricks, my kale salads went from bitter and hard to swallow to mind-blowing delicious!
Kale is said to be a ‘beauty’ vegetable because it improves skin tone, complexion, and gives you a great glow.
It’s also just as beautiful for your insides too!
Kale is rich in:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- and more!
My goal for last night’s salad was to create a ‘weekend glow’ kale salad. I always love to feel my best on the weekend, but sometimes too much alcohol and desserts don’t always leave me feeling great come Sunday evening. This kale salad brings a nice balance to the weekend and gives an extra kick to your step!
To make this salad, I gathered some superfoods:
- Cucumber (great for skin!)
- Grape tomatoes
- Red onion
- Raisins & goji berries (antioxidants)
- Walnuts (Rich in omega 3 fatty acids)
- Hemp Seeds (high in protein)
- Carrot (great for eyes and skin)
- Red Pepper
Next, I made the dressing using my favourite tahini-lemon dressing from my Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl. This dressing is addicting! It has such a nice kick to it.
Then, I used about half of a large head of kale, tore the leaves off, rinsed, and dried it in my salad spinner.
Finally, I mixed everything together in a large bowl and let the dressing ‘marinate’ for about 15 minutes in the fridge. It tastes great as soon as you mix it, but it will taste even better after sitting!! Just before serving, I sprinkled on the rest of the hemp seeds and walnuts. The seeds and nuts are really key to this salad because they add protein and healthy fats, along with a great crunchy texture.
I was a bit shocked because this was the best salad I think I’ve ever made, kale or otherwise. Even more shockingly, Eric inhaled this salad! When you can get a man to enjoy a kale salad, you know that you have hit the jackpot.
Weekend Glow Kale Salad
Yield: 4 servings
- 1/2 large head of kale (about 4-6 cups)
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2-3/4 cup chopped carrot (2 small carrots)
- 1 English cucumber (2 cups chopped halves)
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1 & 1/4 cup chopped grape tomatoes (or other variety)
- 1/2 cup mixed raisins and Goji berries
- 1/4 cup hemp seed
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Dressing: 1 batch of Lightened Up tahini-Lemon Dressing (<—click for recipe)
- Your desired fresh or dried herbs
1. Chop vegetables and mix in a large mixing bowl. Reserve hemp seed and walnuts for sprinkling on top.
2. Make your Lightened Up tahini-Lemon Dressing in a food processor and process until smooth.
3. Tear the leaves off of the kale and rip into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry kale leaves.
4. Mix the vegetables, kale leaves, and full batch of dressing (3/4-1 cup) in large bowl until thoroughly combined.
5. Place in fridge to ‘marinate’ for 10-15 minutes. Serves 4. Keeps in fridge in a sealed container for 1 day.
I picked up some Goji Berries at Bulk Barn for some extra superfood power. Goji berries are very high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. I forgot how much I LOVE Goji berries! They are like an earthier and less sweet raisin. At first I wasn’t a big fan of them, but once I got used to the taste I fell in love with them.
Eric said if you covered them in sugar they would taste just like sour patch kids!
I encourage you to try out this salad if you are a kale skeptic. It completely changed how I think about eating raw kale.
Here’s to a glowing weekend.
This looks fabulous! I’ve never had raw kale before but the combination of ingredients looks incredible in this post! I can’t wait to try it. I’ve been meaning to add new salads to my eating :)
have a wonderful weekend!
Oh wow, that salad looks amazing! Do you have any suggestions for tahini substitutes? I recently moved to the Virgin Islands, and I have not been able to find tahini :(
hmm im not sure…what about sunflower seed butter? I really dont know how it would taste though! Maybe other readers have ideas :)
Jacquelyn, if you have a food processor or strong blender, I would recommend pureeing cashews and toasted sesame seeds into the dressing – different flavor than tahini, but cashews are of the easiest things to find in most countries, and have a similar texture and neutral flavor (you can always up the lemon to make up for that), and I think sesame seeds should be possible to find. Sunflower seeds would work too, but tend to vary in flavor more.
I use raspberry vinaigrette and think it’s super on this, though I tend to like sweet things. haha
Update: Even though I liked the raspberry vinaigrette, it was still kind of missing something, because the sweet flavor is overwhelming and buries that good, solid veggie taste. My new recommendation for those who aren’t wild for tahini is the dressing from another one of my faves: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/01/21/red-quinoa-and-black-bean-vegetable-salad/ This salad with that dressing has a permanent place in my fridge next to the almond milk! lol LOVE IT! =)
(or those who can’t find Tahini, if the other substitutes aren’t working for you.) Seriously, no one should have to live without this amazing salad.
Cynthia, thanks for posting the alternative dressing. I have been making it for about a year now and it is so so good. And thank you to oh she glows for getting me into kale. I make this salad twice a week. Big hit in our house!
so happy that other dressing works! Thanks ladies :)
YUM! thanks for sharing!
This recipe combines just about all my favorite ingredients! It sounds (and looks) amazing!
I am convinced! I will try this soon FOR SURE! Looks delicious!!
I’m already a kale convert but the list of ingredients in this dish sound delicious. I would be brave enough to bring this fabulous salad to a potluck full of non-kale addicts. I hope you and Eric get sometime to relax this weekend on the deck with a big bowl of kale!
It looks great!!! I actually love raw kale-stems and all. I tried it for the first time about a month ago and was amazed at how much I liked it.
What a beautiful Salad!
I’ve never had kale, but I’ve been wanting to try out new salad ideas! This one looks so beautiful– I think it would be hard for anyone not to enjoy it!
Yum! I love this recipe and it sounds so good. Thank you for sharing.
This looks amazing. I love raw kale salads, but agree on removing the stem and massaging the leaves. My husband, however, can eat raw kale straight up – so odd. I need to make this salad as I think both he and I would love it :)
wow he’s a trooper!
I just found your blog this weekend! Your recipes look amazing! I made your 15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta last night and blogged about it. It was so good!
glad you like it!
I used to hate raw kale too, but you’re right, massaging is KEY!!! Sounds like a delicious recipe as usual! :) I hope you have a wonderful weekend too, Ange!
This salad looks amazing! I love kale chips, but I’ve never found a recipe for raw kale that has appealed to me. This is a perfect salad for summer because I tend to go without make up alot more often and I want my skin to be glowing and blemish free! I also just bought a bag of those goji berries at the Bulk Barn and I haven’t been able to decide what to do with them; I guess I know now!!
This recipe looks GREAT!!! Thank you for sharing your secrets!
I have a hard time with kale raw, but I love kale in soups! This one from Gina at Skinny Taste is to die for…spicy and delicious. It’s my go-to for when I’m feeling under the weather…or when my CSA box is overflowing with Kale! :)
Turkey Sausage, Kale and White Bean Soup
I’m sure there’s a way that you could make that vegan…the only things you’d have to change is the turkey sausage and chicken stock. Maybe just eliminate the sausage and add more beans w/veggie stock?
Have a great weekend!
I must confess that I actually enjoy massaging my kale. haha i think it makes me feel like i’m giving it the “spa treatment”
hehe :) This would be a great spa salad too!
you have really taken all salads to a whole new level, and this one is no exception. I have such an obsession with tahini, as soon as I buy more nutritional yeast I’m making this dressing, I can’t wait!
The dressing is delicious without the nutritional yeast!
good to know, thanks!
I definitely am a skeptic of kale!
What a beautiful salad!! Perfect for the summer :)
That salad looks amazing! I cannot get enough of tahini dressing lately. I always mix it with white miso and warm water but almost never think to add lemon. I think I may need to re-stock my kale supply this weekend and give it a try : )
This salad almost looks too good to eat!
I’m a recent Kale lover, can’t get enough of the stuff now and i always remove the stems!
Can’t wait to try this recipe out angela :)
This looks incredible. I am so into kale right now. I can’t seem to get enough. Plus the massage leaves my hands so smooth and soft! As always thanks for your gorgeous recipes. This one is on the menu for tonight.
I love love love raw kale.. Best way to eat it in my opinion!
I love kale – it does have to be marinated a bit raw though. I like using a simple lemon-olive oil-sea salt combo for a quick-fix!
“Confession: I used to hate eating raw kale.” – I still have yet to try kale raw, except in my veggie juices. I’m scared Ange… hold me ? ;P haha Only kidding! …but this if you say this salad tastes good, I’m going to need to try it.
PS I am LOVING those yellow and purple flowers! Were they from your yard ??
They were wild flowers found on a walk :) Lots around here!
PS You can do it (re: kale!)
SO PRETTY. We def don’t get wild flowers like that around these parts ;)
GREAT salad!! I started enjoying kale salad when I found one with mango and pistachios and it was “massaged”. The massaging is definitely key, softens it up! What great stuff you have in here…and I agree, this would be great to try to reverse the damage of the weekend :)
Your salad is almost too pretty to eat. I love when you make colorful recipes!
This salad sounds so delicious — and I just love those bamboo (?) bowls you are serving it in. How adorable!
thank you!…I got them at the antique market. The larger salad bamboo is a wedding gift though
The massage and sit method is key! I love how it almost “wilts” the kale a little and definitely takes the bitterness out. This salad looks great!
me too and its great the next day!! not that I was eating it at 10am or anything… ;)
I can’t imagine anyone not loving raw kale salad–it’s practically my favorite food!! Your tips are terrific, too. . . massaging makes all the difference (with kale AND my shoulders). ;) I also find that chopping the kale into small, bite-sized pieces helps to soften and marinate it faster, and makes it much easier to chew. :D
I tried cheesy kale chips the other week and I was really disappointed… I think they were a little too cheesy… Would love to try kale again though, especially in the form of your salad! :) Have a fab weekend!
This looks amazing! I’ve never actually had raw kale, but I really want to try this!
This looks really good. I have never tried kale although I have heard that its very nutritious. Thanks for sharing the recipe, your tips and some of the benefits!
Good thing you’ll have so much kale growing this summer!! You can now make boatloads of this salad!
Sounds awesome!! Kale is one of my very favorite foods so I’m all over this recipe!! :)
Like you, I used to hate kale. Wanted it nowhere near me but now I eat it all the time! I love it in smoothies as while drinking, I imagine all the magic the vitamins are doing for my innards. lol. This salad looks absolutely amazing. Ok, you are giving me too many wonderful ideas for my next book club meeting! Thanks. Strange but this salad looks comforting.
Not to be side tracked off your delicious recipe, but we have our grand opening of the Bulk Barn here in Vernon BC today. Never heard of it before till now. Hope it is as good as it looks.
oh that’s fun! Bulk Barn has TONS of natural foods and even organic stuff too…im so impressed!
That salad looks AMAZING!! :P Definitely printing this recipe off! Yum! Have a great weekend!
I never knew kale was considered a “beauty vegetable”. You totally convinced me to eat more kale. :-) I do love kale salads but haven’t had one in a while. I need to try this one!
I just started reading your blog a few days ago. I just wanted to tell you that you are an awesome person. You truly are. So inspiring! I can’t wait to read more!
Aww you are sweet! Thank you :)
Glad to hear you finally came around to kale salads! I like how lively your salad is. Can’t wait to try it. :)
You can also massage avocado into the kale for a creamy dressing, like I do here: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/creamy-raw-kale-salad-with-avocado-apple-and-beet/
I prefer a lemony dressing, and this has been my favourite kale salad so far:
I LOVE raw kale! But I totally agree about taking the stems off! Makes such a huge difference!
I think I’ll have to try this. I’ve always thought raw kale salads sounded a bit strange and unappetising, but this recipe sounds delicious and the photographs are beautiful. I’ve been eating the same salads with different dressings for years, so it’s time to try something new, really.
I’ve never made a raw kale salad, only had them in restaurants and deli’s counters in health food markets. The ingredients here sound like a fantastic combo. Thanks for the tips! I’m curious to know if your kale does well in the summer, Someone told me it thrives in cool weather so I’m holding off planting until end of August…
I just commented on my blog today how much I miss KALE! It is nonexistent here in France. Well, in only 18 days, I’ll be back in the States and eating my bodyweight in that wonderful leafy green again. :D
One more thing: I’m doing a cleanse at my local Moksha yoga studio right now, and most of my fellow cleansers are new to vegan food. I introduced them to your site, and they all love it! I definitely think you have a few new dedicated readers :).
Glad to be back in the blogging world and read your posts again.
I have to admit, I am definitely a kale skeptic.. but I would for sure give this salad a try!
Thanks for sharing :)
Yeah for Bulk Barn!!! I spend so much time in there ahha :) I’ve never tried raw Kale ( I thought it would taste bad) But I am trying this recipe. I have to get me some more goji’s too…. :)
Just wanted to tell you how happy I was to have stumbled upon your site!! I just joined a CSA for the first-time and was looking for good recipes to use the spelt berries and I found this blog. This week, I have already made the Spelt Berry Porridge and the Back on Track II Cilantro Lime Spelt Berry Salad (I subbed CSA garlic scapes for the minced garlic in the dressing.) Both meals were fantastic — thanks so much!
Oh and I know I have an idea of what to do with the baby kale in my fridge too! :)
Thanks Emily! Glad to hear that. I need to make the spelt berry porridge again soon…I forgot how much I enjoyed it for breakfast! Maybe on a rainy summer morning. :)