Get your motors running. This Chopped Kale Salad is the best salad to date.
A while back, a trip to Mad Greens introduced me to the wonders of a well-made chopped kale salad. I asked the staff how they made this delicious salad every morning and he listed off a handful of simple, healthy ingredients but I still didn’t know the portions. Enter the internet. I researched the salad online. Went to do some in the field research at True Food Kitchen, a restaurant rumored to carry another pleasing chopped Kale salad.
What I have for you here is a blended recipe of both the Mad Greens Chopped Kale Salad and the True Food Kitchen version.
This simple chopped Kale salad can be modified several ways. You can use Parmesan cheese or opt for the nutrient packed nutritional yeast (which surprisingly tastes like cheese and packs a mighty 7 grams of protein per serving). The original recipe calls for pecan halves, although I’ve always used shredded almonds because it was what I had in the house. So, what I’m saying is start with this recipe then as you get comfortable with the interchangeable parts, switch em out!
The Best Chopped/Shredded Kale Salad, Ever.
They key to this salad is the finely shopped or shredded Kale. I like to put destemmed bunches of Kale into my blender or food processor and pulse it until it’s nice and small, tiny shreds. It’s important to have dry Kale when doing this to avoid a gross mixture mess. The salad is perfectly paired with a lemon-garlic dressing and for me, an almond “Parmesan” topping. As I mentioned, to make this diary free, I substitute the Parmesan for nutritional yeast.
This salad keeps in the fridge for a few days, and that’s only if I can actually KEEP it in the fridge. Regardless of how much I make, this salad disappears within a day or two. This salad will take about 20-30 minutes to prep and depending on how large your servings are, can serve as few as 4 people, or 2 people for 5 servings.
FOR THE SALAD AND DRESSING:
- 2 medium bunches destemmed kale, finely chopped (8 to 9 cups chopped). Use a high-powered blender to cut back on chop time. It took a lot of trial and error for me to realize the blender worked as good as my hands chopping, and reduced prep time by half.
- 2-3 large garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 handfuls dried sweetened cranberries, for garnish
FOR THE ALMOND “PARMESAN”:
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Few dashes of fine sea salt
- Remove the stems from the kale and discard. Finely chop the kale leaves.
- For the Almond “Parmesan: In the food processor, add the almonds and process until the almonds are the size of crumbly peas. Now add in the nutritional yeast, oil, and salt and process again until it has a coarse crumb texture. Be sure not to over process
- For the dressing: In a mini food processor, process the garlic until minced. Now add the lemon, oil, salt, and pepper and process until joined. Adjust to taste, if desired. Pour the dressing onto the salad and mix it into the kale with your hands or toss with spoons.
- Sprinkle the Almond Parmesan all over the salad. Toss on the dried cranberries to taste ( I like a lot of cranberries so I add around a cup when I double this recipe. You can always add more once you’ve sampled the finished product). Place the salad, covered, in the fridge to cool and allow the flavors to mix together. You can eat it after about 30 minutes, or if you’re against waiting, eating it right away is perfectly fine, too! As I mentioned, this salad doesn’t last in my house. I leave it in the large mixing bowl, cover it, and place it in the fridge. It’s eaten at almost every meal for the 2 days that is lasts. After a few days you can start to see the salad losing some of its freshness. Thus all the more incentive to eat it up quickly.