As has been established already, I really love salads, and I really love kale (many lunchboxes in my lunchbox series contain kale). When Julia of All About the Pretty told me about this kale salad and some modifications she made to it, I of course had to try it. This was a departure from my usual, as it contains raw onions, but I figured raw kale salad was a departure from my usual a few years ago, so why not. I tweaked the recipe some more, and realized I particularly loved it one day I only had enough kale salad for a side, so had it alongside a large romaine salad. Something about the romaine neutralizes the onion in addition to giving the salad a delightful crunch to counterfoil with the massaged kale. You can make the recipe below and omit the romaine and have a perfectly delicious kale salad, but if you don’t like onions that much, or are still getting used to kale, this is a nice way to try both.
Romaine Kale Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegan) – Makes 4-8 servings, depending on whether they are meal-sized or side servings
This salad, without the romaine, keeps well for up to two or three days in the fridge. Add the romaine immediately before serving, or omit altogether. This is a spicy, savory, bold flavored salad, so if you prefer a savory but less bold flavor, try this Nori Kale Salad or, if you like sweet and savory flavors without heat or pungency, this Speedy Butternut Squash & Black Bean Salad. Finally, a note on the liquid aminos – this gluten-free soy-based sauce tastes a lot like tamari, but has a fairly distinctive taste. You can absolutely substitute tamari, but the salad will taste slightly different. For a soy-free version, I did try using coconut aminos, but I did not like the flavor combination, probably because coconut aminos are a bit sweet and this salad is more about spicy and savory. Feel free to experiment though.
- 6-8 cups torn kale leaves, which is about 1 large bunch kale, or 2 average sized ones, stemmed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (for those of you who asked me which brand to buy, I like this one)
- 3 tablespoons liquid aminos
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
- 1 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion (about one medium to large red onion. You can make this salad with just 1 cup of red onion for a slightly less strong flavor)
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped very finely
- 3-4 cups chopped romaine, about 1 large romaine salad
In a large bowl, massage the kale pieces with the olive oil until slightly wilted. In a small bowl, mix the nutritional yeast with the liquid aminos and the cayenne (it will be thick and clumpy). Massage the mixture into the kale leaves, distributing the mixture as evenly as possible. Add the chopped red onion and garlic and toss gently. Immediately prior to serving, add the chopped romaine.
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