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Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad

March 21, 2013

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and AlmondsPin it!

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.

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and Almonds

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.

Kale leaves massaged with lime juice

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and AlmondsPin it!

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.

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and Almonds

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and Almonds

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.

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and Almonds

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and Almonds

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.

sectioning an orange

You could also load the whole thing down with even more avocado + orange/grapefruit sections to make the salad a meal in itself.

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and AlmondsPin it!

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.

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and AlmondsPin it.

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad

(Serves 2)

Salad Ingredients:
~ 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

Dressing Ingredients:
~ 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!)

sectioning an orange

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)

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and AlmondsPin it!

Citrusy Kale Avocado Salad with Oranges and Almonds

Related recipe posts:
> Shaved Fennel Salad with Strawberries and Purple Kale
> Chayote Mango Salad with Avocado
> Toasted Orzo with Kale, Feta, Lemon, and Radishes

32 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2013 9:42 am

    yummy! this looks delicious! :-) I LOVE Avocados! :-) this would be a great recipe to try!

    • March 21, 2013 10:16 am

      Thanks! I love avocados, too. (Since I moved to California, I’ve eaten about one a day!)

      • March 21, 2013 10:19 am

        Oh! you are lucky! we try our best to buy them every week but lately the ones we got haven’t been very good!

      • March 21, 2013 10:21 am

        Oh, that’s too bad!! There are few things sadder than optimistically cutting into an avocado only to find that it’s sub-par or worse… I’m really not sure what their official season is, since the tree at my friends’ house seems to produce them year-round (!), but I hope you can find some better ones soon!

      • March 21, 2013 12:20 pm

        Maybe I should google if there is an avocado season! ;-)

  2. March 21, 2013 12:33 pm

    Beautiful colours and flavours, I envy your access to such great local ingredients! Thanks.

  3. March 21, 2013 1:05 pm

    Haha it is true that I thought of spring first up when I saw your photos :)
    What a delicious recipe!

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. March 21, 2013 4:08 pm

    This sounds great and a fairly unusual combination, but am intrigued. Love all the ingredients so together…why not!

    • March 22, 2013 12:10 pm

      Yep, I guess the avocado and orange combination is not the most common, but I love adding fruit + avocado to any salads, and the avocado especially really balances out the sour lime juice-y kale leaves!

  5. March 22, 2013 6:39 am

    love this idea. how do you think mango would be in it..?

  6. March 22, 2013 8:33 am

    What a lovely salad! I wish I had an avocado and citrus tree. So envious!

  7. March 22, 2013 12:48 pm

    Simply drolling me, since all the ingredient is my fave…

  8. March 24, 2013 6:58 pm

    This salad looks awesome. I love everything in it :) The citrusy addition sounds intriguing :)

  9. March 24, 2013 11:20 pm

    Yum! As a fellow southern Californian, I’m enjoying the citrus and avocados and warm spring weather along with you. :) I think I need to pick up some kale and enjoy this salad as well. Thanks for sharing!

    • March 28, 2013 9:39 am

      Thanks for commenting! Always nice to hear from fellow southern Cali. food bloggers. :) (Your blog is beautiful, by the way!) Hope you do get to try out this salad soon!

  10. March 26, 2013 9:53 pm

    I’ve never had a kale salad before. This looks wonderful. Love the idea of avocado and citrus in here. Lovely post Allison. :)

    • March 28, 2013 9:41 am

      Thanks, Anne! Ohhhh, it’s so worth it, you should definitely try kale salad at least once. :) Most raw kale salads I’ve seen go the olive oil/parmesan cheesy/nutty route, but this citrusy version is my new favorite (and with avocado, you don’t need cheese…).

  11. March 27, 2013 7:02 am

    Great colorful salad. And can I come visit in CA as well? Dreary winter is right!

  12. Nami | Just One Cookbook permalink
    March 27, 2013 12:59 pm

    I really love this. As much as I like rice, bread, pasta and all carbohydrate food, I also crave for good veggie dish. Citrus is a must have in my food and I love how you came up with kale and avocado with citrus fruits. YUM!

    • March 28, 2013 9:45 am

      Thanks, Nami! I’m the same way– I often crave comfort foods, but then after too much of those, I *really* start craving something more like this! And citrus is a must for me, too. I use fresh lemon or lime juice (or yogurt or vinegar) in practically everything, like almost all of my favorite savory chicken/lentil entrees… The sourness of this salad makes it even more addictive!

  13. April 12, 2013 3:12 am

    LOVE avocados! Have never thought of mixing them with oranges, but of course it would work. I often give them a squeeze of lime or lemon, but never orange! How lovely. Hope your parents enjoyed it too!

    • April 15, 2013 10:52 am

      Yes, avocados are pretty great with any citrus. I also love them with lemon or lime, but had never tried them with oranges before, since it seems like a waste of an orange to just squeeze it over something rather than eating the fruit itself– but I was really happy with this recipe. :)


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