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winter blues… and greens

Recipe: shredded kale salad

Over the holidays when I was recovering from my cold, but still essentially useless, I rifled through my sizable yarn stash and decided to put a dent in it. I wanted to make something for my friend, Kat, who is moving away this very week. Knowing how sorely out of practice I was, I made a trial run which ultimately had some inconsistent tension and resulted in a scarf that I’d be willing to wear, but was too flawed (in my opinion) to gift to someone.


the trial run scarf



I made the test scarf blue because I prefer cooler hues and because I needed to save my green yarns for Kat’s scarf. Green is her favorite color and I happened to have a lot of different funky novelty yarns in greens. It’s a remnant scarf which means you use up the remnants of various skeins of yarn. When I was done with the tassels, it reminded me of a rainforest. And she loved it, which is what really mattered.

kat’s scarf



Even though I’m pretty much recuperated, I am finishing up one last remnant scarf for another friend. It makes me realize how impatient I am to sit down and work on these things when I’m back to normal, because I much prefer being on my feet. So I am forcing myself to hurry up and get it done lest it be forgotten in my yarn bin for another two years.

kaweah likes to keep me company and doze on the couch



But you know, there are days when it is just too nice to pass up getting out under those bluebird skies. Our winter blues are the best kind, really. Erin agrees with me.

i kid you not



After our hike, Erin and I met two other girlfriends in Boulder for a late lunch at Oak. I really like their food, so much so that I reproduced their shredded kale salad at home. I have been loving on winter greens salads for the heartier texture, the slight bitterness, and most of all – because I can make a big batch and enjoy the salad over the course of a few days instead of preparing a salad fresh each time!

olive oil, orange, apple, red wine vinegar, salt, almonds, kale, togarashi



Oak’s version of this salad uses Parmesan cheese, but I omitted that because I wanted to keep this light. They also put candied almonds in their salad (which tastes great) as opposed to the seasoned almonds I had on hand. I think next time I’m going to use baby kale. It’s so tender that I could skip the step of stripping the leaves from the ribs.

strip the leaves from the ribs

roll the leaves up and slice thin (chiffonade)



If memory serves me well, Oak uses a simple oil and vinegar dressing. I wanted mine to have an orange juice base. But you know what? It’s a salad. That means you do whatever you want to it. Of course, I have to say the orange juice dressing is lovely… unless you have a thing against oranges in which case, I am sad for you.

place the vinegar, orange juice, and salt in a bowl

whisk in a steady thin drizzle of olive oil

pour over the kale



Use as much or as little olive oil in the dressing as suits you. I like to have just enough to take the edge off of the acid, but not so much that the salad is an oily mess. As soon as it is mixed, I toss it with the kale. Then I add the rest of the goodies and give it another toss.

slice the apples

add the almonds

gently mix it up taking care not to kill the apple slices



The final touch is to sprinkle some togarashi over the salad. It’s a Japanese chili seasoning that you can find in Asian grocery stores and perhaps the international section of some regular grocery stores. Mine came in a little half-ounce jar and a little bit can bring an added dimension to your salad. It’s wonderful.

sprinkle some togarashi over the salad



If you’re trying to eat healthier in the new year, try this salad. If you just like hearty winter greens, try this salad. If you love making big batches of salad to enjoy without the hassle of prepping one every single time you eat it, try this one.

get your green on



Shredded Kale Salad
[print recipe]
inspired by Oak (original recipe is here)

1 bunch (about 8 oz.) kale, curly or whatever kind you like
1 orange, juice of (or use the juice of 1 lemon as in the original recipe)
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (omit if using lemon juice instead of orange juice)
2 pinches of salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large apple, sliced thin (I used pink lady, but pick one that is sweet, tart, and crisp)
candied almonds (I used seasoned almonds)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated (optional – I omitted this)
togarashi (Japanese chili pepper seasoning)

Wash the kale and strip the leaves from the ribs using a pairing knife. If using baby kale, skip stripping the leaves from the ribs (that would be crazy tedious). Stack the leaves and roll them into a tight bundle. Using a sharp knife, shred the kale by thinly slicing the roll of leaves. Place the shredded kale in a large bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine the orange juice, red wine vinegar, and salt. Pour the olive oil into the orange juice mixture in a steady, thin stream while whisking vigorously to incorporate the oil. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss. If using lemon juice, just add the lemon and olive oil to the large bowl and toss. Add the apple slices, almonds, and Parmesan (if using) to the bowl of kale and toss together. Season with togarashi to taste. Serves 4.

26 nibbles at “winter blues… and greens”

  1. Kristin says:

    Mad knife skills with those apples! The scarves are gorgeous. The shot of the green one looks like one of those photos of something biological sometimes posted on I f#$&ing love science. Lovely!

  2. Caroline says:

    I have togarashi that I never think to use, but it would be great on a salad. Thanks for the idea!

  3. Ali (Bubbly Meadow) says:

    The picture of you slicing the apples had me thinking, simultaneously – she’s amazing with a knife – and – how does she photograph that! Beautiful pictures and salad.

  4. Liz N. says:

    I have been trying to work on incorporating more dark leafy greens (like kale) into my diet and this salad looks like a delicious and easy way to do it! I have togarashi at home (thanks to having a Japanese hubby) and will break it out for this recipe. The scarves are absolutely beautiful!

  5. Andrea Y. says:

    It all looks amazing! The recipe is printed and ready to roll.
    Nice work with the scarves ~they are gorgeous.
    I especially love the picture of Kaweah keeping you company.

  6. Randi says:

    Just added to my things to do list for today–”find and buy togarashi”. I’m making this salad! Thank you! It looks so yummy!

  7. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    Looks awesome! Love this idea!

  8. Y says:

    Love the scarves, and that salad looks so refreshing!

  9. Alison says:

    It’s nice to see you knitting again.

    When the Denver Post printed the recipe for this salad – http://blogs.denverpost.com/food/2012/12/24/kale/16966/ – I thought “No way was that only three tablespoons of cheese!” because I had thought the salad seemed pretty cheesy. Your suggestion of half a cup is probably closer to the truth! It is nice to see a lighter version.

  10. Bebe says:

    The salad looks great, and I LOVE the green scarf! Maybe you could raffle off one of those sometime… ;)

  11. Bebe says:

    AND I love Kaweah’s blanket. I recently made a blanket for my dog too.

  12. Judy says:

    It seems like I get kale every week in my CSA box, so I’m always on the lookout for new recipes. Thanks for sharing! (Love the scarves!)

  13. Sally - My Custard Pie says:

    I don’t have the patience to knit and I’m in awe of those lovely scarves. I DO have the patience to make this salad though – and fresh kale in the fridge. Hope you are on your feet soon

  14. kelley {mountain mama cooks} says:

    I’m not sure what I’m loving more. That gorgeous winter salad, the sleepy (and delicious) 4 legged friend, or that beautiful scarf. Both colors are so bright and I’m sure your friend loved the green one! Have a great weekend.

  15. Jill says:

    Love those bluebird days, but also love the grey ones too. It’s all CO!

  16. Eric Gower says:

    I do a similar kale salad with matcha salt replacing the togarashi, it’s marvelous! I also soak gojiberries and chrystallized ginger in vinegar for an hour or so, and use both the plumped fruit and the fruit-infused vinegar in the salad. Thanks, great site!

  17. Ally says:

    I LOVE the kale salad from the Oak on Fourteenth! I visit weekly for this salad!
    Glad you feel the same (don’t want them to ever delete from the menu!). Excited to try your version with oj less parm. Thx for sharing!

  18. Kelly says:

    What a gorgeous salad! Can’t find Kale locally in Malaysia but have been wanting to try for a while.

  19. Adrienne says:

    Oh my God! I LOVE this salad at OAK! I can’t wait to make it! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  20. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    Mmm I love a good kale salad. I would have definitely added some of that Parmesan cheese :)

  21. Bernadette @ Now Stir It Up says:

    YUM!!! I love the orange juice dressing. Sounds so bright and lovely.

  22. jenyu says:

    Kristin – ha! I guess the green scarf does look somewhat biological – plant life :)

    Ali – ah yes, it’s called a tripod and a self-timer. VERY handy for these instructional types of shots!

    Randi – woman, you are a machine! I hope you guys enjoy the salad xo

    Alison – cool, I didn’t know the recipe was published! It’s interesting to see how close (and how off) I was. Although, I have to tell you that 3 tablespoons of grated cheese is about right. I produced close to 5 or 6 cups of shredded kale in this recipe.

    Bebe – if I accumulate enough remnants (again) and find some “sitting down” time, I just might :)

    Judy – new kale recipes are always good. I’m on the look out for the constantly.

    Sally – I’m fully recovered now, thank you! xo

    kelley – thanks, hon!

    Jill – :)

    Eric – thank you.

    Ally – they’re pretty awesome. I love their food!

    Kelly – oh darn :\ I wonder if you can substitute another dark leafy green?

    Adrienne – you’re so welcome!

    Brandon – ha ha!!

    Bernadette – yes, the oj dressing is really spunky!

  23. Tressa in NC says:

    Oh my! YOU KNIT!!

  24. Alison says:

    Jen, I’m glad I’m not eating as much cheese as I feared, then, when I eat this at the restaurant!

  25. Raw kale salad « Soap Box says:

    [...] I love kale I never thought I would want to eat it raw until I saw this recipe at Use Real Butter.  I didn’t immediately make it, but then I failed to make anything for a [...]

  26. pumpkin says:

    Oak just published their kale salad recipe: http://www.runnersworld.com/recipes/refuel-with-a-sweet-and-spicy-kale-salad

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