Recipe: “So you think you don’t like kale?” Raw Kale Salad

kale my plant

“Magic Kale Plant” — has survived 4 Northeast winters

It’s scary looking!

It’s bitter!

I don’t know what to do with it!

Yes, I have literally heard all of these reasons, and more,  not to eat kale… and I would like to give  you some info that may change your mind.

First of all, it’s NOT scary looking, it’s a beautiful expression of green bounty! Kale comes in so many varieties — deep dark green, slender leaves, pale green, wide elephant ear leaves, pebbled surfaces, smooth as a peach, frilly lace edging, modest plant, mammoth plant… To me, the beauty comes from the richness of the varieties. There is no such thing as a shy kale plant — they are all bold, beautiful, and HEY, LOOK AT ME!

Kale, like many other leafy greens, *can* be bitter, but it’s not their fault…  It’s up to you to work with it!  You can temper it by braising it, which “gives the bitterness somewhere to go”, as Rachel Ray often says. But you can also take advantage of that bitterness, and play it off the other flavors in the recipe. That is what I have done in this recipe for a raw kale salad — it’s all about contrasts while still working beautifully together.

As far as not knowing what to do with it:  that may have been true years ago, but kale has gone mainstream, and there are zillions of great recipes out there — just Google.

LauraGriffin01 cropped

Fun at the Farmers Market! (photo by Jim Huste)

And now you have one to start with, right here!

I made this raw kale salad at the Hillsdale Farmers Market on Saturday, when I was there as a Guest Chef courtesy of the Town’s “Green Solutions Committee” I chose this recipe because most of the farmers had kale on hand; it didn’t require any cooking; and it was easy enough to demonstrate over and over during the course of the market.


4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced into ribbons. I prefer Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero) with largest portions of ribs removed
1 apple, cored and medium chopped
juice of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lemon
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, mashed (watch to learn how to mash garlic)
sea salt, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread (watch to learn how to make your own bread crumbs)
optional: 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese or other grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan


Whisk together lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and a pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
Mix the kale and the apples in a large serving bowl.
Pour the dressing over kale and toss well.
Let salad sit for at least 5 minutes (10 is better). Add bread crumbs (and the optional cheese), toss again, and serve.

kale salad from DanielleThank you, Dee, for sending me your photo of the completed raw kale salad!!


Posted on September 15, 2013, in Recipes, Side dish and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I made it. It is so YUM! I almost ate the whole bowl myself. At least it is salad!-D

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