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keeping your cool

Recipe: crunchy kale salad

Our evening walks with Kaweah are getting later and later because we try to avoid taking her out when the sun is still up. She overheats easily. Thankfully, as soon as the sun drops low, the air begins to cool quickly in the mountains. You can feel the delicious streams of cool air flowing around your ankles as you hike the neighborhood trails. Wildflowers are full speed ahead and the once new spring-green aspen leaves have turned to a soothing deep, dark green.

the blur is kaweah’s wagging tail

indian paintbrush and yarrow

happily taking a rest in a field of clover

I reached down to give Kaweah a pat on the ribs as we left the trail to return to the house. Her fur was cool to the touch. She was clearly happy, lazily wagging her tail as she sniffed every.single.plant on the side of the road. I pressed my palm to my arm and was delighted that my skin felt COLD.

c’mon, let’s go!

well, there’s always time for a belly rub

Thank goodness for the evening cooldowns around here, or else I would have lost my marbles back in April. We’ve been on a busy rotation of salads because the last thing I want in summer is to cook and then eat a hot, heavy meal. I want fresh, crunchy, green things! This means I’m always on the lookout for something new. When my pal, Denise, and I checked out the Native Foods Boulder soft opening in late May, we ordered strategically so we could get as big a sampling of the menu as possible. Native Foods is a popular vegan restaurant, not because it is vegan, but because they serve some great food. That said, I am not a fan of faux meats or faux cheeses (faux food isn’t my thing). But, I absolutely fell in love with their crunchy kale salad and immediately went home and made it for Jeremy.

all you need: kale and cabbages

avocado, apple, almonds, and black currants

tahini, orange juice, maple syrup, olive oil, (not pictured: salt, lemon juice)

The salad is chock full of healthy goodies and unlike lettuce, it doesn’t wilt much if you make a large batch to enjoy over the course of a few days. That’s because it has hearty greens like kale and cabbage. The rest of the ingredients are either neutral or sweet. If you are seeking a tangy, salty salad – this is not it. But it’s a fantastic, hearty salad that is satisfying without being overly heavy.

trim the kale leaves from the stalks

shred the kale

add shredded cabbage to the bowl

As with any salad, you can substitute, add, subtract whatever you like. It’s all about what you like. I just happen to think this combination is pretty wonderful. There is nothing wimpy about it. Also, I love the deep and bright colors that scream “I’m healthy!”

dice the avocado

add the dried black currants

I took a guess at the dressing since they said it was a maple-orange dressing with tahini drizzle. No mysteries there. I added a pinch of salt and some lemon juice to give it a little more zing. It’s a mellow, earthy flavor.

maple syrup


whisk in the olive oil

Your biggest time investment will be prepping the salad ingredients. The dressing comes together lickity split. If you wanted to make this ahead of time, everything can be done in advance although I recommend against prepping the apple and avocado too early because they will brown. Just assemble the salad before serving and you are good to go. It works well as a side salad or as a meal.

pour the dressing over the ingredients


it’s not easy being green (but it is most definitely delicious)

Crunchy Kale Salad
[print recipe]
inspired by Native Foods

4 cups kale, washed, trimmed, and shredded
2 cups red cabbage, shredded
2 cups green cabbage, shredded
1 Granny Smith apple, julienned
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup dried black currants

maple orange tahini dressing:
1 orange, juice of (about 1/2 cup)
1 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsps tahini
pinch of salt
1/3 cup olive oil
lemon juice to taste

Make the dressing: Place the orange juice, maple syrup, tahini, and pinch of salt in a medium bowl and whisk together until blended. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl in a steady stream while constantly whisking. Add lemon juice to taste. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the kale, cabbages, apple, avocado, almonds, and dried black currants. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Serves 4-6.

57 nibbles at “keeping your cool”

  1. Jennifer says:

    Oh man, this salad sounds wonderful! This is going in my queue to make soon!

  2. Pru @ Perfecting Pru says:

    I don’t think I would usually jump at a salad like this, but I am going to have to give it a try – although I will substitute the currants for sultanas, but it looks really good. I’m pleased that Kaweah is keeping cool, it hasn’t heated up that much yet but I know that Violet will soon be panting and lying on the stone floor in the kitchen!

    Oh, by the way, I made the pumpkin and peanut butter dog biscuits for a garden fete last weekend and a man ended up buying quite a lot of packets for himself – turns out he liked them very much!

  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    You live in such a beautiful place! And this salad is lovely. Awesome idea!

  4. Toni @ Boulder Locavore says:

    This looks delicious Jen. I completely agree on being in the ‘salad days’ of summer. Nothing else sounds good when the temp’s spike. Sorry to miss you at the Native Foods soft opening! Hope our paths will cross one of these days (Denise too; another Twitter acquaintance but have not met live).

  5. johanna says:

    sounds wonderful! full of crunchy goodness! i like the idea a lot… i can’t get kale here, i could possibly use some local dark green leafy veg instead!

  6. Kristin says:

    Oh wow! I am so glad I am grocery shopping today, and that my not picky father is coming for the weekend!

  7. Margie says:

    That doggie…is just so precious! And this recipe? Oh girl, you dun-done it big time! I was planning on making some tahini today. I already have kale and cabbage on hand, almonds too, but I’m out of currants and will be using cranberries. My apple is a different variety (Ambrosia), and I’ll have to use bottled lemon juice, but I do own an avocado today. What are the chances of me being this close to Nirvana?

    I must be living right. ;)

  8. swan says:

    right on! haven’t written for awhile, but always read the blog. you go kaweah! can’t wait to make the salad!


  9. Tracy says:

    I love kale — cooked. And might have bypassed this post entirely if it hadn’t been for the abundance of Kaweah photos (sweet and lovely, as usual). But then I got to the recipe and wish I had picked up some avocado and cabbage this morning (lacinato kale just now ready in my garden). On my list. Thanks.

  10. Barbara says:

    Sounds wonderful. I love currants with savoury foods. The kale is very different to the kale here. Although I have seen that type in gardens in nZ

  11. Gina says:

    that is one gorgeous salad! love the combo and will try this one soon.

  12. Kalyn says:

    Oh yes, love the sound of this!

  13. Lisa Ann says:

    I love kale and many of the other ingredients. I am curious, though, as the “header” I read said to “use real butter.” Did I miss something?

  14. Shut Up & Cook says:

    Thank goodness for this recipe! My stupid CSA is giving us nothing but Kale right now, and I don’t know what to do with it! Looking forward to trying this…and always love to see sweet puppy pix.

  15. Jill says:

    Kaweah looks like a puppy in the pic with Dr.D rubbing her belly! What a sweet girl.
    And the salad looks and sounds marvelous!

  16. Melanie says:

    YUMMY! Love the writings about your sweet little doggie. She’s lucky to have you. I have five foster pups from the shelter right now (lab mixes) that are so sweet. I’m enjoying them tons…..Personality PLUS!! Anyway, love that you love your dog so much and that you take care to make sure she’s comfortable. And, of course, love your recipes and BEAUTIFUL photographs!!

  17. Donna says:

    What a great salad idea! Perfect for a summer meal.

  18. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    I am going to get some kale to try this recipe. It looks totally delicious!

  19. Denise-EPL says:

    We are taking this to a potluck today. Have I told you I love you lately because I do. You never cease to amaze me Jen!

  20. Kristin says:

    Made this for lunch and ate what some people might consider an embarrassing amount. But it was delicious! Can’t wait til the next mealtime so I can have more!

  21. thisoldbroad says:

    What a beautiful salad!

    Your photography is spectacular & the real reason I look forward to your posts. From a simple shot of a belly rub to the more technical food prep, nature & eclipse shots & everything in between. I especially love your shots of the sky – whether it’s stars or fireworks. Stunning!

    kaweah looks so happy. What a sweet dog living a great life with great people who love her as much as she loves them. I think that’s doggy heaven.

    Thank you for sharing your world with us strangers.

  22. Ken says:

    Nice Jen! I’m adding this to my summer salad list.

  23. Mrs Ergül says:

    I am still not seeing kale anywhere here. Have been wanting to make some kale chips.

    I love to slice veges and fruits with my ceramic knife because whatever used to turn out don’t anymore. Like apple, eggplant! What a great looking salad!

  24. jenyu says:

    Jennifer – :)

    Pru – I think a substitution would be perfect with almost any of those little dried fruits. That is so funny about the man who liked the biscuits!

    Katrina – thank you!

    Toni – I think everyone in Boulder was there ;)

    johanna – yes, of course! It’s all very flexible which is why it’s awesome.

    Kristin – I hope you liked it!

    Margie – sounds good to me.

    swan – xxoo

    Tracy – I sometimes wonder if anyone would notice if I stopped posting recipes and just posted Kaweah photos? ;) Lucky you to have kale growing in your garden. mmmmm!!

    Barbara – we have several varieties. I wonder what type you have? xo

    Gina – thanks!

    Kalyn – :)

    Lisa Ann – uh, that’s the title of my blog.

    Shut Up & Cook – thanks!

    Jill – thank you!!

    Melanie – you’re very sweet. Thanks for taking car of those foster pups xo

    Donna – it’s lovely.

    Angie – hope you like it!

    Denise – I love you too, sweetie!!

    Kristin – yay!

    thisoldbroad – thank you, you are so kind xo

    Ken – :)

    Mrs. Ergül – that’s odd, none anywhere?

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  27. Olivia says:

    I ate this salad tonight up the top of our local mountain for a picnic celebrating a dear friends birthday. Thank you so much for posting it! It is delicious!

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  30. Monica says:

    The salad looks awesome! Wondering if there is something you would suggest as a substitution for the orange juice as I can’t have oranges? I’m thinkIng I could add a little more lemon with a touch of honey or mango juice. What do you think? Thanks!

  31. jenyu says:

    Monica – yes, you can definitely sub with a different juice. Maybe pineapple or passion fruit or??? Doesn’t have to be orange at all!

  32. Whitney says:

    Was so good. I weep for all future salads that aren’t this one. Thank you, I’m in such a good mood now :D

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  35. Carissa says:

    i haven’t had a chance to make this yet but this is the most amazing looking kale salad I have ever seen! I’ve included you in a round up of the 25 tastiest kale recipes I could find on the interwebs. It lives here:

    Thanks again for the great recipe!

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    used your recipe as inspiration for a kale salad and I linked back to your recipe from my blog! thanks so much for sharing!

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  42. Mary says:

    Sounds amazing! Do u know the nutritional facts. Of this recipe?

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  44. jenyu says:

    Mary – thank you. I’m afraid I don’t have the nutritional values on this recipe, but it should be fairly easy for someone to google and calculate. Enjoy!

  45. Gill says:

    Thanks for very excellent recipe- I was in ‘make-do’ mode, so sub’d lemon juice for orange, raw honey for maple syrup, nut butter (brazil/almond/cashew) for tahini- and added a little apple cider vinegar. Also used mixed seeds instead of nuts- and didn’t have red cabbage- so sort of same-same but different- but delicious!

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  51. Esther says:

    I didn’t have currants so tried it with raisins and an extra avocado. It was absolutely delicious!! Thanks!

  52. Kaja says:

    This is so good! Definitely one of my favorites. Quick and easy to make. Haven’t found dried black currants yet, but raisins work really well :-)

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