02 Mar Purple Kale Salad with Creamy Cashew Avocado Dressing
I can never get enough kale salad, so I’m always inventing new ways to mix up the same old bowl. This recipe was inspired by my new favorite Venice Beach neighborhood watering hole, Clutch, where their Cali-Mex kale and cauliflower salad transported my tastebuds to a very happy place last week. Now when I don’t want to walk the three blocks to get it, I can make my own twist at home (but I would still walk a hundred miles for those Mexi nacho fries with avocado crema!). You can make this one vegan by omitting the cojita, but you’ll need to up the salt to make up for the loss.
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 30 minutes in warm filtered water
- 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and rough chopped
- 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (from about 4 limes)
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lime zest (from about 2 limes)
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped
- 1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup filtered water
- 1 head of purple kale (or curly green kale), stems removed and leaves torn into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup of roasted and salted cashews, rough chopped
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes, cut in half
- 1/2 cup of crumbled cojita cheese (you can substitute feta or even parmesan in a pinch)
- 1/4 cup green onions/scallions, green and light green parts thinly sliced (about 2 scallions)
- In a high powered blender, combine all dressing ingredients, then add as much water as needed to get the motor running, but not too much so you get a watery mess. Blend until completely smooth (Vitamix users will need the tamper) very thick and creamy.
- Making sure your kale is very dry, add desired amount of dressing (I had about 1/2 cup leftover) and massage the dressing into the kale leaves with your hands for at least 30 seconds, preferably up to one minute. You will notice your kale will start to soften and tenderize. Don't skip this step or your leaves will be tough and less than spectacular. Taste a leaf and add salt to the bowl if needed.
- Toss the kale with the remaining ingredients, and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving (don't worry, the salad only gets better as it sits- unlike lettuce salads that wilt quickly after dressing).