Vegan Kale Salad with Sweet Lemon Maple Dressing
So you all know that I’m a bit obsessed with raw kale salads! Come on, let’s just admit that kale rocks. It’s truly the “rock star” of all greens. Not only is kale salad chock full of nutrition, but it’s the only salad that you can make up ahead of time and enjoy for 3 days. Awesome!
This was actually the first kale salad (yes, this was the salad that started my kale obsession) that I posted on the blog, and I’m reposting it today because it’s a great fall salad, and one that I wanted to share with you all again. I discovered this recipe at a vegan cooking class that I took years ago at Cavallo Point with Mikoyo Schinner.
This salad is perfect for those who like a sweeter dressing and salad. The dressing is vegan and made up of tofu (yes, tofu folks) maple syrup (there’s your sweet) and lemon juice. The dressing is super simple to whip up, and very kid friendly. My kids even use the dressing as a dipping sauce. They love to dip apple and cucumber slices into it, making for a great and healthy afternoon snack.
This salad has a totally different flavor than my ALL-TIME favorite kale salad, my lacinato kale salad, which uses lemon, garlic, red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese, but hey, sometimes we have to switch it up a bit. I mean, I can’t serve the same salad all the time (even though I do eat the lacinato one at least 3-4 times a week)! Addicted!
This salad is beautiful in color, with the vibrant reds of the red kale and cranberries, and the greens of the curly kale. It sort of looks a bit like Christmas. I love bringing this salad to a dinner party, because it’s always well received, and can be made ahead in the morning. Kids and adults love this salad, so it’s definitely a crowd pleaser. This salad along with my lacinato kale salad are the perfect “first-time” kale salads to try, and both of these salads have turned kale haters into kale lovers! So, if you like your salad on the sweeter side, then you will love this!
vegan kale salad with sweet lemon maple dressing:
recipe from Artisan Vegan Life
- 1 -2 bunches kale, de-stemmed, and thinly sliced (how much kale you use depends on how large the bunch is) – I used a mixture of lacinato kale and curly kale, or curly kale and red kale – Click here to see step-by-step instructions on how to de-stem and thinly slice kale
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
- 1/2 apple sliced and cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1.5 juicy lemons)
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/8 cup maple syrup, agave or honey – You can use any one of these. I used maple syrup
- 1.5 ounces extra firm tofu – approximately 1/4 cup
Below are the ingredients you will need for the dressing.
First toast up the sliced almonds. I usually toast up a batch of almond ahead of time and just keep them in a sealed container till I need them.
To toast them, just put some sliced raw almonds in a dry skillet set over medium heat, and swirl them around in the pan for a few minutes until they become golden brown in color. Reserve them to the side.
Wash, de-stem and thinly slice the kale, or tear the kale into small pieces if you’re using curly kale. If you’re not sure how to de-stem and slice kale then you can check out my post on how to de-stem and thinly slice kale, or you can watch the beginning part of my lacinato kale salad video for instructions as well. This video has really helped my readers easily understand how to de-stem kale quickly over the sink.
Measure out 1.5 ounces of tofu. I would highly recommend getting one of these portion scales, or a scale in general. I use this all the time when a recipes calls for ounces or grams. If you don’t have this tool, then 1.5 ounces is roughly about 1/4 cup.
Add 1/2 of the dressing to the kale. This next step is a bit strange, but very necessary. Massage the dressing into the kale. Yes, you heard me right, “massage” the dressing into the kale. You literally want to massage the kale with 2 hands making sure to squeeze the kale as you go along, do this step for about 1 minute. The volume of the kale should reduce by about 1/3 and the kale will wilt and have a cooked texture and the bitter taste will go away. Keep adding the dressing to taste as you massage it.
See how much the kale reduced down after it was massaged?
When you’re ready to serve up the salad, mix in your toasted nuts and diced apple.
This salad is filled with raw green goodness, and packed with flavor.