How much do you hate kale?
My sweet fella is an avid kale-hater. You know the type. You might even be one yourself. I’ve spent the past several years trying to convince him that kale is a wonderful thing, but I had never seen him get excited about the leafy green unless it was sauteed and slathered in cheese or cooked in bacon fat. Raw kale salads were off the table for him because all of his previous experience with them involved dry, tough leaves akin to chewing paper.
Until now. <<– I bet you knew that was coming.
My Kale-Hater’s Creamy Raspberry Kale Salad is not only super tasty for kale-haters and lovers alike, but it inspired this lunch-time text from my kale-hating fella the following day:
“The kale salad is delicious, which is something I thought I would never say.”
It’s all in the preparation
Friends, this Creamy Raspberry Kale Salad is legit delicious and I’m going to tell you why. It’s all in the preparation.
I get it. I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with carboard kale and I can totally understand why someone would be put off by it when it’s prepared that way. I know so many people who grew up hating Brussels sprouts because they were eating mushy, over-steamed Brussels from a freezer bag instead of eating fresh Brussels that were roasted until they were crunchy little morsels of charred deliciousness. Others who hated eggplant (or aubergine, if you’re fancy) because the person preparing it never properly disgorged the liquid from the vegetable, and what was left was a tough, bitter dish of chewy punishment.
The way you prepare kale completely dictates whether you’re going to eat cardboard or whether you’re going to eat a bowl of super tasty greens worth converting for. This Kale-Hater’s Creamy Raspberry Kale Salad definitely falls into the latter category.
Massage those greens, honey!
The key to taking kale greens from cardboard to delicious is to massage them. I know massaging vegetables sounds a little odd, but trust me on this one. It’s a 2-minute trick that will take all the toughness out of the leaves.
All you need is a little oil, a good-quality salt, and really clean hands. I prefer to use a garlic-infused oil (my favorite can be found at Trader Joe’s), but a good neutral avocado oil or extra-virgin olive oil will work really well too. Simply toss the oil and salt into clean, torn kale greens and massage by hand. Within a few seconds of doing this, you should notice that the kale has already begun to soften. As you massage, the kale will darken in color and become super tender and perfect for eating raw as a salad.
Use those tender greens in a Creamy Raspberry Kale Salad
At this point, you may be tempted to eat the massaged greens straight out of the bowl sans accoutrements, and I wouldn’t judge you a single bit because I’ve done the same thing myself. But I really hope you wait long enough to step this salad up with my creamy, sweet vinaigrette, tart red raspberries, and some crunchy red cabbage because it is seriously SO GOOD.
Because kale and cabbage are both so hearty, this is one of those rare salads that you can dress completely for dinner and still enjoy the next day for lunch without it becoming a soggy mess like regular salad greens. We are a party of two and I make the full recipe specifically because it keeps so well for leftover lunches the following day.
A note for special diets
This Kale-Haters Creamy Raspberry Kale Salad is gluten-free, nightshade-free, and friendly for SIBO diets. If you make this dish sans-feta, it also fits Paleo diets.
Kale-Hater's Creamy Raspberry Kale Salad
Yield 1 large salad
For the salad:
- 2 heads Lacinato kale (about 10 cups), destemmed and roughly chopped
- 3/4 tsp coarse sea salt
- 2 tbsp garlic oil (may sub avocado oil for this step and add in 4 cloves minced garlic after greens are massaged)
- 1/2 head red cabbage (about 4 cups), thinly chopped
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 1 cup fresh raspberries (to top)
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (to top)
For the dressing:
- 5 tbsp mayo (may sub for a thick, plain yogurt)
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp raw honey
For the salad:
- Add kale, sea salt, and garlic oil to a large bowl. Massage by hand for about 2 minutes. The kale should shrink in volume substantially and begin to tenderize.
- Add red cabbage, carrots, green onions, and sunflower seeds. Toss to combine.
- Reserve the raspberries and feta to top the salad with after you've added the dressing.
For the dressing:
- Add mayo, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and raw honey to a medium bowl. Whisk until fully combined.
- Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
- Add the reserved raspberries an feta to the top of the salad and toss very lightly.
Courses Salads & Dressings
Serving Size 1/6 of salad
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value
Total Fat 20 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 24 mg
Sodium 576 mg
Total Carbohydrates 19 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g
Sugars 9 g
Protein 8 g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.