Creamy Avocado Kale Salad
This kale salad is covered in a creamy avocado dressing- with no special equipment needed! It can be topped with whatever crunchy vegetables you have on hand, making it a quick, flexible salad.
At my favorite grocery store they sell packs of 4 avocados that need to be sold day-of for just 2 euros! This was a very exciting discovery for me. However, it also means major avocado roulette.
What I mean is that when I reach to cut open an avocado, I feel this tangible nervous energy. I’m wondering if it’s going to be a beautiful, firm avocado, surely an indication of expert discernment at the grocery store, or if it will be brown with strange veins going through it, which can only be chalked up to bad luck.
Being the optimist that I am, I realized I need to have a few recipes in my repertoire so that brown avocados aren’t as disappointing. And so this salad was born! While of course you can make this salad with a beautiful, perfect avocado, I highly recommend using your squishy, are these still good? avocados.
The beauty of a kale salad
The year I was student teaching, my cooperating teacher introduced me to the beauty of kale. She made a kale salad- massaged in olive oil and lemon, sprinkled with cheese, salt, pepper and almonds and viola, my life changed. (There’s another recipe for you to try!)
Make sure your kale is mostly dry before you massage it with oil. If the kale is too wet, the oil will not absorb and the texture of your kale will be unchanged.
Massaging kale with a little bit of olive oil and citrus really is worth the extra step. It helps break down the tough structure making a more pleasant eating experience. When I tested this recipe, it made a big difference in the final results. If you are pressed for time and want to skip that part, you can just add the extra oil to the dressing. I did this the first time I made it and while the salad was still delicious, the dressing clumped a bit more rather than evenly coating the kale.
My last plug for massaging the kale is this: it takes about 3-4 minutes extra and gives us a little time for mindfulness. I get similar joy from massaging kale as I do rolling out a pie crust or kneading dough. And it’s not just me! Even though the quote below is about bread making during this pandemic, it rings true about massaging kale as well.
The tactile task is like a kitchen meditation; while our body is busy, our minds have room to relax, regroup and refocus. -Louise Johnson
Why choose kale?
It has fiber, calcium, vitamin A, C & K, along with other helpful vitamins and minerals. Plus the vegetables that top this salad add even more fiber and vitamin C, to name just two of the many helpful nutrients.
What to put on top?
I topped this salad with a bunch of crunchy vegetables. It makes it fresh and pairs well with the creaminess of the avocado dressing. The lime brightens the whole salad and keeps it light.
That being said, feel free to improvise with whatever you have. For example, I think peppers would be a great addition. Want to make it more filling? Make the same base salad and dressing, but instead top it with corn, black beans and tomatoes.
Let me know what combinations you come up with! After all, this salad was the result of a less-than-perfect avocado combined with the last of the produce that needed to be used up. And if after all this you find yourself asking, “Emma, isn’t this just guacamole on kale?” I suppose I would respond, “Is there anything wrong with that?”
Creamy Avocado Kale Salad
- 5-6 cups kale washed, hard spines removed
- 1 avocado medium-large (use 2 if small)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1/2 lime quartered & divided, about 1 Tablespoon of juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1-2 Tablespoons water as needed
Prepare the kale
- Remove the leafy part of the kale from the thick spine and discard the spines. Shred or cut the remaining kale into your desired bite size pieces. I do this with my hands. Wash and let dry completely or blot with a clean kitchen towel. Transfer to a bowl.
- Drizzle 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and about 1/2 teaspoon of lime juice onto the kale and massage into the leaves until it starts to change color and soften the structure- about 3-4 minutes.
Make the dressing
- Cut open and remove the avocado flesh into a small bowl. Start mashing it with a fork or spoon, adding a pinch of salt and pepper along the way. Then add the remaining lime juice and olive oil, about 1 Tablespoon of each, mixing until combined. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of water to reach your desired consistency. The end result is neither clumpy nor pourable, but somewhere in between.
- Top the kale salad with the dressing and mix thoroughly until every leaf is covered. Add your toppings and finish with the remaining drops of lime juice, if there are any!
- If you are short on time and skip the kale massaging, add the olive oil to the dressing instead.
- Want it even creamier? You can replace the water with yogurt or kefir to get your desired consistency.
- I topped it with crunchy vegetables, but going southwest with corn, beans and cheese would also be delicious!