Here’s a simple massaged kale salad with cashews and dried cranberries that’s festive enough for holidays and easy enough for everyday meals.
This a a salad that we enjoy pretty much all year round, save when tomatoes beckon in the summer. But I’ll always associate it with Thanksgiving, because the first time I encountered raw kale in a salad was at this holiday’s celebration at the home of good friends a number of years ago.
That’s when I first learned about massaging kale, an important step to take when using kale raw — otherwise it might feel like you’re chewing lawn. To get the most enjoyment from raw kale, massaging it is a must!
About massaging kale: There’s not much to this process; simply rub a small amount of olive oil (or another salad dressing, if using) onto your palms and massage the kale leaves for 30 to 60 seconds, until they turn bright green and soften. For more, see How to Massage Kale (and a Few Delicious Kale Salad Ideas).
There are so many ways to vary this salad. You can toss in some slivered baby carrots, substitute another kind of nut, add a bit of thinly shredded red cabbage for extra color or sliced celery or bok choy for extra crunch. Use a different nut, a different fruit, a different dressing.
Even in its simple form, as presented here, it’s luscious and festive. I find it almost addictive; but I suppose that if one is going to be addicted to something, it may as well be kale!
Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas. Photos by Susan Voisin.
- 1 good sized bunch kale (8 to 10 ounces), curly green or lacinato, washed and dried
- Olive oil, as needed
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries (or see variations)
- 1/2 cup crushed toasted cashews (or see variations)
- 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise (or see variations)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Strip the kale leaves off the stems. Cut into ribbons and place in a large bowl. With a little olive oil rubbed into your palms, massage the kale for a minute or so, until it becomes bright green and softens a bit, 45 to 60 seconds.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve at room temperature.
Optional additions (use as much or as little as you'd like)
- Tiny orange sections (mandarin or clementine)
- Diced apple
- Diced pear
- Grated carrot
- Thinly sliced bok choy
- Use dried cherries or golden raisins in place of cranberries
- Toasted walnuts or pecans in place of cashews
- Use toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) in place of cashews
- Use bottled raspberry vinaigrette instead of vegan mayonnaise
If you like this kale salad, you might also enjoy …
See lots more easy vegan salads & sides.