This might sound pretty presumptuous but this is for me the best kale salad ever. The first time I ate kale was in California (of course) at a place that is very dear to my heart: the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. If you are not familiar with the place, Esalen is a retreat center that is maybe more famously associated to the 1960’s counterculture years, but it still leads the way in pioneering change through self awareness. My stay at Esalen ended up being truly life changing as I met my husband there.
To this date, we still love to sneak out, drive our car on highway 1 and go to this truly magical place. The food at Esalen is no less special as roughly 30% of the food you eat was picked from the garden that morning. Hardly a better place to experience the “farm to table” concept.
The Esalen Kale salad is a standout dish from the daily salad bar and here’s my rendition of it.
Adapted from the Esalen cookbook.
1 bunch of Lacinato kale
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced in half-moons
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup EVOO
1/4 cup Bragg Liquid Aminos
1/2 cup seeds (pepitas, sesame, sunflower…)
1 avocado, diced
2 carrots, cut into thin rounds
a bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
1. Combine the lemon juice and Bragg Liquid Aminos in a blender and with the blender on, slowly dribble in the olive oil.
2. In a big bowl, marinade your red onions in the dressing while you prepare the rest of the salad.
3. Destem the kale and tear the leaves into small ribbons.
4. Toast your seeds, preferably separately, until slightly golden and fragrant.
5. Using your hands, massage the kale into the dressing. This step is very important and truly makes the salad. Give the kale some love!
6. Add your seeds, carrots, avocado and toss gently again with your hands to combine everything.