Mix things up with this Thai Kale Salad and say goodbye to boring salads.
Bye-bye boring salads…helllloooooo super sexy kale salad with serious health benefits
Normally you wouldn’t find the words ‘kale’ and ‘sexy’ in the same sentence but we think it’s time to change that. Kale is king when it comes to leafy greens because it’s loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, convenience and versatility.
Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods you can get your hands on. Just 1 cup (2 1/2 ounces) provides¹:
- Vitamin K: 547 mcg (684% of the RDA*)
- Vitamin A: 10,302 IU as beta-carotene (260% of the RDA)
- Vitamin C: 80 mg (134% of the RDA)
- Calcium: 91 mg (5% of the RDA)
- Manganese: 0.5 mg (26% of the RDA)
- Also a good source of magnesium, iron, copper, potassium and phosphorus
- Plus 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein per cup
*Recommended Daily Allowance
Chomp, chomp and more chomp
Kale is a hearty leafy green and member of the cabbage family – cousin to other cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It’s thick, fibrous leaves can range from green to purple and be curly or relatively smooth. It’s hearty texture lends itself well to sautéing, steaming, adding to soups and braises, juicing and blending into green smoothies.
However, if you’ve even eaten kale in its raw state you’ll know that it’s hearty texture does not lend itself well to chewing. The chewing! So much chewing that your jaws ache and you start to wonder if you’ll ever finish your salad before lunch time is over.
That’s why we massage our kale. Adding a bit of salt and a quick massage with your hands causes the leaves to soften and turn a vibrant green while making them sweeter and easier to chew and digest. In this post we shared 5 ways to naturally improve your digestion – one of them being chewing because this my friends, is where it all starts. Chewing physically breaks food into smaller bits so enzymes in your saliva and stomach have more surface area to act upon. Massaging the kale with sea salt starts the process for you so you can enjoy more flavor with less chewing. Kale yeah!
A party in a bowl
There are so many colors, textures and flavors going on in this Thai Kale Salad that it’s like having a party in a bowl with every bite offering something new and exciting. And it’s so beautiful too. Like being at the fanciest cocktail party you can image surrounded by fabulously interesting people – only it’s the healthy food equivalent and doesn’t require you to wear heels. Who needs fancy parties when you’ve got a massaged Thai kale salad like this?
If you’re not sold on kale (yet) we don’t want to see you sulking in the corner. Just whip up the intensely flavorful Ginger-Lemongrass Vinaigrette and toss your toppings with 4-5 cups of fresh spinach of leafy greens of choice. We know that kale isn’t for everyone but that’s no reason not to kick of your shoes and let your taste buds do the dancing.
Speaking of kale not being for everyone… if you have a thyroid condition, consuming raw kale in moderate amounts (as in a serving of this salad) shouldn’t pose a health threat despite the goitrogenic compounds found in kale and other cruciferous vegetables. If you’re a big fan of the kale though, you’ll want to consider consuming most of your kale in its cooked form and avoiding its use in super concentrated smoothies or juices and save your raw kale for when it counts – like this salad.
Not convinced about the massaging part? Check out this video to see how it’s done.
That was easy, huh? Grab yourself some kale and get massaging. Your healthy kale salad party awaits you.
Don’t forget to Pin it for later!
Now that you know the key to a killer kale salad, it’s time to try your hand at this Thai Kale Salad with Ginger-Lemongrass Vinaigrette and get the party started!
- 3 Tbsp. avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 ½ Tbsp. coconut aminos
- 1 Tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
- 1 tsp. minced fresh ginger (or ½ tsp. ground ginger)
- 1 large clove garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 ½ tsp. lemongrass paste (found in the produce section; may substitute 2 tsp. lime juice)
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 6 cups kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 small carrots (~1/2 cup), peeled and shredded or julienned
- 1/2 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 bell pepper (red or yellow), thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup sugar snap peas, thinly sliced or chopped
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1/4 cup cashews, chopped
- Lime wedges for garnish
- Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Set aside.
- Place kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. Using your hands, massage the kale with a kneading motion until leaves start to wilt and become slightly shiny or wet-looking (about 3-5 minutes).
- Add carrots through cilantro then pour dressing over all. Toss to combine.
- Garnish with chopped cashews just before serving. Serve with lime wedges.
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- Serving Size: 1/4th recipe
- Calories: 190
- Sugar: 2g
- Sodium: 247mg
- Fat: 14g
- Carbohydrates: 15g
- Fiber: 6g
- Protein: 4g
- Nutrition Facts for Kale, Raw. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2016, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2
What’s your favorite way to eat kale? Tell us about it in the comments so we can keep the kale party going!
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