Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad
Happy spring! I made you a winter salad.
Sorry that I am so behind the times (especially when two weeks ago I was so ahead of them!).
It’s going to be a shorter and photoful post today because my parents are visiting me in Santa Barbara. They needed a break from the dreary, snowy Wisconsin winter, so this week we’re taking a beach walk a day, and enjoying lots of California sunshine, citrus fruit, and avocados.
I count myself lucky, not only that I live in this paradise– however temporarily and grad studently, but also because I have some generous friends. These avocados and oranges came from the backyard trees of friends, and I wanted to celebrate this momentary bounty with a bright refreshing salad.
Tuscan kale (or “dinosaur kale”) has broad flat leaves that make de-stemming and chopping a breeze, compared to the clunkier and more chaotic curly kale (which I like to cook with although it’s a pain to prepare). This makes Tuscan kale ideal for the much-scoffed “massaged” kale salad– it’s just less voluminous and with less surface-area to massage than its curly counterpart.
I’ve only bothered to massage kale and enjoy it in its raw form a handful of times, but this recipe was such a success, I think I’ll come back to this method quite often. First, it only takes a minute or two (!) of massaging; second, I used plenty of lime juice and just a touch of olive oil, so the result is less oily and much more tangy and refreshing than if you rub the kale with olive oil alone.
The juicy orange wedges complement the lime-flavored kale leaves nicely, while the creamy avocado chunks (and crunchy raw almonds) balance the sour notes and make the salad addictively satisfying.
You could also load the whole thing down with even more avocado + orange/grapefruit sections to make the salad a meal in itself.
So whether spring has arrived in full force or your winter weather is still sticking around, this is the type of dish that takes just a tiny bit more effort than your average salad, but is so. very. worth it.
Print this recipe. (PDF)
Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad
~ 1 bunch dinosaur/Tuscan (flat leaf) kale
~ juice of 1 lime
~ 2 tsp. olive oil
~ 1 medium orange or 2 small ones (or a grapefruit), sliced into sections
~ 1/2 an avocado (or more), roughly diced
~ several almonds (or other nuts), roughly chopped if desired
~ several fresh mint leaves, gently torn
~ 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
~ 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar (or red/white wine vinegar)
~ sea salt and black pepper, to taste
~ fresh lime juice (if not used above)
How to make it:
1. De-stem and chop the kale. In a medium bowl, add the lime juice and olive oil to the kale, and massage into the leaves for about 2 minutes, or until the kale leaves become less tough, and are easy to bite through.
2. Section an orange or a grapefruit by first slicing off the top and bottom, then cutting sections of the peel away diagonally, removing mainly peel and pith but as little fruit as possible. Slice the remaining geometrically-shaped fruit into sections, then cut off any remaining bits of pith. (This all sounds harder than it is; for two oranges, this took me about one minute!)
3. Halve an avocado, then slice and peel it, and roughly dice it. Add the citrus sections and the avocado to the kale.
4. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, then pour it evenly over the salad. (If you’re substituting some other salad greens for kale, you might want to still add a bit of lime juice and a touch more olive oil to the dressing– don’t miss out on the bright tangy lime flavor of the kale leaves just because your greens don’t need massaging!)
5. Sprinkle over almonds, and serve. Because kale is so hearty, this salad keeps remarkably nicely for several hours in the fridge! (If making ahead, perhaps wait to add the avocado until just before serving.)
Print this recipe! (PDF)