Monday, September 19, 2011

How to build a Raw Kale Salad

I have made A LOT of Raw(ish) Kale/Collard Salads in my days!  Having worked in two restaurants that were inside of health food stores, I had access to a lot of produce all of the time, so depending on my mood and ingredients on hand, I have sort of a template, which I would like to share with you.  Most of my recipes are really just templates I color with this spice or that grain, etc.

Basic Raw* Slaw

  • 4 cups sturdy leafy greens (kale, mustard, chard, collards, spinach, escarole)
  • 2 cups red or green cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots 
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar or citrus juice
  • 1 tablespoon oil (olive, sesame, flax, coconut)
Massage together for 5 minutes or until the veggies start to break down
You are essentially 'cooking' the greens here and not paying attention to flavor. The carrots/onions add a nice dimension to the greens as they break down, creating a vegetable broth.

The greens are super juicy now and I take advantage of that juice and don't drain it. If you want a cleaner flavor, just strain for 5 minutes before proceeding.  I like to add some of these ingredients that soak up the juice and create a delicious dressing without a lot of extra oil (add around 1/4 cup each or 1 cup all together)
  • toasted sesame seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  •  toasted dried coconut
  • nutritional yeast 
  • sun dried tomatoes
  • dried mushrooms
  • raisins
  • dried cranberries
  • apricots
  • toasted walnuts
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • crystalized ginger
  • chopped apples or pears (Dried would be great too)
NO matter what I'm doing, I always add a small pinch of nutmeg 1/2 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds.
You can add 1/2 teaspoon of these:
  • Basil, marjoram and rosemary for an Italian Salad (great with sun dried tomatoes, walnuts and nutritional yeast)
  • Lemon Pepper, Coriander and Curry for Indian Slaw (great with coconut, and raisinis)
  •  1/4 teaspoon Cardamom,  1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (with pumpkin seeds and crystalized ginger, apples and raisins)
Other ad ins:
  • 2 cups seasonal fruit
  • avocado (this creates an amazing creamy yummy dressing!)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh Herbs  (basil, cilantro, mint, parsley or whatever you have on  hand)
  • Various Raw Veggies  (Broccoli, peppers, celery, sprouts, lentil sprouts, anything you have that needs to be used)
Finally, taste and add to taste:
  • Soy sauce/tamari/braggs or 
  • Seasoning Salts
  • Pepper
  • Acid (vinegars, citrus juices, tamarind umeboshi)
  • Your favorite spices
  • More nutritional yeast 
  • Your favorite oils (I add more oils last... and usually the best quality oils I have..)
  • Hummus or your favorite bean based spreads
You basically want to get a nice balance of savory, acidic, sweet, crunchy.. 

*rawish because not all the ad ins are raw

  • Make sure your hands are VERY clean before making this salad
  • This will keep (as long as you NEVER double dip or use the same tasting spoon) for up to 4 days in the fridge.
I hope you play around with what you have on hand.  That is how the BEST creations are made.

Do you have a favorite Raw Kale Salad?


  1. Yum! Thanks for this guide. I've only made a few raw kale salads in my day and I always stick to recipes because raw food isn't my forte. I'll refer to this later for sure.

  2. Wow, great ideas! I get in a rut with kale salad sometimes. This will surely spice it up.

  3. Kale salad is my favorite! Great ideas! I love changing it up!

  4. This posting is genius! I love the "how to build a whatever" ideas because ultimately, they give me a ton of confidence to create my own unique recipes, which is something I am having a lot of fun with these days. Thanks Mel!

  5. Thanks for sharing this! One of the healthiest around!

  6. I was going to try to make kale chips but this salad sounds so much better! I can't wait until lunch!

  7. I love your recipe and have been making it for some time. Have you noticed how a quite a few magazines have published a similar recipe in the past few months?

    Thanks for all of your posts,recipes and inspiration.

    You make we want to move to a walking city!

  8. I have made this recipe several times now and recommend to friends all of the time! So delicious and fresh but love the adaptability of it! Thanks for your recipes and blog!