Is it just me or do you tend to eat more salads during the summer months? I don’t know if it’s because it’s swimsuit season or if the blistering hot summer months lend themselves to lighter fare, but all I know is during the summer, my consumption of salads drastically increases. My go-to salad for years has been this delicious super tangy kale salad. I ate this salad for years when I lived in Florida, but when I moved to Alabama, I was unable to find my go-to salad dressing. Sad day!! Once summer rolled around, I started craving this salad, but this time, with a home made salad dressing that tastes a lot like my fave from the store. The oil and apple cider vinegar in the dressing help to wilt the kale leaves down, and the longer the kale marinates, the better it tastes. This salad is Paleo and can be made Keto-friendly by simply omitting the raisins.
Dressing: My go-to dressing was Cindy’s Kitchen Barcelona Vinaigrette! It’s my favorite dressing EVER but I haven’t been able to find it in my neck of the woods. My remake is pretty much exactly like the original except I use avocado oil instead of sunflower oil. Avocado oil is practically tasteless and it has more Omega-3s than sunflower oil that’s loaded with Omega-6. Omega-6s aren’t necessarily “bad” but in the standard American diet, we already get a ton of Omega-6s, and are generally lacking in Omega 3s, BUT if you would rather use sunflower oil, go for it!
Trail Mix: I also used to use a trail mix blend that I got from the bulk bins at Whole Food, however, they discontinued it. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to make. It was called the “Antioxidant Trail Mix,” and it contained walnuts, almonds, raisins, and goji berries. This mix tastes incredible on it’s own or topped on salads. I just buy each item individually to top the salad with since it’s no longer sold in bulk. You don’t need much-just a handful for the entire salad.
Protein: My go-to was the garlic-rosemary grilled chicken from the prepared foods section of Whole Foods. As with everything with this salad, the chicken started to be a hit or miss whether Whole Foods would carry it or not. I just started topping it with whatever chicken we had on hand. So, cook you up some chicken (or any protein) and throw it on top. I topped mine with my air-fryer pecan crusted chicken (recipe coming soon! 😉
Here’s how to make the salad:
Remove kale from stems. The stems are bitter and don’t taste great-you’ll definitely want to remove them. I like to tear the leaves into smaller bites, but that’s personal preference.
Next, make the dressing:
1/3 cup avocado oil
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp cracked black pepper
½ tsp sea salt
Whisk all ingredients together and pour over the kale leaves.
MOST IMPORTANT STEP: Let the leaves marinate in the dressing AT LEAST for a few hours! I like to dress the kale the night before and have it for lunch. Kale is a really sturdy leaf and the longer it marinates the tastier and more tender it will be. It won’t be soggy, PROMISE!
When you’re ready to eat, just top the marinated kale with the trail mix, protein of choice, and I always add nutritional yeast. The saltiness of the nutritional yeast and the sweetness of the trail mix will help to balance out the tanginess of the salad. Sometimes, I’ll even add some avocado for another texture and added fat.
Hope you enjoy this salad just as much as I do!