Best Shredded Kale Salad in the Land *recipe*

The kale situation is slightly out of control here at our place. That would be, that is, at our Old Depot Farm. Lunacy International. Eccentricity Hill. Atrophy Place. Whatever you may choose to call our tiny farm. The kale is going . . . cray-cray.

I sell armloads of baby kale to fancy restaurants in the city, but the kale growth in my hoop house is outgrowing the restaurant demand at the moment, so I have the happy office of finding out how to trick my family into eating prepare this super-wildly-nutritious green as often as possible. Anybody who reads anything about nutrition knows that one of the top recommendations of Nutrition People Who Know Things is that nobody anywhere in America (or anyplace else, probably, except for maybe Japan) eats as many fresh green leafy vegetables as they ought to.

Your body, dear Gentle Reader, is probably at this very moment screaming out for more leafy greens. You’re possibly not hearing it because you are chewing that second donut rather loudly. 😉

Even we, here in the Valley of Overwhelm, sometimes opt for tater tots potatoes with our meals rather than leafy greens, just because they are in the freezer in a bag so easy to prepare (*cough*).

I am trying to lose a few pounds. I suspect that that seems off-point, but it’s not. I think, in a perfect world, I’d wake up craving leafy greens, not the rest of that excellent hazelnut chocolate bar that my friend Jo gave me the week that my hoop house blew all to shreds.

It was and is consoling, that chocolate, but I haven’t finished it. A perfect food in an imperfect world is something to treasure and eat very slowly, “with long teeth,” as my kids and I say. In my savoring of this excellent gift, I’ve eaten just a tiny chunk here and a little bite there. It is so rich and tasty and calorie-rich, that I can’t eat it all in one sitting. Well. I could, if I didn’t care what size jeans I wear. But I do. Plus, you may recall that I’m trying to lose a few pounds. (Thank you very much, Jo, for not not helping me one wit, in this endeavour. 😉 )

But here’s the thing: if there’s one way to prepare kale that will make it crave-worthy, THIS SALAD IS IT. Honest. Totally serious. And, as you can see, I’m not trying to sell you a thing. Especially you will be craving it (I will venture) if you make it out of baby kale, which has a milder, sweeter taste and less of a scratchy texture, too.

I wrote not long ago about how to grow baby kale for fun and profit. And here’s another thing: if you take care of the soil in your garden (you know how to do this, right? Gosh, it would be super-handy if I had a link here, to one of my own thoughtfully-written blog posts, wouldn’t it?) your soil will reward you. The soil in my hoop house is very pleased with my building it up with manure, and organic matter, and doing the aeration thing, and all the rest, and so everything in there grows like there is no tomorrow!

That, of course, includes the roughly half-acre of kale in that pampered spot.

I was especially tickled to taste this winner of a kale salad at our Ponca family camp-out, just last fall. We take turns with the meals at these rustic, lavish eating fests camp-outs. My brother Matt and his lovely wife Paula had put out a spread that was absolutely delicious, I remember it clearly.  Well . . . what I remember the most was . . . this kale salad. Honestly, as tasty as the rest of the meal was, I don’t remember the main course . . . sorry, Paula . . . 😉

I think they called it “Kale Slaw” but I have never liked the word “slaw” . . . have you? It’s just so . . . so . . . abbreviated. Silly-sounding. Insipid. Lacking. Don’t you agree: Slaw. SLAW. Slaaaaawwww.

The thing is . . . if you are going to have yourself some coleslaw, have yourself some coleslaw! But if you are going to have yourself some coleslaw, don’t call it slaw. 

Thank you for your cooperation on this touchy matter. Let’s clean up our language as best we can, hmm? Hey. Let’s start a movement. Or a coalition. Yeah. I’ve always wanted to head up a coalition. The Coalition to Eliminate the Silly Word “Slaw.” That would totally be worth our time, wouldn’t it? The CTETSW”S” is what we would have embroidered on our matching polo shirts. It’s such an easy acronym to remember, too! Awesome!

And this wonderful salad–never, ever referred to as “slaw”–could be our signature dish.

I’ll call this wonderful salad by a wonderful name. 🙂

Best Shredded Kale Salad in the Land!


2    cups shredded kale, tough stems removed
2    cups shredded green (or red) cabbage
¼   cup dried cranberries
1    tablespoon toasted pepitas (Spanish pumpkin seeds) or sunflower seeds*

Seed Dressing:
2  Tablespoons toasted pepitas (or sunflower seeds, for the similarly cheapos like me)
2   Tablespoons water
2-3  Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/3  cup extra virgin olive oil
1   Tablespoon raw honey or maple syrup
1  Tablespoon dijon mustard
pinch of salt
freshly ground black pepper

*I am usually too cheap to buy pepitas, except on very special occasions. I found–because of this inherent tightwaddery–that sunflower seeds are just as crunchy and tasty as the pepitas, without the hit to the pocketbook, either. 🙂

and super-simple Directions: Put all the dressing ingredients into a blender and blend until combined, into a smooth and creamy consistency.

Put shredded kale, cabbage, and cranberries into a large bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Several hours is even better. Right before serving, sprinkle the salad with the remaining toasted pepitas (or sunflower seeds).

YUM! Now you are craving kale salad, aren’t you?

BY THE WAY . . . I am working on my new ebook . . . I won’t tell you all the particulars yet, but it has to do with chickens . . . and it’s nearly finished. 🙂 I am doing an inward happy dance right now, just savoring the idea of sharing it with you. My launch date (I chose it out of a hat) is JUNE 12th. There. I’ve said it. Now it has to happen, right?

Now I’m going to go back and finish that bowl of shredded kale salad. 🙂 Yum.

I actually am craving it.


14 thoughts on “Best Shredded Kale Salad in the Land *recipe*

  1. William

    It is a great sounding salad but I think you might have failed to mention just how healthy and free of unwanted, unneeded junk the salad dressing is. That is a great looking dressing which I am sure I can use on many different salads, some may include kale. We didn’t grow any this year – yet, I am still working on my herb garden as well as my tomato patch. Next April when we visit, I do need to get some Heirloom seeds from you. I am looking forward to your book as a gift for my chicken lady. She is venturing into turkeys as well. My problem is that she has such a nice egg business that there is soldom any for me to enjoy. Oh well………

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      William, I did fail to mention that, and also to credit the original source of that fine recipe! I am going to go back into that post and do that. Your chicken and egg lady–I have met her, and she is such a fine sport that I would guess that she would save you the best eggs, if you asked her to: the biggest ones, the double-yolks, etc. ESPECIALLY if you promised her something really delicious made out of them—quiche, a big hot breakfast, or some fancy-schmancy dish that you could whip up without a second thought. 🙂

  2. gene

    Amy – nice job extolling the virtues of kale. I think you know most of this, but until 7-8 years ago my kale growing consisted of maybe one 6 foot row of only one variety, and that was only because my Danish paternal grandmother and my English/German mother insisted that we six kids (my sibs and I) eat it because it was “good for us.” We basically hated it, but did as we were told because good rural kids did as they were told 60 years ago. (We also ate dandelion greens for three weeks every spring for the same reason! We didn’t like those much either!)

    Little did I know (or dream) that in the second decade of this century that I would grow 15-20 varieties of kale year round, that it would be my best selling product, and that it would largely replace lettuce in the daily salads we prepare at home. I believe that this food fad will have long legs since many people are just beginning to discover the many different varieties and how much different baby kale is from the huge leaves available in grocery stores. (I think I see ten different varieties in your photo.)

    Note to your older readers: Both my GP and my cardiologist love it that I eat kale nearly every day. I take zero maintenance drugs now, and ten years ago I took three nasty and expensive meds every day.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Thanks for your valuable comment. Yup, food is great medicine if you pick the right food (i.e. not Twinkies)!! I have you to thank, dear mentor, for teaching me about the wonders of baby kale. My relationship with kale will never be the same, and maybe I’ll never have to take maintenance drugs, myself. I hope I can grow it year-round!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Um….Rose, that is a tough question! I plant about six varieties right now–I like to have some of each–but I suppose my favorite is the flat kale, or Raggedy Jack-I like the way it looks, tastes, and I love the green-to-purple coloration. 🙂 It’s all about the looks for me, ya know!! 😉

  3. Kay

    I, too, love kale. However my (must have been too old) seed did not germinate this spring. Not one! And my ever-so-cute baby spinach decided to hit puberty too soon and went to seed. :\ What’s a farmer’s wife to do?? Replant and hope for a late heat wave. My question, dear hoop house lady, is how do you keep those irritating green worms off your kale??!!! I like my protein and all, but really! TIA

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Dear friend, I have written a fairly comprehensive post on the topic:
      but cabbage moths are a real persistent pest–worldwide!! All the things you can do to thwart them take TIME. Nowadays–with time in short supply around here!–I just try to avoid them. One way you can avoid them is to plant your kale very intensely, and just pick the leaves while they are small. This practice doesn’t give the cabbage worms much time to do their damage. I wrote a post about that, too! Works for me!!

  4. Kokua Guy

    So why the name vomiting chicken? Should l imagine a rooster with dry heaves? Or the victim of salmonella poisoning? You seem so nice.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Kokua Guy, I AM nice. Check out my home page, and you’ll see the story under the tap “Why ‘Vomiting Chicken’?” I don’t see how mentioning an earthy thing like a chicken vomiting makes me less nice. Somebody has to take care of a sick chicken, so why not me?

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