Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Kale salad with dijon-shallot dressing

A few years ago we were having dinner with family at the Napa Valley Grille and the waiter asked if we were enjoying the salad. When we told him we were, he whipped out a stack of xeroxed recipes and doled them out to the table. It's since worked its way into regular rotation at every family get together. Even people who aren't completely convinced about raw kale might be persuaded to get on board here.

kale salad
{kale salad}

The salad is pretty dang simple to throw together but it tastes complex. Because the kale is thinly sliced and tossed with a bit of romaine, the texture is more palatable to raw kale haters (that's my theory - I love kale any which way so I've never totally understood the complaints). The dressing is the star of the show - the shallot, garlic and dijon give it some bite but it's mellowed out by the oil and the basil.

exposing the rib
{exposing the rib}

To "shred" the kale, I fold each leaf in half along the rib and then run the knife down to cut out the rib quickly. With the kale still folded in half, I cut ribbon-like slices all the way down.


I wash it all in the salad spinner afterwards, which is much easier to deal with than full leaves.

I play fast and loose with the recipe and don't worry too much about specific amounts. I'll usually make a huge bowl of greens using 2 bunches of kale and 1 head of romaine. This will give you enough salad for a large dinner party or two people all week. If I'm planning to use it throughout the week I store the greens by themselves and toss in dressing and toppings just before serving.

Napa Valley Grille Kale Salad

Dressing (makes about 1/2 cup - enough for 2 - 3 servings. I will double or triple this for a big batch)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup oil (I use good California olive oil)
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese (can sub anchovy paste if you prefer)
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp minced shallots
1 tbsp minced basil
1 tbsp dijon mustard

Blend well. I use the mini blender so I don't bother mincing anything first. If you mince everything then you should whisk everything but the oil and then add the oil slowly to emulsify. 

Salad (amounts below are for a single large serving - I'll scale up without worrying too much about the exact proportions if I want a big batch)
3 oz shredded kale
2 oz shredded romaine
1 tbsp parmesan, freshly grated or chopped
1 oz golden raisins
2 oz cooked quinoa (optional - I often leave it out)
1 tbsp sliced, toasted almonds

Toss with 2 oz dressing. 


  1. Mmm this looks amazing! My partner is a kale hater but I love it, I'm always looking for new ways to bring it into our diet without him really noticing too much. I think the mix with romaine would do the trick. Definitely going to try this recipe. Thanks!

  2. We've been looking for some good alternates for our lunches--we make them all at the beginning of the week...spinach holds up well, but we're sick of that, so kale might be the way to go!
    Side note: I'm on the hunt for a good chef's knife. What is yours & was it super expensive?

    1. We have the Shun knives and I love, love, love them! They are expensive (I think? I guess I don't know how much knives go for, but I know I felt a little guilty even putting these on our registry). The 8" chef's knife gets used all the time and we keep it in good shape with regular sharpening at home.

      I have better descriptions + links to all the knives in my kitchen gear post, if that helps!

  3. Looks like a good one! I'm saving it to try!

  4. This looks simply amazing. I have been getting tired of the same old salad for lunch everyday at work—this will be a nice change. Plus, there's no vinegar in the dressing! yayyy

  5. This looks awesome! I love a kale salad, I prefer more the more sturdy leaves to dainty, weedy field greens :) can't wait to try this dressing.

  6. This salad is so good! It was better when you made it, but I did go a little garlic crazy. Next time I'll follow your recipe exactly. This will be my new go-to lunch.

  7. Yum! I'll have to try this when I'm living somewhere I can find kale. Where is that beautiful green salad bowl from?

  8. Hi! I discovered your blog recently and love it! I had guests for dinner yesterday and I made this salad. It was delicious and everybody loved it. The dressing is very good and I'll probably try it with different salads. Thanks for sharing all this great stuff.

  9. Yep, my favorite flavors here. Bookmarking.


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