This simple recipe for nutritious kale slaw uses a blend of kale, hearty green slaw, sweet dried cherries, and savory, smoked almonds and sunflower seeds to combine with a honey mustard dressing for a killer side dish — or to double as a main dishes option, too!
It was a beautiful weekend in Madison, Wisconsin celebrating my friend’s 40th! We stayed at a STUNNING Airbnb with GOATS! So cute! The house came equipped with lots of outdoor space for enjoyment, including a hot tub and the comfiest rocking chairs to snuggle up with a book in (definitely did that). We did a pedal pub near the University of Wisconsin’s campus and enjoyed food and drink deliciousness! I think the birthday girl was properly celebrated and the group of 10 women in attendance made some memories, no doubt!
My mom and I got lots of quality time together in the car. I got to see my dad as well as my brother and his family. Before returning to Michigan on Sunday evening, we stopped on the southside of Chicago for my nephew’s baptism. It was a 3-day weekend that was exhausting but lots of fun to kick off the summer with. Alas, the summer has temporarily gone AWOL and swim team practices and meets have been canceled thus far this week. The girls are settling into the YMCA for their summer camp for the next 10 weeks and hopefully making new friends and memories 🙂 We’re starting to see our summer schedules fill up with visitors and plans and there’s no better time than now to introduce one dreamy slaw that is perfect for summer (fall, winter, and spring, too!) and can be made ahead of time without taking a ton of time to prepare! It’s healthy, too…meaning, it’s perfect!
ROLL CALL FOR THIS RECIPE
- Entertaining and Social Events: Summer is prime time for cookouts, side dishes, and bringing something to share potluck-style. This fresh kale salad offers subtly sweet flavor in a crunchy slaw that can be made ahead of time and is a delicious salad to share with a group. Of course, it’s delicious enough to not share, as well. 🙂 The first time I made it as a side with dinner and ate it for lunch the following few days. DELISH! The prep time on this one is quick and it can be made to serve the next day, no problem!
- Salad Fanatics: This kale crunch salad one is a must to enter into your most-loved salad rotation. The super-tasty dressing is simple and clean and the touch of sweetness from the cherries and honey make for a salad that’s perfect as a side of main course salad.
- All Hail Kale: It’s true, kale is a pretty incredible food in terms of its nutritional profile. It contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins C and K, iron, among other nutrients and antioxidants. It’s no surprise it is commonly touted as a superfood – it deservingly receives such merits! In this particular salad-slaw, I love its chewy texture and heartiness. If the nutritional profile isn’t lure enough to this recipe, the final product will be!
KEY INGREDIENTS AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Kale Slaw Mix: Peruse the prepared salad section of your local grocery store and you’re sure to find some version of a kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and radicchio mix. The 10 ounce size is most common. Any version of this vegetable combination will work great and will be a time saver and the main component of the salad ingredients. These mixes a generally made up of hearty kale and cruciferous slaw blends (versus a blend of leafy greens that easily wilt) that make for a beautiful, fresh salad!
- Kale: I opted to use lacinato kale (also called dinosaur kale) in this recipe, but curly kale, another type of kale such as baby kale, or a few cups more of a slaw mix will work beautifully. Green cabbage or red cabbage (shredded), can also be used in place of kale.
- Olive Oil: You can absolutely substitute in another mild-flavored oil of choice, such as sunflower, safflower, or avocado oil. All are high in unsaturated fats and offer a neutral-ish flavor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Fresh lemon juice (add the lemon zest if you go this route and create a tangy lemon vinaigrette!), red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, or balsamic vinegar will do here. You may wish to taste test and adjust the honey, Dijon, and salt to ensure the flavor is what you’d like.
- Honey: Pure maple syrup or agave are great substitute here!
- Dijon Mustard: You can use a smooth or whole grain option, however I would not recommend using a yellow mustard here. Omit if you can’t land Dijon or a close substitute.
- Green Onions: Use the white and greens of the onion and thinly slice. You can substitute in chopped red onion (or add in addition to the green onions). Shallots would also work well!
- Smoked Almonds: These can be found with all of the nuts in the store – I had never used them before, but sure enough, they were easy to find! I loved the additional flavor and texture – crunchy smoked almonds…mmm! That said, feel free to substitute plain almonds or another nut of your preference – pecans or pistachios would work well!
- Dried Cherries: You can use sweet or tart dried cherries, but I much prefer and recommend sweet! They are juicy, plump, and sweet! That said, you can swap in golden raisins, raisins, currants, or another dried fruit of your preference.
- Sunflower Seeds: Add these shelled sunflower seeds for both nutrition, taste, and texture! You can also omit or swap in pepitas.
- Possible Additions: red onion, goat cheese, feta cheese, cooked quinoa, crisp apples or pear, pomegranate arils, or any other combination of nuts and seeds such as crunchy almonds and pepitas.
- Vegetarian: While this slaw is vegetarian as-is, you can certainly add a protein of your choice on top or to accompany the slaw – grilled chicken or shrimp sounds fabulous to me! Even a fried egg on top would be a fun route to go – I’d certainly eat this as breakfast (for realz!).
- Vegan: Swap maple syrup or agave for the honey and this slaw is vegan.
- Allergen-Friendly: This recipe, as written, is both gluten-free and dairy-free.
- This salad is high in unsaturated fats and fiber which offers both nutrition and staying power! Salads and slaws aren’t always satisfying, but this one most certainly is!
VARIATIONS, STORAGE, and TIPS
- When preparing kale, remove the thick stem by tearing away the more tender leaves and then roughly chop the leaves. You can massage the dressing into the kale using your hands to tenderize the leaves, if you wish, however it is not necessary with this recipe.
- Use a large bowl to first prepare the dressing and then add the ingredients to that bowl to combine together – one large bowl is all you need, easy peasy!
- To morph this side dish into a main, consider adding a starch and/or a cheese. If I were to add to this slaw, I would consider adding some cooked quinoa to make a quinoa salad (2-3 cups would work well!) or adding 1/2 cup or so of crumbled goat cheese or feta cheese, or simply sprinkling some over the top of the finished slaw, particularly if it was being served right away.
- Store leftover slaw in an airtight container for up to 3 days. The first 24-48 hours is best, but the salad can be stretched to 3 days, if needed. This salad can be served chilled or at room temperature, as you prefer.
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 oz kale slaw mix (blend of kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and radicchio)
- 3 cups gently packed chopped kale
- 1 cup matchstick cut carrots
- 3/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
- 1 cup smoked almonds, coarsely chopped
- 3/4 cup sweet dried cherries
- 1/3 cup lightly salted sunflower seeds
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, Dijon, and salt until well-combined.
- To the bowl, add the slaw mix and kale; toss to thoroughly coat.
- Add the remaining ingredients and toss. If possible, set aside for 1 hour to all flavors to meld and kale to tenderize.
Recipe adapted from The Kitchn
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: heaping 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 277Total Fat: 20.1gSaturated Fat: 2.1gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 306mgCarbohydrates: 20.2gFiber: 3.9gSugar: 12.9gProtein: 5.6g
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