Craving salads which is good to balance out all the fresh homemade sourdough, which has meant a lot of toast nights and bread in general, and fresh pasta. Oh and my constant pretzel and peanut butter cravings. Salads and all the fresh veggies have been in the rotation too big time. While craving salads isn’t anything new, craving a salad like this Creamy Kale Salad is. I’m not a fan of dressings as you may know if you are a regular reader but I had a salad on my mind from our trip to Napa last month and had to teak and recreate so I whipped up this delicious Creamy Kale Salad! So good it may have happened a few times recently and one I was hoping to get photographed only weather and lighting was not my friend. Maybe that’s a good thing because that version had fresh homemade sourdough croutons instead of hemp seeds. Great for entertaining or a nice dinner but this healthier version has been more of a repeat for lunch.
So I will note that this salad takes a little more planning ahead and prep compared to most of my throw together salads but it’s well worth it! Not really time involved but just you can’t go to the kitchen and whip it up. The biggest thing is soaking cashews ahead of time for the dressing, which only takes minutes to whip up after the cashews are soaked. You will also need to pickle onions, which only requires boiling water, cutting an onion, and throwing everything together in a jar and letting sit for an hour. The pickled onions can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. Both of these will make enough for a couple batches of salad, or can be used for a number of things or other salads. Last you will need to roast tomatoes, again so worth it for the flavor it adds.
What else is in this salad? So much flavor! Chopped kale, I like Tuscan Kale, dressed with creamy cashew dressing (dairy free, vegan), grapefruit, roasted tomatoes, pickled red onions, coconut bacon, and optional hemp seeds! Oh wait there is not only that balance of sweet, tart, salty flavors but so much texture. Like I said I’m not a huge dressing person, usually just a balsamic or light vinaigrette, but even though it’s a creamy dressing it isn’t heavy and I add just enough to lightly coat the kale before adding the rest of the ingredients. It also helps the hemp seeds stick to it. If you are making this for a nice dinner in or a party you can make it as is or omit the hemp seeds and add homemade croutons. When making those I like to take big chunks of homemade sourdough, lightly coat them with extra virgin olive oil, and bake them until they are nice and toasty on the outside but still chewy on the inside. I can do crunchy and soft homemade croutons that are fresh but when it comes to the hard toasty ones and croutons in general I usually pass as I’m not a fan. The girls like croutons though, but love homemade, so it’s nice on occasion. Sometimes there’s nothing better then a nice salad and a glass of wine on the patio. Can you tell I’m ready for summer?
If you’re looking to add more salads in there is no better day then Monday, Meatless Monday! I say this because I often find that Monday sets the tone for the week and starting with a nice salad might do just that. It’s also Meatless Monday. If you’re looking for inspiration you’ve come to the right place! My co-host Deborah and I have a pretty inspiring Meatless Monday link-up, check out other meatless recipe creations below. Have a favorite join the fun and link up below!
Creamy Kale Salad
Makes 4 servings
15oz chopped kale (Trader Joe’s Organic Tuscan Kale)
8 roasted Campari tomatoes, see below
1/2c pickled onions, see below
1/4c coconut bacon bits (Organic Matters Coconut Bacon Bits)
Creamy Cashew Dressing, below
1/4c hemp seeds, optional (Navitas Naturals)
Pickled Red Onion
Makes 1-2 cups depending on the size of your onion
1 medium red onion peeled, cut in half and sliced
1c rice or white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 TBSP sugar
Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the mean time in a glass jar with a tight lid shake together vinegar, sugar, and garlic. Slice onions and place in a strainer. Pour boiling water over the onions. Place blanched onions into the jar with vinegar and shake. If you want to enjoy these right away let sit on the counter for one hour, storing the remaining onions in the refrigerator. Otherwise place in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
8 Campari tomatoes
3-4 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1-2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
2 tsp coconut palm sugar
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Cut tomatoes in quarters, lay on rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Creamy Cashew Dressing
Makes 1/2-2/3 cup
1/2c raw unsalted cashews, soaked 4 hours or overnight
1 clove garlic, grated
1 TBSP tahini
1 TBSP lemon juice
2-3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
3-4 TBSP water
sea salt and pepper to taste
Rinse and drain soaked cashews. In a Vitamix, or high-speed blender, blend cashews, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of vinegar, and 3 tablespoons of water until smooth. Taste and add more vinegar if desired and sea salt and pepper to taste. After adding in more vinegar if desired add water as needed to make creamy and reach desired consistency. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to a week.
Start by making the Creamy Cashew Dressing, Pickled Red Onions, and Roasted Tomatoes. Remove peel from grapefruits, either cutting off and cutting out segments and cutting in half, or remove peel and tear our each segment as if you were going to eat them and cut each segment in half. Or you can leave the peel on and slice the grapefruit in half horizontally and remove grapefruit with a grapefruit knife and spoon. Set segments aside. In a large bowl, or individual bowls, toss chopped kale with just enough Creamy Cashew Dressing to lightly coat (doesn’t have to be fully coated just some on each piece). Toss coated greens with grapefruit segment, roasted tomatoes, and optional hemp seeds. Top with the coconut bacon and serve with additional dressing on the side to pass if desired. Enjoy!
This Creamy Kale Salad has me craving salad! #vegan #glutenfree #fitfam #wholefoods Click To Tweet
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