THE BEST KALE SALAD (vegan)

The best part of this salad is that it’s almost too simple to be soooo good. How can it be? I don’t know but y’all it just is. The key to this salad is all in the preparation of the kale. It must be treated with care, massaged with love and I promise you will rewarded with the most tender, fluffy, bright plate of nutrient dense kale you could ever possibly need. I don’t title recipes the best without much careful consideration. I’ve yet to ever post anything with such high praise right there in the title. But with the ample benefits that kale provides in conjunction with the ridiculous taste of this salad- I hereby present to you the BEST KALE SALAD.

I know, I know…a kale salad recipe. What is this 2014? I’m sorry but honestly, I only recently jumped on the kale salad bandwagon. Sure, I’ve been juicing it and pureeing it into oblivion in my smoothies because everyone and their mother knows that kale is a superfood. I don’t live under a kale-less rock!

 

I just never ordered kale salads- it was too rough for me. I always preferred light, kind of sweet spinach. BUT… things changed recently. I visited Kayne Prime in Nashville and was told that the kale salad was a must. Which is sort of confusing—heading to the best steakhouse in Tennessee for a kale salad? Oxymoron much? But who am I to resist what is touted as the BEST KALE SALAD. Well, I’m here to set the record straight. Kayne Prime really does have the best kale salad. Who knew that a salad could be described as….fluffy?

 

I scarfed down this infamous plate of greens back in June and it has taken me multiple tries and some for-sure fails (blanched kale too long, boiled kale, finely shredded kale) before I hit the nail on the head. Now, I can’t tell you my recipe is exactly like Kayne Prime’s because it’s been two months since I had that ridiculous amazing salad but I swear this is SO CLOSE.

 

 If you are still shying away from the oh mighty kale because you think it’s too hearty, too trendy, too tough. WELL. Stop your hesitation and board the kale train because I’m taking you on a ride to kale town baby. Next stop, taste bud heaven!

 

The Best Kale Salad

You need:

  • 1 head kale, destemmed, washed and torn roughly into manageable handfuls
  • ¼ cup good extra virgin olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt (this is to taste- if you’re sensitive to salt go ahead and start with ¼ tsp)
  • ¼ cup heaping raisins
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan

Get cooking:

  1. In a small bowl, add oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt. Whisk until emulsified.
  2. To a large food processor (if you have a smaller food processor, just work in small batches) add 1/3 of the kale. I have a 10 cup Ninja food processor so I find that it works to my advantage to work in batches of three so that the chops are uniform.
  3. Pulse the kale until it has been chopped into small pieces. You’re looking for each piece of kale to be about 1 inch long or smaller. Once all the kale is chopped. Add it to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the dressing over the kale. With clean hands, massage the kale no less than five minutes! You will feel that kale begin to soften at your touch as the acid from the lemon juice and your swift hand technique begins to break down the hearty fibers.  
  5. Don’t stop massaging, 5 full minutes! It’s SO worth it.
  6. Pop the kale salad into the fridge and let it rest for 15-30 minutes.
  7. Add the raisins and vegan parmesan immediately before serving. Toss to incorporate.
  8. Enjoy this heavenly plate of green goodness. Leftovers? This kale salad keeps surprisingly well overnight – the raisins take on a bit of the dressing plump it and the vegan parm disappears a bit. Still fabulous though!