I've loved kale since before pre-k.

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I’ve loved kale since before pre-k.

Ok, not really, but wouldn’t that fit in nicely with that Macklemore song? Come on, you know the one.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Macklemore. I just can’t stop listening to him. Oh, and Ed Sheeran. Both of them have been on repeat lately, especially as I’ve been driving or cooking or doing paperwork or lounging. (So I guess that’s always…) I realize I’m a tad late on these musical trends, but I really just can’t get enough.

Incidentally, I have a friend who is married to Macklemore. Ok, maybe not the Macklemore himself, but to a man who looks so identical to Macklemore that I literally do a double take every time I see Macklemore on T.V.

I wonder if my dear friends have ever tried to get VIP service by acting as Macklemore at a bar. It could totally work, just as long as he shows up in some really cool shoes and some gold chains.  I’m going to ask if they’ve done this before, I’ll let you guys know. (P.S. Hi Kathy and Carl!) 

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But back to the kale. As many of you know, I’ve been loving on kale for quite a long time now. I jumped on that kale train bandwagon and never really looked back. I started with baked kale chips, then eventually bought a dehydrator to make raw kale chips. One of my first blog posts ever was how to make 7 varieties of kale chips, and I even have converted my family to kale chips lovers and connoisseurs. Last month, I surprised my uncle with a dehydrator of his own, so he could, you guessed it, make kale chips to his liking.

Thanks to the popular kale trend, I think kale is a common staple in most homes and at farmers markets, and the nuances of kale are even starting to gain awareness as different variations of kale emerge into the leafy-green spotlight. Once, I had a 5 year old tell me that the best kind of kale was “obviously, dinosaur kale”.  Obviously. Of course (How could I be so ignorant?)

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Kale is a bitter green, which can take some getting used to. Cooking kale takes some of the bitterness away, but if you’re sensitive to bitter flavors, eating raw kale can be a bit of a challenge. If you’re still on the fence about kale, and don’t want a bitter taste, I suggest trying out Tuscan Kale. Tuscan Kale is a beautiful dark hunter green in color, and leave are flatter and narrower than other kale varieties. It is less bitter in taste, and is an excellent base for a green salad, especially when you want a break from the typical salad greens we all know so well.  

The kale salad I have provided you all in this post uses the Tuscan Kale variety. In instances when I haven’t been able to find Tuscan Kale, I have used regular (curly) kale, and it still works, it just doesn’t taste as delectable. I’ve been making this recipe for years, and it is one of my all time favorite salads. I regularly rely upon it as a go-to salad for when I need to bring a dish to a gathering or potluck, and it always, always gets rave review and request for the recipe. (Perfect for this Thanksgiving and Christmas, no? Bonus points because kale is in season in the cooler temperatures.)

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This kale salad is originally from Smitten Kitchen, which I think is one of the best food blogs out there. Deb Perelman, the writer behind the blog, has impeccable taste and writing style, and after all these years of diligently following her, I really feel like I know her. (Which of course I don’t…but isn’t that the mark of a good blogger?)  Smitten Kitchen is not a Paleo blog, but really, her writing, cooking, and photos are outstanding. Her cookbook, Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, is phenomenal as well, both a tribute to the culinary arts and food photography, so I highly recommend anything that comes out of that kitchen.

Since Smitten Kitchen is not paleo, the original kale salad is not primal friendly. No worries though, I’ve recreated it here, and swapped out ingredients for paleo ones, so you can enjoy it sans guilt and in full confidence that you’re enjoying your kale with as many health benefits as possible.


smitten kitchen kale salad (made paleo)

Original Smitten Kitchen Recipe here

Makes 4 side salads or 2 entree salads

  • ½ cup walnut halves or pieces
  • ¼ cup golden raisins
  • 1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • ½ cup cashew flour
  • 1 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • Juice from ½ large lemon
  • Himalayan pink sea salt, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For raisins:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine white wine vinegar, water, and raisins on low heat for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat when plump, and set aside.

Prepare “bread crumbs”:

  1. In a saucepan, add garlic and 2 tsp. of the olive oil. On low-medium heat, brown garlic and then add cashew flour. Toast on medium heat until slightly browned, then remove and set aside.

Prepare kale:

  1. Remove ribs from kale. Stack sections of leaves on top of one another and then roll into a tube. Cut tubes lengthwise to create kale ribbons.

Assemble salad:

  1. Place kale, “bread crumbs”, raisins, walnuts, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in a large bowl. Toss until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. Add crushed red pepper, salt, and ground pepper to taste.
  2. Serve and eat immediately.