Food

The 10-Minute, Super-Amazing, Magical Cure-All

The 10-Minute, Super-Amazing, Magical Cure-All

I know, bummer. Smack in the middle of the season of gingerbread cakes and golden crispy latkes and honey-glazed spiral hams, you guys log in to see…

…an entire post devoted to kale salad. Not a BLT salad or a wedge of iceberg with Thousand Island dripping in and around the crevices. But a yawn-inducing, omega-3-rich, good-for-you, raw bowl of nutrients that falls into the “leafy green” category. Thanks, Jenny! Thanks for the big bowl of homework!

Go ahead, leave the page. Go lose yourself in that double chocolate Yule log. Cause then the secret of a kale salad’s hidden superpowers is still somewhat secure. Here’s the thing: This concoction above may look like a dutiful mound of kale with pomegranate seeds and thinly shaved red onions, but it’s actually more than that. A lot more. I’m telling you, if you can get your kids to eat it — and I’m still shocked that mine will — all kinds of amazingly freaky things start to happen. Like for starters, I think I can actually see my daughter growing before my eyes, her shirt bursting at the buttons, Lou Ferrigno-style, right at the dinner table.

But the real magic of kale is a little more subtle. When you — as in you, mom or dad! — get up from the table you’ll suddenly notice that the guilt you have been carrying around with you all day about missing “parent observation day” at ballet has been replaced by a rush of happiness endorphins. And you know how you’ve been beating yourself up over the fact that your eight-year-old still can’t tell time on what is now known in the house as “a real clock” (aka, not a digital one)? For at least a few days after you have served your children this salad, that hardly seems to register on the guilt-o-meter either. The remorse over skipping the bedtime story? Gone. Completely cancelled out.

I’m telling you, this stuff is powerful. And its applications of guilt-erasing possibilities: endless.

Kale Salad Combinations

Here is where I start with all my kale salads. To a large bowl, add:

2 bunches lacinato or curly kale (about 1 pound, or 6 cups), de-stemmed and cut into bite-size pieces or shreds
3 tablespoons very finely minced red onion
My Legit All Purpose Dressing: Whisk vigorously or shake together all the following ingredients in a jar: 1/4 cup lemon juice (from about 1 1/2 lemons), 1 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1 1/2 teaspoons honey, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, 1/3 cup olive oil

Then I toss in add-ins based on my mood and my pantry, such as:

  • Feta, golden raisins, crispy chickpeas (shown above, with the added protein, it’s dinner)
  • Raw sliced almonds, dried cranberries
  • Minced peeled apples, candied walnuts
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Avocados, quick pickled onions (omit the minced red onion if you do this)

How would you make it?

P.S. The easiest kale dinner and a magic grid of salad dressings.

(Pomegranate-Kale photo by Chelsea Cavanaugh. A version of this post first appeared on Dinner: A Love Story, eight years ago. Reprinted with permission.)

  1. Marnie says...

    Ceasar dressing with currants and crispy fried onions (from a package – French’s) – so good

  2. Dana Johnson says...

    I make my take one kale Caesar salad, and the key is massaging the kale. Yes. Pull the kale off the stem and rip at apart. Drizzle olive oil over kale and squeezed/massage until your fingers get tired. Squeeze 1-2 lemons and salt and pepper to taste. Mix so kale is evenly coated. Add croutons and park. Ribbons of parm are particularly tasty! The nice thing about kale is it doesn’t get soggy, so you can make this the night before.

  3. Beth says...

    We’ve been making your magic guilt- eraser kale salad from an old dinner a love story post forever: very thinly shredded kale, a mountain of shredded ricotta salata, paper thin red onions, lemon juice and olive oil. It’s perfect this way – doesn’t even need salt or pepper. When I have the patience to thinly since a giant bunch of kale, that’s what I’m doing with it. Thanks for this family favorite!

  4. p says...

    loooove this. my secret ingredient for salad dressings, and one that goes really well with kale (think anchovy-caesar taste) is Thai fish sauce (Nam Pla). A couple splashes of Nam Pla with some olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper is fantastic. I then add shaved parmesan to the kale and massage with the deliciously and ever-so-slightly fishy dressing and it’s magic.

  5. Courtney says...

    I make a similar salad with kale, pomegranate seeds, and a mustard vinagirette, but also add roasted butternut squash and goat cheese. So good, everyone loves it, and the leftovers hold up really well.

  6. Kate says...

    This might be the best food/parent guilt mash up post ever (HOW DID YOU KNOW I missed parent ballet observation day?). Thanks for filling a little hole in my heart that I didn’t know existed. Ready for some kale.

  7. anja says...

    I love kale sald with tahini dressing: one spoon Tahini, lemon juice, Maple sirup, salt, pepper. add anything you like in salad: fruit, nuts…

  8. Amy says...

    I can’t believe the KSB wasn’t mentioned in the comments! For those of us who aren’t super keen on raw kale salads…

    https://cupofjo.com/2018/10/easy-kale-sausage-beans/

    I held a Summer Eating Club for my three kids (8, 6, 4) this summer. Two were suspicious and didn’t really participate but the middle kid went for it and now happily eats beans & lentils, kale, chicken, beef, sweet potatoes, soups of all stripes, zucchini, broccoli, rice.

    The pride I felt last week as he scarfed down sautéed kale with white beans and a little bit of sausage! Ha ;)

  9. Justine says...

    thanks Jenny and all for the salad inspo. Have been missing greens from my diet lately and needed some of these ideas.

    For those who don’t enjoy kale or don’t want to massage it, I suggest arugula. Peppery and usually purchased pre-washed. We always have it on hand for lunchtime salads and throw it on top of fresh pasta and mini naan pizzas at dinnertime during the week to make quick “balanced” meals when there is no time to spare. We eat arugula like it’s the mid-90s. Pomegranate arils on arugula? Oh mon dieu, the bitter/sweet combo.

    • Sonja says...

      I LOVE arugula. always. forever. with anything!

    • Whitney says...

      I LOVE arugula. My husband just informed me (despite ya eating it multiple times per week) that it’s not his favorite. I love him, but since I’m the one who grocery shops we shall continue to eat it regularly. Sorry, dude.
      I love it with feta, toasted nuts, red onion, apples. I mix it with a can of tuna for lunch.

  10. Bec says...

    Your southern hemispherian readers thank you for this! Some of us are more likely to have cold meats/seafood and salad for our festive dinners so this is great timing. (those in the North often forget it’s our summer at Christmas time)

    • Kate says...

      This!

  11. Amy says...

    Jenny. I just love your posts. You are that internet friend that never fails to make me smile. (and chuckle)

    I am trying your dressing and some version of this salad stat!

  12. Gail says...

    We love the Costco salad, too. Throw away the dressing and make your own and added chopped red onion, chopped fresh ginger and sugar snap peas (also Costco) and whatever else is in the fridge. Our go to lunch!

  13. Carol says...

    Kale is a family fav(all my three kids love kale in any form— their birthday meal request every year is plain sautéed kale and feta over pasta. Three ingredients!)
    But here is my fav salad— and it doesn’t add sweet stuff, which is a nice change…
    Kale with lots of flat leaf parsley – massaged with olive oil, salt lemon,
    Then add— cherry tomatoes, feta, toasted pumpkin seeds, and a little really really good sauerkraut.
    Because of the tomato— this is a summer favorite. with hummus and pitas to round it out.

  14. Candy Peleaux says...

    Thank you for this. I am always happy to learn something new. I appreciate you speaking up, even though you probably know there would be eye-rollers like Sarah and Hillary below.

  15. Charlotte K says...

    No raw kale. No.

    Kale pesto (parboiled first, yes)

  16. Kim says...

    “1 1/2 teaspoons of honey, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper”…

    Does this mean 1 1/2 teaspoons of each of those? Or pepper and salt to taste?

    Thanks!

    • Di says...

      Nope , there is a comma so its 11/2 tsp of honey then some salt and pepper to taste.

  17. RLG says...

    My easy go-to salad lately is: Bag of kale and broccoli slaw from Costco (ditch the dressing it comes with, save the pumpkin seeds and cranberries for making granola). Massage with a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to soften the greens a bit. Add fresh bocconcinni (I usually halve or quarter these) and pomegranate arils. Drizzle with Trader Joe’s balsamic glaze, sprinkle with flaky sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Toss and eat straight out of the mixing bowl!

  18. anna maria says...

    Thank you for sharing a great recipe. My only problem with the piece was the use of the term “you guys” and the possibility that it might feel exclusive to folks who don’t identify or feel comfortable being referred to as “guys”.

    An excellent article explaining some of this:

    https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/08/guys-gender-neutral/568231/

    • Sarah says...

      Have we reached peak “woke” yet? It’s been so tiring to read the comments the last few weeks and I’m a college professor so I understand being pc.

    • Hillary Jackson says...

      Ahh yes….I was walking the other day with my 4 year old and I told her to wait at the end of the sidewalk for the walking guy and someone passed by me and corrected me to say walking person. Umm okay.

    • liz says...

      I’m from NYC and can confirm “you guys” is used without concern for gender all the time in the region.

    • Kim says...

      Must everyone be be policed at every turn? By all means, don’t say “guys” if it offends you. I feel it is inclusive and gender-neutral and learned a few things from the article, but I read the comments on a kale salad post to learn more great ideas about kale salad and this sort of chiding is too much, too picky, too much censorship.

    • Ana D says...

      One’s particular level of fatigue in the ongoing evolutionary linguistic cultural journey towards greater inclusion, equality, and accurate representation is not correlated to a specific level of attainment on said journey.

    • MJ says...

      @Sarah yes even as a very liberal person I am exhausted by this

    • Bb says...

      I cannot with this. “You guys” is the plural version of you. It functions like y’all, or vous in French.

    • T says...

      I’m sad that the pendulum seems to be swinging back the other way, where being considerate and ‘woke’ is an eyeroll offense. My opinion is – if you’re tired of changing what you say to be *eyeroll* CONSIDERATE – it probably means you’ve lived a life of cultural privilege and have needed to change to be more inclusive (if that is your goal). Of course you don’t have to choose inclusivity, so Anna Maria is not saying CHANGE OR ELSE, but she is linking to a different perspective than I had considered so I’m willing to read it and see if it’s reasonable. To see if my discomfort at changing my “you guys” language is more important to me than the people who may draw issue with it. It’s discussion, it’s knowledge and shifting culture, I think we would be foolish to shut that down.

    • T says...

      If I had read the article first I would have just posted this quote from it. Succinct.

      “Even if guys is widely regarded as gender-neutral, there will still be a sizable contingent of conscientious objectors. They argue, not incorrectly, that dropping guys takes very little effort, and any awkwardness that comes with the odd folks or friends or y’all seems far preferable to making a listener feel ignored. (Personally, I’ve come to favor you all, which carries some of the perks of y’all without being tied to any particular region.)

      Plenty will disagree with that, and this is the way language evolves—not in an orderly line, but as a messy argument. And that is a blessing—words deserve regular interrogation”

    • S says...

      T, et al:
      Yes, clearly we should all be working towards a more inclusive world. A few things I’ve done in that respect is to leave the deeply patriarchal religion of my upbringing even though it meant years of emotional struggle and negatively impacted some close relationships, speak out publicly for women’s ordination in said religion, donate 10% of my (and my husband’s) current income to environmental and social justice causes/organizations, consistently donate to my kids’ Title I school, and I currently work in a very low-paying job as an educator for teens from low socioeconomic backgrounds. So yes, I do understand inclusivity just a bit though I am eyes wide open on the fact that as a white, middle class person I was born with certain social and economic “advantages” that many people in this country do not have.

      In spite of this, I still maintain that liberals (myself included) are doing a long-term disservice to “the brand” when every single article on dresses, salad, gifts is dissected ad nauseam for optimal gender inclusion, environmental impact, political correctness, etc. Sometimes a kale salad is just a kale salad. And this kale salad looks amazing.

      Since you’re worried about being “CONSIDERATE” (your emphasis), know that being aggressively nit picky at every turn is also inconsiderate. I was simply my experience that this comments section was formerly a general pleasant place (been reading for over a decade), and it feels more antagonistic in the last few weeks and months.

      President Obama says it well in the first 1:30.

      Ihttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cA3D_GkNcc

    • Rya Lauber says...

      When I’m out with my husband, I don’t like to be addressed as “you guys” by our waitress, cashier, salesperson, etc. because:
      1. I’m 61 and don’t feel like “you guys” is appropriate for a bunch of old fogies like us.
      2. I’m female, so I’m not a guy. How about, “Hi folks!”
      However, all ” you guys” seem to be missing the point, because the subject here, afterall, is kale salad. Get a life! There are more important things to whine about…
      3. BTW, “You guys”, is NOT plural for You, as in Vous. I don’t care where you come from.

    • C says...

      Excellent! Since they were young (about 10 years now!) I’ve been reminding my kiddos that I am not, in fact, a guy, and that we do not need to defer to “male” pronouns. I’m not sure why this would upset anyone. It seems like simple noticing. We use words like: folks, friends, girls, boys, they, you all, etc.
      I love that it brings awareness. Taking a moment to notice is always going to be a good thing And it only takes a moment.

    • C says...

      Default to the male pronoun not defer!
      And quickly, this reminds me of how so many of us automatically refer to other things immediately as “he”. The squirrel out the window to the bug crawling across the table. It’s so interesting to notice these things, and perhaps our subsequent discomfort, and try out other ways of speaking.
      Language does matter when it comes to inclusivity and hearing yourself represented as though you too were the norm.

    • Kirstin says...

      English doesn’t have a plural of ‘you’ like French has ‘vous’. It’s you singular and you plural! However in Scotland and other parts of the UK the plural of you is ‘yous’.

      However this article could have said ‘yous guys’. The lack of a you plural isn’t the issue ;)

      ‘y’all’ sounds like an incredibly American phrase. ‘you all’ sounds quite dismissive and not colloquial to me. I’m sure ‘you guys’ was chosen to sound friendly and inclusive rather than the opposite. But good to know that other people find it offensive as we can be aware if it’s appropriate to use.

      We have to be mindful that language is continually evolving and we have to balance the need to express ourselves and least offence to other people with an evolving language that doesn’t always fit the culture we now have. This kale salad article’s use of ‘you guys’ doesn’t mean that we are all men. Just like the phrase ‘kill two birds with one stone’ doesn’t mean we’re literally going to do that, it means we can get two things done at once. Yet should we have such cruel, violent language showing birds as something to hurt? Some would say there’s better ways to express it: ‘Feed two birds with one scone’!

      We do need to be conscious of whether our inherited language suits our current culture or causes division, while being conscious that our phrases and expressions allow us a shorthand of communication. I’m sure are at this blog rather than reading a dry text book cookery book for a reason!

    • Taylor says...

      I guess I need to stop reading the comment section if we are going to get picky about things like this. As someone from the midwest we say “you guys” as naturally as a southerner says “yall”. I have yet to hear a woman around me say they felt like they were being called a guy by that expression.

    • Anna Maria says...

      My intention was not to be “nit-picky” or “too much” with my comment but simply offer an alternative. This is a public forum with many readers and CoJ prides itself on inclusivity (and grammar!) which is why I hoped it would be well-received feedback.

      I am a physician and assistant professor of medicine and recently received this feedback during a conference presentation where I used the term “you guys” as a catch-all for everyone in the audience. While initially a bit defensive because it was not my intention to be exclusive, I came to realize that I am not the one who gets to decide. Rather, it is my role as an educator and a person who wields a lot of power (as a white, cis-gender female) to foster an environment where all people feel safe, respected and included which is far beyond “being pc”. I would hope this blog would be the same way.

  19. Claire says...

    always in search of a good kale salad as I try to make one 1-2x per week for dinner.

    Recently i stopped massaging kale with olive oil if I am using a dressing (since this is just too much oil) – I will instead do a “dry massage” with some salt.

    My current favorite combos are:
    – golden raisins, pine nuts & shaved parm
    – farro (cook ahead of time), dried cranberries, almonds & goat cheese

    • ks says...

      Claire, are you roasting the pine nuts or putting them in as is? Any other notes on this combination? Sounded delicious for our faux-fall weather in Texas.

    • Claire says...

      Depends on how lazy I am feeling to be honest! If I have an extra minute I will roast them quickly in a pan – definitely adds a nice touch :)

  20. Sarah says...

    I find that massaged kale is a little more palatable for everyone but really, not happening, so I actually food process it into tiny pieces which makes it into nice bite-size kid friendly pieces and also does some massaging.

    • Sophia F. says...

      Agreed on the massaging and on the not happening, so my trick is… I microwave it (shh!). I prep my kale exactly as it’ll go into my salad (I like shreds, but sometimes do torn pieces) and throw the whole thing in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. It just barely wilts the kale; I follow up with a two second toss/massage and then proceed as planned.

    • Tis says...

      Yeah, I can’t bear to eat a kale salad in big chunks, just waaay too much chewing. But I started doing a chiffonade a few years ago and it changed everything. Even the toddlers got on board.

  21. Sadie says...

    Sub me in for baby spinach, I can’t take the acidity in kale.

    • Joaquina says...

      Be cautious with your consumption of raw spinach! I’m a vegan so have to be dutiful about this and my doctor–whom is very supportive of my diet–warns me about high levels of an anitnutrient, oxalates in foods like spinach.
      Eating oxalate-rich foods puts you at a higher risk of kidney stones.

  22. Sara W says...

    This is a staple in our family and my two boys LOVE it. I omit dijon from my dressing mostly bc I am a lazy cook. Oh and I have made this with my kids’ classrooms every year. It is always a hit and the kids gobble it up. It is a super easy activity for kids – they love squeezing the lemons, whisking, tearing the kale… I send home the recipe with them all and some parents have reported back that their kid has made it for their family :) Kale salad forever and ever!

  23. Kate says...

    Actually eating a kale salad as I read this. I always have the same salad after a yoga class, so much so that I crave it during the class now. It has roasted chicken, grapefruit segments, sliced apple, a little yellow cheddar cheese, almonds and currants on top with an apple cidar vinagrette on top. It is the perfect mix of textures and flavors.

    • Caitlin Scott says...

      Oh YEAH. Writing this down!

    • Meg says...

      Screenshot of this combo to remember later? YUM

  24. Maura says...

    I love this! Usually about once a week we have “fancy salad” for dinner—usually kale + vinaigrette + whatever combo of fruit, nuts, cheese, protein, roasted veggies we feel like! Sometimes it’s super random and sometimes I try to be theme-y (Tour of the Mediterranean! California woman in a Nancy Meyers movie! Autumnal vibes!), but either way it’s so good!

    • RLG says...

      CA woman in Nancy Meyers! :)

  25. Anneka says...

    My favorite lunch is kale or any other kind of greens with a similar dressing as above (or just lemon and olive oil if you are rushing), chickpeas, walnuts and feta, add egg if in need of more protein. It is the perfect mix of salty, savory, crunchy and filling.

  26. Sarina B says...

    Love a good kale salad! Agree that massaging the kale makes it a whole lot nicer but here’s a quick tip I came across a while back – just pop your shredded/cut kale into a ziplock bag, grab your rolling pin and roll back and forth over the bag of kale a few times, then rinse the kale and pop into a salad spinner. Done!

    • Mamabird says...

      Genius!

    • Jeannie pham says...

      THANK YOUUU!! What a golden tip!

  27. Kirsten says...

    My very favorite dish at my very favorite restaurant is a kale salad with butternut squash and a peanut dressing. So freaking good.

  28. Callie says...

    “Real clock”… This whole article cracked me up. I always love your writing style, Jenny!

  29. liz says...

    I make this salad once a week, everyone I know who has tried it has loved it and stolen the recipe! : kale + parmesan + toasted almonds + dressing (1 cup of olive oil + 4 crushed garlic cloves + 3 squeezed lemons (let it sit as long as you can, then strain it over the kale; then massage it onto the kale and let that sit as long as you can (ideally ~2hrs) before eating) (I thiiink I originally found it on nyt)

    • Ari says...

      I just finished day three of eating a salad like that! In lieu of honey and olive oil, I did maple syrup and tahini (respectively) and added parsley, red cabbage, and apples. I also have a curly kale salad that’s just kale, parm, chopped dates, and a lemon/EVOO dressing + salt.

  30. jenny says...

    for Thanksgiving I made massaged baby kale with pear slices, pomegranate seeds, crumbled blue cheese and simple squeezed lemon and olive oil. so good. thx for the reminder to make this more!!

  31. Peggy says...

    This kale salad is a game changer. I make it all of the time with the endless kate growing outside my door. Thanks Jenny! (I also bring it to parties/dinners/bbqs etc and am enthusiastically changing the world one kale salad at a time ;-))

  32. Sara says...

    I needed this! We love kale salads in my household but I just kinda… forgot about them lately? Anyways, I have a pomegranate I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with that will be lovely on our kale salad tomorrow along with some roasted sweet potato cubes and avocado. Thanks for the inspiration Jenny!

  33. Emily says...

    This is similar to my staple salad as well! Though, some tweaks:

    -Finely shredded *tuscan* kale, hand massaged with Olive oil for a minute or two
    -Red quinoa sprinkled throughout
    -Green beans roasted with olive oil
    -Slivered or chopped almonds
    -Diced dried apricots
    -Dressing = mix half a lemon and maybe a tablespoon of whole grain mustard (since olive oil already massaged in)

    Mix together and voila! Easy, healthy and delicious.

  34. Jacquelyn says...

    My favourite combination is kale with poppyseed dressing and red grapefruit segments. Where I live in Ontario (Canada) there is a popular grocery store chain that sells a beautiful Harvest Kale salad with wild rice and dried cranberries. I add the poppyseed dressing and grapefruit segments to it, and bring to every potluck I go to.

  35. riye says...

    We met friends for dinner last night and I had a kale salad with roasted baby carrots, shaved parmesean, and ulu (breadfruit) chips tossed with a creamy sesame dressing. Plus a kale/parm soup with homemade croutons. Really delicious.

  36. Kelsi says...

    I grew up in a hippie town in the far corner of the Pacific Northwest and my running joke with my husband is about an imaginary jam band (a la Phish) named Kale Salad; lead singer is a white guy with waist-length dreads.

    • Colleen says...

      LOL. So good.

  37. Lindsay says...

    Looks great, id add feta and chewy goji berries and almonds/pumpkin seeds and pepper flakes. and maybe replace the mustard with tahini.

  38. Cathy says...

    “Thanks for the big bowl of homework!” Made me laugh out loud.

  39. Kristen says...

    I love seeing these kale ideas! My favorite lunch near work is a kale salad that’s prepared with a lot of lemon-y dressing, some kind of cheese (maybe shaved parm) and sliced almonds (and probably a few other things too). This is a great reminder to eat more kale (and I will try to get my kids to taste it soon, too).

  40. Bailey says...

    And kale salads can be made ahead and save so well! One year for our National Night Out block party, we brought a delicious kale salad. So did three of our neighbors. All we ate that hot summer night was kale salad, corn chips, and watermelon. True neighbor bonding.

  41. Justine says...

    I love kale so much. And oddly, so does my vegetable adverse teenage son… I often use kale in place of rice for things like chili, stews, etc. It’s hearty and filling and is a nice change when I’m trying to lighten things up and fit more veg into my diet.

    And yes, as previous posters have noted, you need to massage that kale! It makes is way nicer to eat. It gets softer, the color deepens and it has a lovely sheen when you massage it with a bit of oil and a pinch of salt. It always seems a lot sexier to eat when you massage it a bit first :-)

  42. rose says...

    A large handful of diced kale is exponentially delicious in ramen or any brothy soup – addictively delicious so try that for any who can’t/won’t eat it raw. I also love it lightly wilted over a pan of crispy fried shitake mushrooms. So very delicious.

    • rose says...

      As for actual salad I like it massaged with vinaigrette and chunks of avo OR as close as possible to Denver’s Root Down Farro salad, which is the best kale salad I’ve ever eaten: Kale, Zucchini, Corn, Goat Feta, Blueberries, Radish, Poblano-Pesto, Smoked Almonds & Lemon-Tahini Dressing – as amazing as it sounds.

  43. Nina says...

    “Thanks for the big bowl of homework!” -> so funny. Thanks for the laugh!

  44. Hali says...

    My favorite kale dressing is olive oil, lots of lemon and soy sauce. All the salad really needs is kale, some thin sliced carrots and a little massage. It blooms into a dish that’s so good people start grabbing it with their pointer fingers and thumbs from the serving bowl before it even hits the table. Going to try your all purpose dressing tonight- mustard! Of course!

  45. Amanda says...

    Love these ideas. Plus romaine continues to be so problematic with food borne illness. ALL HAIL KALE!

  46. Lee Ann says...

    Love a kale salad — particularly with finely grated Parmesan and toasted pinenuts.

  47. Anne says...

    I’m currently working my way through a giant batch of: Tuscan kale massaged with sesame oil, roasted sweet potato slices, crispy garam masala chickpeas, pomegranates, creamy feta, and a tahini-maple dressing. I made a bunch of each ingredient on Sunday and throw them all together on my way out the door to work – I’m so excited to eat it every day I can’t wait past 11!

    • Jess says...

      This sounds amazing! Can you post details on your dressing and chickpeas?! I would love to make this!

    • Joanna M. says...

      This sounds amazing!

    • Anne says...

      Of course! I follow this crispy chickpea method (mine usually take 45 min): https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-in-the-oven-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-219753
      When they come out coat them with more salt (why not) and some garam masala (maybe a shy tablespoon per can of chickpeas?).

      For the dressing, I really eyeball the proportions, but I add 1/4 cup tahini, 1/2T maple syrup, 2T sesame oil (and if I have it, 1/2T of sweet white miso, delicious but not totally necessary) and a good bit of salt to a mason jar, then add maybe 1/2-1 cup of water gradually while I whisk it all up. It thickens up a bunch in the fridge, so if you’re not planning to eat it immediately leave it a little concentrated so you don’t lose the flavors when you thin it out before serving!

    • Jess says...

      Thank you!! Can’t wait to try this!!

  48. Tricia says...

    My 8 year old whose diet mainly consists of buttered noodles and the occasional hot dog devours kale chips and it makes me feel SO GOOD that he is getting some nutrients! To make them, I wash and dry the kale (dry it as well as you can), tear into bite-size pieces, toss with olive oil and salt, spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 275 for about 20-25 minutes. You want them really crispy but not brown, so watch them those last few minutes. Soggy kale chips are gross.

  49. Emily says...

    Hi Jenny! Love the salad idea, and always love your writing – your recipes & words are always wonderful. But since we’re both here, can I ask an off-topic question because you seem to be really good at this sort of thing? What would you serve to 10-12ish guests at the dessert portion of a Christmas-time “progressive dinner”? I’m confident enough to try something impressive, but also love the idea of something easier and comforting. Any ideas?!

    • Kelly says...

      chocolate lava cakes in individual ramekins! not that hard and a little festive!

      a fruit galette is relatively simple and can have a beautiful presentation.

      something in a bundt cake pan – many easy bundt cake recipes and they can look lovely on a cake stand!

      homemade ice cream in your favorite flavor and a special cookie.

      good luck!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      That sounds like fun!
      How about a gingerbread cake?
      https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/12/gingerbread-layer-cake/

      Alongside some Easy Fudge Bites from the always dependable Sarah Carey:
      https://www.marthastewart.com/1544417/easy-fudge-bites

      Or a few pies and tarts with freshly whipped cream? My husband made this Cranberry-Lime tart (with gingerbread crush) for Thanksgiving and it was magical. (Though not necessarily simple.) https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/cranberry-lime-pie

      Now I want to organize a progressive dinner in my neighborhood!

    • Anya says...

      Ooh, I love progressive dinners!
      What about serving a trifle, or a fancy (and boozy) hot chocolate to drink? or some other kind of impressive chocolate or chocolate/mint dessert? Or a large plate of beautiful cookies? So many options! Enjoy!!

    • Leanne says...

      I’ve seen some beautiful pavlovas – you can make it ahead in the shape of a wreath, and then assemble with whipped cream, raspberries, and mint quickly before serving. With a nice bottle of something…

  50. Anonygirl says...

    I don’t love kale, but honestly, a salad sounds really good right now. I’d probably sub spinach or romaine (once romaine is safe to eat again).

    • Kristin says...

      Me too! Give me lettuce or spinach any day.

  51. Alyssa says...

    This salad is exactly what I brought to my family Thanksgiving dinner! And no one (except me and my husband) ate it, HA! No problem, just means more take-home leftovers for us.

    Also, this salad is excellent with Trader Joe’s Almond Butter Tumeric Salad Dressing!

  52. Heather says...

    All I can say is THANK YOU Jenny! We have been comisterating in our house about not getting enough greens this time of year, and this amazing kale salad with pomegranate seeds is just the ticket – still seasonal and delightful, but with the lightness and crunch we’ve been looking for. Roasted veggies are great, but they just don’t have the same qualities as a nice green salad. Don’t worry, we’ll still be indulging in the yule log and Christmas cookies too – but feeling slightly more virtuous while doing so ;)

  53. Kim says...

    Costco carries a kale salad kit that my daughter ASKS for! #soproud Once I took it to a potluck at school for her sports team and it got eaten up faster than the Caesar or pasta salads.

  54. Sarah S says...

    This looks wonderful! My cousin made “the kale salad that started it all” from Six Seasons for Thanksgiving and it was amazing! Usually I don’t care at all about salad at Thanksgiving but this one was so good! I made it already at home this week. My generally-unenthusiastic-about-kale boyfriend even loved it.

  55. Claire says...

    Last month I’m prepping a kale salad (radish, goat cheese, pistachios, dried cherries) and my 5-year-old daughter walks into the kitchen and declares “what’s that delicious smell?” She then devours about half a bunch of lacinato kale from the cutting board….and then another bowl full with dinner. I’ve still been riding high on the disappearance of all mom guilt since that day.

    • Sasha L says...

      I love that combo, sounds delicious.

  56. Helen says...

    A tasty & thrifty add-in: after you de-stem the kale, mince the stems and include them. I do this with cooked and with raw kale. I don’t understand why people throw away a perfectly edible portion of the vegetable.
    Also: seeds (pumpkin, sesame…)

    • Gabby says...

      Thank you for this tip!! Love finding ways to reduce food waste :)

    • Justine says...

      I totally agree about seeds but OMG stems in kale salads are my #1 pet peeve. Haha, sorry, not even minced. But seeds all the way!

  57. Whitney says...

    Toasted walnuts, roasted sweet potatoes, good salty feta. I love kale. And amazingly, so do my kids!

  58. Meigs says...

    We had a simple kale salad at Thanksgiving dinner and it honestly was such a refreshing sight! You underestimate the simplicity behind it and what it does the break up a meal that is heavy, or even a week of heavy meals! Love the combos that are offered :)

  59. I’m grateful for this, Jenny!! It’s no problem finding fun, indulgent foods during this season, but it’s important to also have fun, nourishing foods to balance it out! The fun + nourishing combo is so important, because if it’s not fun, I might over-do it on those fun + indulgent ones :)

  60. Haven’t had kale salad for a while – seems like some kale I buy is just too tough :/ Do you massage it or something??

    • Robin says...

      I’ve found it’s helpful to mix the kale with some extra lemon juice and then let it sit for a bit before finishing the salad and serving. The acid supposedly breaks down the fibres a bit?

    • anne says...

      I buy Tuscan or dinosaur kale, shred it. massage it (my favorite is toasted sesame oil) and keep a giant batch of that waiting in the fridge all week. It gets a little softer as the week goes on but never wilts!

    • Susan says...

      I have the same problem. I love it cooked, but not raw. It’s always too tough.

    • Amber says...

      The trick to not hating and (dare I say it) making kale your favorite salad green is twofold:
      1) Never use the bags of kale that include the stems – I’m looking at you TJs – stems are tough, no one likes chewing them & they taste sad.
      2) Always buy kale by the bunch, tear the leaves off of the stems and then massage them. Not just one or two squeezes, you’ll want to rub those puppies until they start to break down a bit and become softer. That’s when kale starts to resemble the salad you eat in restaurants and begrudgingly pay $14 for while thinking to yourself, “I could make this at home”. Which brings me to my warning: Once you start at-home kale massaging, everything changes. You’ll be eating leafy greens on the reg that actually taste good which means it will make it even harder to pay $14 for said restaurant salad but now you REALLY love kale and so the cycle continues…

    • Olivia says...

      There’s no way my food is getting massaged more than I am. My trick? Wash the kale in hot tap water. It wilts it just a bit, and doesn’t take any longer.

    • Hilary says...

      I’m all about the baby kale! I buy it from TJ’s and then finely chop it. It goes so well in a kale and wild rice salad (I use the recipe from Iowa Girl Eats and it’s amazing)

    • Rebecca says...

      I second Amber’s advice!! Nailed it.

    • Kelsi says...

      A sprinkle of salt with a squeeze of lemon juice, briefly massage it in – it’ll soften up in a minute or two.

    • Kelly says...

      try lacinato kale, chopped or torn into bite size pieces – then before you dress it or add any other ingredients, pour a glug of olive oil in the bowl, roll your sleeves up, and massage it. just stick your hands in the bowl and rub it and toss it around. if you’re having people over, assign the task to someone, it usually is a great conversation starter! in my experience a good massage makes all the difference!

      alternatively, you can steam kale, and add to a rice or potato dish, or eat with a squirt of lemon juice, but that’s different than a fresh salad.

    • Hannah says...

      I try and buy whole bunches of lacitino kale, bc otherwise I’m stuck pulling the stems out of tiny pre-cut pieces (as mentioned below). I just massage mine with salt and then let it hang while I make a dressing or something.

  61. Chrystal says...

    Kale salad always feels like a success. I usually make it with a healthy amount of shredded carrots and, if I have them, sunflower seeds.

  62. T says...

    I love a good salad, so I appreciate this recipe!
    Can we, though, stop making food a morale issue? Sure, a person can compensate for rich food indulgences, but that whole food-guilt game is silly. You wanna feel guilty about something? Feel guilty about scowling at that stranger or not calling your parents enough.

    • celeste says...

      As someone who’s been cramming cookies since Dec. 1 I found it very real :)

    • Tess says...

      Agreed 100000%!! Even in a joking way, I find assigning morality to food unpleasant an unnecessary. Lets evolve past that, please!

    • mado says...

      Yes, thanks!

    • Hilary says...

      Thank you! I completely agree. We need to move away from this language. As a teacher and a mama of a young one, it’s really important that we’re mindful of our language around food. Food is food.

    • Milka says...

      Agreed, I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately! The most recent episode of Mom Rage podcast (highly recommended, btw) talks about food and they interview author Virginia Sole-Smith about her book The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image, and Guilt in America.

    • Milka says...

      I should add– I loved getting all this kale salad inspiration, though!

  63. Robin says...

    Whenever I serve raw kale at family dinners, my dad complains that it “cuts his mouth”. Cooked kale is even worse and is a form of torture, apparently. His hang-dog face at the sight of this veg makes me howl with laughter, because I am a cruel daughter. I love kale, especially with a lemony dressing like this one!

    • Annie K says...

      HA! My dad’s the same. He’s even turned the whole concept of “vegetables” into some kind of liberal conspiracy and has completely dropped them from his diet. “I take supplements,” he says. Who are you!? I wonder.

      Recently, he wouldn’t eat the green beans I served with dinner. My toddler was scarfing them down. When I commented that he was worse than a two- year-old, his response was “She’s two and a half!”

  64. celeste says...

    Looks festive and very humorous writing today :) I’d do a mix of romaine with a little kale on top and def pom seeds and apples, no onion. Hubs would probably throw in croutons to be a little naughty.

  65. My absolute favorite dressing on the planet is your recipe with pomegranate molasses – it has become my go-to salad dressing over the last several years! I don’t even remember what your exact original recipe was now that I’ve been eyeballing it for so long, but I use apple cider vinegar, pomegranate molasses, dijon mustard, a pinch of salt, a olive oil– sometimes a splash of water (which apparently is Rita Sodi’s trick for preventing a vinaigrette from making you cough!). So THANK YOU for bringing pomegranate molasses into my life (and this kale salad)!

  66. Vero says...

    Jenny, this is off topic but I’m getting a Le Creuset French oven and wondering which shape to get. I’m looking at the 6~ litre one but not sure if I should get a round one or oval. Are there any advantages to either that I haven’t thought of (round better for stovetop cooking?) / do you have a recommendation? Thank you!!

    • Jenny Rosenstrach says...

      I have the round one and it has served me well — and a quick google search shows that there’s not much difference in the cooking capabilities of oval vs. round. (Maybe an oval one allows a tiny bit more flexibility in the oven, since in theory you can rotate it the long way leaving room for something else on the rack? This is just a guess!) In terms of size, I have a 5 3/4 qt Le Creuset which is great for my family of four, but I do find myself wishing for a larger one 6+ when I’m having people over. I’d definitely buy that one if I was doing it over.

    • molly says...

      I don’t think you can really go wrong! I have an oval Le Creuset and it is the perfect size and shape for roasts (pork, beef, etc.), and I’ve never had any issues with uneven cooking on the stove. I also find it stores easily in the fridge. That said, many of the recipes I make in it (pork ragu forever and always) are from Jenny’s books and websites, so clearly the round shape works very well!

    • Vero says...

      Wow thank you so much Jenny & co. It’s something I’ll likely buy just once in my life and wanted to do it right! Round 6+ litre it is :) Also I think I’ll buy my best friend your cookbook for Christmas ❤️ thanks for being so helpful and inspiring!

  67. Alec says...

    Avocado, green onion, radish and pistachios – my fiancé calls it “the crowd-pleaser”!

  68. Hannah G says...

    I’m saving this! We’ve been eating a lot of agrodolce kale from the Six Seasons cookbook (of which my toddler eats only the raisins and I consider that a victory), but sometimes cooking kale feels like too much work. I’m going to pick up some kale today to go with our papa murphy’s :)

    • HH says...

      Hannah (or any other Six Seasons fans out there): I’m wondering what your favorite recipes from this cookbook are? The roasted red pepper panzanella was reason enough to buy the book. (So delicous!) But the Brussels sprouts gratin that I made last night made me regret dumping cheese and cream on already perfectly tasty roasted sprouts. I’ll have to try the Agrodolce Kale recipe. Got any other faves?

    • Hannah G says...

      Hey! So I just got the book and have basically only made the kale ? but I have my eye on the beet citrus salad for this weekend. I have been looking at the gratin bc we live the a mountain state and all that cheese sounds good to me! But I’ll def keep that in mind.