Salads are one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen. First, there’s the obvious gratification of feeling healthy after eating a salad (which for some odd reason doesn’t happen after I eat cream puffs or chocolate mousse). The second reason I love making salads is that it’s an easy, low-risk way to be creative in the kitchen. When you’re baking, you can’t exactly say, Hmm, how about I throw in a few more eggs or some extra whole wheat flour? With salads, throwing in a little bit of this and that is the name of the game.
Another plus with making salads is that you get to play the part of artist, where color, shape and texture come from ordinary foods. Just check out the colors in this salad—the vibrant hues of purple and orange juxtaposed against a backdrop of green are positively fun and playful. And that’s only considering the salad’s visual appeal. Take a bite and your taste buds will confirm what your eyes suspected: There’s a whole lot of delicious going on between the crunchy cabbage, tart lime, piquant pepper, creamy avocado, sweet orange, and salty pepitas. (I do love me some adjectives!)
And let’s not forget the kale, the very foundation upon which this salad rests. Kale is my go-to antidote for any Quick! Get me some leafy greens! moments. I don’t mind eating raw kale, as in this other salad, but I know some people find kale’s texture a little tough to handle in a raw salad. Enter mixed baby kales, the newest member of the organic, boxed, pre-washed salad greens family. Baby kale is tender and kind of cute, a mini-me version of hearty Dino Kale and Curly Kale, and I’m convinced it will appease—nay, win over—the raw kale opposition party. With that I say, welcome to the salad bowl, baby kale!
This recipe was inspired by the Rainbow Kale Slaw and Kale, Carrot and Avocado Salad from the Whole Foods Recipes app.
Serves 2 (or one very hungry salad eater)
3 cups mixed baby kale
2 cups shredded red cabbage
1 carrot, shredded
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 handful cilantro, chopped
1 orange, sectioned and cut into chunks
1 lime, juiced
1”-piece of serrano pepper, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
a handful of pepitas (roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds), to garnish
Make the Kale, Carrot and Cabbage Salad
Combine the kale, cabbage, carrot, green onion, cilantro, and orange chunks in a very large salad bowl. If you use a bowl that is bigger than you need, it’s easier to toss the salad and incorporate the dressing.
In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, serrano pepper and salt and pepper to taste. Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, and slice the flesh into cubes. (This video demonstrates how to cut an avocado.) Add the cubed avocado to the bowl and thoroughly coat with the dressing, which will prevent the avocado from browning. Pour the dressing and avocado over the salad greens. Using salad tongs, toss the salad to fully coat the leaves with dressing. Garnish with pepitas and serve immediately.