There’s a restaurant in Denver, CO called True Food Kitchen. It’s exactly what the name suggests, they serve real food, from sustainable ingredients. They are a non- GMO facility and their food is mostly local and based on season. Needless to say, it’s a real gem in the Cherry Creek community!
They have a salad on their menu, a shredded kale salad, that is really, really, tasty. It is mostly ordered as a side salad, or before the entree salad, but I believe you can order a meal portion as well. The salad is made with shredded kale, and is tossed with parmesan cheese and a lemon vinaigrette. Seriously, amazing. One of the best kale salads I’ve had in a restaurant hands down. The zest from the lemon hits your tongue almost instantly and the crunch of the kale and saltiness from the cheese leave you wanting more and more. Yum. I’ve seen copycat versions of this salad on the internet and they actually come pretty close to the real deal. But I have my own I’d like to share with you. It’s not exactly like the masterpiece at True Food Kitchen, but let’s just say it’s inspired by it!
First, we need our kale. I say this because there’s so many kinds of kale out there, that picking which one to use for a shredded kale salad is important. Lacinato Kale aka dinosaur kale is my fave for this salad. It gives you the perfect shred. Depending on the size of salad you’re making, you will need anywhere from 2 to 4 bunches of kale. The nice thing about this salad is that your cuts don’t have t be perfect. Shredding your kale can be messy, neat, long ways or short ways, whatever suits you. No one will know!
For contrast, I usually will had some chopped romaine lettuce or baby spinach, to help create a fuller salad, and of course get more greens into it!
After you shred your kale, make your dressing. I use about a tablespoon of olive oil to balance out my balsamic vinegar, a squeeze of agave nectar and juice from 1-2 oranges. Don’t you just love my exact measurements!!?? The amount of dressing you make will depend on the size of salad you have, so the amount is really up to you.
I know True Food Kitchen uses a lemon vinaigrette for their salad, and yes it is yummy, but I find that orange goes better with balsamic vinegar and lemon goes better with rice or apple cider vinegar. Just my taste.
Toss the kale with the dressing and massage it for a good 2 minutes. The acidity from the balsamic vinegar will actually help break down the kale and make it softer to chew.
Now here comes the exciting part to the salad, the cheese/nut crumble. The salad at True Food Kitchen uses parmesean cheese; we are going to make a vegan nut crumble that will mimic the taste of cheese. And we will do that with 3 lovely ingredients: nuts (pecans work best, but walnuts would work well too), nutritional yeast and a touch of olive oil to help bind the two.
Blend them up in your food processor until fine. I got the idea from this kale salad recipe. It’s really simple and adds amazing flavor to the salad.
We are almost done! When ready to serve the salad, top the kale with the cheese/nut crumble and dried craisins, or raisins work really well too. I almost like them better than the craisins myself.
Shredded Kale Salad with Citrus Vinigarette
- 2-4 bunches of lacinato kale
- 1/2 cup craisins or raisins
Cheese Nut Crumble:
- 1 cup of pecans
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 2-3 TBS nutritional yeast
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Juice from 2 oranges
- Squeeze of agaves nectar, or other liquid sweetener
- Shred your kale
- Make your dressing and toss kale, massaging the kale for 2 minutes to soften it up. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
- Make your nut crumble by placing all ingredients into a food processor and grind 15 to 30 seconds. You want the nuts somewhat fine, but still have some texture.
- When ready to serve the salad, top kale with nut crumble and craisins. Enjoy!
NOTE: add dimension that your salad by adding a couple heads of romaine or baby spinach. Do not, however, add the extra greens until ready to serve the salad, as they will get too soggy sitting in the dressing for 3 hours.
Until next time….