I definitely have more fun making things in my kitchen when I have a “kitchen buddy.” Making this salad is no exception. My daughter, Madison (the tall, beautiful girl in the picture above with me), and I share a passion for this fresh, homemade, kale salad. It’s something that we make almost weekly in our home. By the way, Madison is a personal trainer and writes great health & wellness content on her blog, The Fit Flamingo. Be sure to check her out!
I was first inspired to make this kale salad several years ago from Dr. Andrew Weil, and I’ve been making it ever since. One of my favorite restaurants that Dr. Weil opened here in Dallas is True Food Kitchen. They serve his kale salad and I order it every time I’m there. I’m so grateful for True Food Kitchen! I have a hard time finding healthy restaurants to eat at when I don’t want to prepare a meal at home. True Food Kitchen makes my heart and my tummy happy. They base the restaurant’s menu on Dr. Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet which I try to adhere to with my daily nutrition.
There are so many different variations you can make of this recipe. I always keep the base recipe the same—kale, olive oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, and medjool dates.
You can switch the ingredients up to accommodate your taste preferences. I like trying a different nut or seed, adding in raw vegetables like shredded carrots, beets, or cucumbers. And I have found that fruits like apples and oranges make a nice accompaniment. I’ve also made this kale sale and included a hard boiled egg, avocado, chicken, and salmon. Let your taste buds and your nutrition conscious heart lead the way!
This kale salad recipe is very healthy. Here is a breakdown of each ingredient and some of their health benefits:
Kale — Kale comes in many different varieties. It is actually quite easy to grow if you have a home garden. Kale is very high in the vitamins A, C, and K. These vitamins are great for our eyes, immune system, bones, and heart. Kale is detoxifying for our body and may help in reducing cancer producing cells.
I like making kale chips and adding kale to my smoothies and homemade soups. Kale can be bitter tasting and a little tough, especially when eating it raw. That’s why it is extra tasty in this recipe massaged with olive oil and sweetened with the perfect amount of maple syrup.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil — A heart healthy monounsaturated fat, olive oil can be consumed as part of a healthy diet. It has antioxidant properties which fight free radical cells that can help prevent cancer. Make sure you buy a high quality olive oil and that it is “extra virgin olive oil, organic, and cold pressed.”
Maple Syrup — Yes, even maple syrup has health benefits. You don’t want to consume large amounts of this, but in moderate doses, maple syrup has its place in a healthy diet. It’s high in the nutrients zinc, manganese, potassium, and calcium. It has a lower glcemic index than refined sugar. It’s high in antioxidants which makes it great in fighting free radical cells that could contribute to cancer and is anti-inflammatory. Be sure to buy a high quality, organic maple syrup and check the ingredient label to make sure it only contains maple syrup.
Medjool Dates — I often get questions relating to the high sugar amount in medjool dates. Yes, one medjool date contains almost 16 grams of sugar, but when consumed in moderation, they are still a great sweetener alternative. These little fruits pack a nutritional punch. They are loaded with dietary fiber, potassium, and magnesium. Medjool dates are fat free and will naturally give you a boost of energy. They are great eaten on their own, blended into a smoothie or homemade nut milk, or in recipes like this kale salad.
Pumpkin Seeds — This little “pepita” is high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats like omega 3’s. They are one of the best natural sources of magnesium and are also high in zinc. They have a combination of minerals that have been known to promote sleep. They also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the things I love most about pumpkin seeds is that they are a quick, easy, “on the go” nutritious food.
- 1 bunch kale, washed and rinsed
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2-3 chopped, pitted medjool dates
- Handful of pumpkin seeds
- Cut kale into small pieces. Cut out and discard all ribs and stems.
- Massage kale leaves with extra virgin olive oil.
- Continue massaging kale leaves while adding in lemon juice and maple syrup.
- Sprinkle chopped medjool dates and pumpkin seeds on top.
- This salad can be enjoyed right away or stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for the next day.
- Use organic ingredients when possible.
Debbie Whitehead is a licensed professional counselor (M.Ed, LPC), certified personal trainer (CPT), and certified nutrition coach. She owns a practice in Plano, Texas where she helps clients break free from trauma and live a beautiful life – mind, body, and soul.