Crunchy, tangy, sweet, and salty… this kale salad with dried cherries and cashews is the perfect summertime dish. We love how the tanginess of the simple lemon and olive oil dressing highlights the earthy flavors of the kale, the sweetness of the cherries, and the salty cashews.
We’ve held off on adding this recipe to our arsenal on the site because it’s such an eyeball-the-ingredients type salad, but at the request of a friend who fell in love with it and asked us to make it 4 times during a recent visit with us (he was vacationing here from Germany for two weeks), we’re finally putting it up.
The tricky thing is that the amount of dressing and toppings vary depending on the size of the bunch of kale you use. If we grab a big head of kale, we add more topping and save some leftovers for lunches, etc or if we grab a smaller bunch of kale, we use less dressing and toppings.
So give yourself permission to go by feel a bit on this recipe and try out your taste-and-adjust skills. This is how some of our best recipes come about… toss some ingredients together, taste, adjust as necessary.
Finally, this is also a great entree salad, topped with grilled chicken, salmon, or for a vegan alternative, quinoa or chickpeas (if you want to bump up the protein). Other alternatives we’ve tried include adding sliced grape tomatoes and roasted and salted almonds.
2 large entree size portions or 4 small portions, depending on the size of the bunch of kale you use.
Prep note: Allow kale to sit with dressing on it for around an hour before serving if possible. This helps to soften the kale.
1 bunch of kale (Lacinato or Dino), washed and dried
2 medium carrots
1 large lemon
Celtic sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1/4 -1/2 cup dried cherries (no sugar added)
1/4-1/2 cashews, roasted and salted
Grilled chicken (optional)
- Hold the kale by the thick stem in one hand, and using the other hand, peel the leaf off of the stem. Discard the stem and stack the leaves.
- Once all of the stems are removed, stack 3-4 kale leaves and roll them into a tight roll. Then, using a large chef’s knife, chiffonade the kale, cutting across the width of the roll so that you get lots of little thin ribbons. In other words, cut across the roll like you would if you were cutting sugar cookies off of a roll of cookie dough.
- Place kale ribbons into a large bowl. Continue to roll and chiffonade the rest of the kale.
- Roll lemon on your cutting board to make it easier to juice and then slice in half. Squeeze lemon halves into a small measuring cup. Fish out the seeds, if any. Now add about olive oil in about a 1:1 ratio, so that you have equal parts lemon juice to olive oil. We like the lemon to be noticeable in the dressing, but if you don’t want quite as much lemon flavor, you can add a little more olive oil than lemon juice. Now add 2 teaspoons of agave nectar and a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk dressing with a fork and taste. Add a little more agave or another pinch of salt if necessary.
- Pour about 1/2 salad dressing over kale. Using your other hand, toss and massage the dressing into the kale. Kale should be evenly coated, add more dressing if necessary.
- Peel the carrots and using a grater, grate the carrots into thin strips. Add to kale mixture and toss.
- Now set the salad aside to let the dressing soften the kale. We usually try to let it sit for an hour before serving.
- Just prior to serving, add cashews and dried cherries.