If I could be a salad, I'd choose to be this one. With massaged kale, toasted almonds, dried cherries, a grain such as quinoa, feta and avocado, it's the ideal hearty, crave-worthy salad meal. Every taste and texture you want is in here; sweet, sour, salty, bitter, chewy, crunchy, and creamy. And it's the perfect recipe to prep ahead and have on hand for a savory breakfast, lunch on the go, or an all-in-one greens & grain side for dinner. For larger appetites at breakfast or lunch, feel free to top with a soft-boiled eggs, seared tempeh, or stuff the salad in a wrap with hummus.
The best part about this salad though is how quickly it comes together. It was inspired by the kale salad at the Whole Foods salad bar. But honestly it can be made in less time than it takes to drive to Whole Foods and pick it up. Aside from the simple, short ingredient list, my secret is planning to make this when I already have a cooked grain in the fridge. Or just as good for those busy weeknights is getting help from the store, using either the frozen cooked quinoa or brown rice or the pre-cooked grain blends that come in a package to be heated in water on the stovetop or in a microwave. Easy peasy.
This hits the spot for the fall/Indian summer we're enjoying in Sausalito and the Bay Area. It would also be a beautiful addition to a holiday meal in the coming months. One thing I know for sure -- I'm doubling the recipe next time I make it because it's just so good.
Lemony Avocado Kale Salad
Serves 3-4 (depending on use)
Notes: Recipe calls for cooked grains. For the ultimate quick weeknight meal, take help from the store. Use the cooked quinoa or brown rice sold in the freezer section or the grain blends that can be warmed directly in their packaging in water on the stovetop or in the microwave. Pictured here is a packaged grain lentil blend.
1 bunch curly kale, destemmed
Juice from 1-1 1/2 large, juicy lemon(s)
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups (280 gr.) cooked grains (quinoa, brown rice, lentils, barley, farro)
Large handful feta, crumbled
Handful dried cherries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (60 gr) slivered almonds, toasted
1 large avocado, diced
Stack destemmed kale leaves, roll up like a cigar, and finely chop. Place in a large, deep mixing bowl along with lemon, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Massage firmly with your fingers until kale softens This takes 30-60 seconds.
Add cooked grains, feta, cherries, almonds and avocado. Toss gently. Taste and adjust for acidity and salt, if needed.