Celina’s Craveable Kale Salad

Never before in my life had I ever envisioned posting a blog about kale.  It isn’t exactly the thing I think of when I’m craving yummy foods, and I’ve been known to make fun of people (sorry, Sean Maher, I love you) for eating it in the past.  But things have changed.  It’s delicious, my friends.  No, really.

Celina Dean is of course to blame for this change of heart, and lucky for us, she’s agreed to share her recipe for this fabulous little salad.  So vegetarian readers, you have Celina to thank!  And if you’re not vegetarian, go out on a (tree) limb and give this one a go.  If I can do it, you can do it.  And you’ll be glad you did.

Celina Dean

Craveable Kale Salad

by Celina Dean

(Inspired by Sweet Butter Kitchen, Café and Market)

I was introduced to the Sweet Butter Kitchen, Café and Market on Ventura Blvd by my sweet buddy Sara Jean. Oh delight! I love breakfast and lunch foods and this place serves all of that. Baked goods, breads, egg dishes, soups, salads… everything is beautiful and delicious and it’s all served in a sweet homey oasis of décor that lives somewhere between a backyard garden and Anthroplogie. Sherman Oaks, you’re so lucky to have this lovely spot! But guys, I live on the west side of the city. Also, I want to be able to eat the thing that I want when I want it. So sometimes I just have to figure out how to make the thing I want for myself. In this case- Kale Salad.

Sara and I shared a gorgeous and delicious kale salad (as well as a Brussel sprout salad, some fresh baked bread, chocolate chip cookies and lattes) and I knew I’d have to get to the bottom of it for the sake of my type A brain and my obsessive taste buds. There were a variety of textures and flavors that pleased me to no end. The following recipe is in the wheelhouse of what they serve and I now crave and need to consume it at least twice weekly. Seriously. I’m starting to wonder if I have some kind of dark green deficiency in my diet because I cah-rave this salad a lot.

Embrace your inner kale! Don’t fear the kale! Love the kale! This salad will help with that, I promise. And get this- it’s raw. Nope, not even lightly steamed. So not only is it delicious, you can feel vaguely smug about the fact that you’re consuming something super healthy for your body.

Craveable Kale Salad

Serves: 4 starter portions, 2 side salad sizes or 1 greedy lunch portion


Salad Fixin’s:

1 bunch Kale*

¼  cup dried Cranberries

1/3 cup whole Pecans

*If you buy Kale at the farmer’s market, you can experiment with different kinds. Some are sharper, milder, more bitter… You’ll love them all in this recipe.


½ tbsp. Rice Vinegar

½ tbsp. Malt Vinegar

2 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

Olive Oil, approx. 2 tbsp.

1 tsp. honey or agave

Salt and Pepper to taste

*Play around here. These flavors appeal to me because I’m looking for an acidic and sweet dressing to compliment the bite of the kale, but seriously and for real, use what you have on hand and what you think you’ll use again and not have sitting in your cupboard for the next two years.

Extra and in no way necessary:

¼ c Parmesan or blue or feta or your favorite cheese to toss with the salad… whatever you have in your fridge will do. Has cheese ever not made anything more delicious? NO, YOU FOOL!

What to do:

1) Pour vinegars and oil into an old jam jar, add a squirt or two of agave or honey, salt and pepper, cover and shake it like a Polaroid picture. Remove lid and add cranberries- let them absorb some liquid while you combine the rest of the salad.

2). Toast pecans in a pan; medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Shake the pan frequently and keep and eye on them so they don’t burn. Set aside.

3) Wash and pat or spin dry your kale leaves. In your salad bowl, tear the leaves from the tough center and into bite sized pieces.

4) Scoop cranberries from the jar into the salad bowl, pour over as much of the dressing as suits you (I use it all), add the pecans and a sprinkle of cheese. Toss, plate, consume.

Good-lookin' good-for-you-ness

Pretty sure this salad will hold up to a couple of days in the fridge, but since I manage to pound it back all by myself and in one sitting, I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure.


Sweet Butter Café, Kitchen and Market

13824 Ventura Blvd.

Sherman Oaks, CA 91423


14 Comments Add yours

  1. wosushi says:

    I am very excited, as there is a LARGE mess of Kale currently taking over a spot in my yard and I needed a new way to use it.

    Thanks, Celina and Jewel!

  2. Lindsay says:

    Mmmmm!!! I love baked Kale chips ^___^ Basically, kale chips, olive oil and salt baked in the oven for 20 minutes…so good!

  3. Laura says:

    Oh I will be sure to try this out. I’ve been looking for a good recipe using raw kale, and this sounds delicious! Typically I’ve sauteed it in a couple tablespoons of piping hot olive oil, adding a few cloves of chopped garlic and a little salt after a couple minutes. Once the garlic has a chance to cook a little, I remove it from the heat, give it a squeeze or two of fresh lemon juice, a grind of black pepper, a (generous) sprinkle of fresh parmesan, and le voila! Makes a nice vegetarian meal tossed with some pasta (and a little more cheese, of course).

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Jessica says:

    mmm…. definitely on my short list of “to try”. Thanks!

  5. Completely making this SOON!

  6. joanna says:

    this recipe was both hilarious and delicious-sounding! i keep reading and hearing about kale…kale… kale…will try it this week!

  7. Phil says:

    Sounds great and looks so simple! I’m always looking for new things to try for Meatless Mondays.
    Love the blog!

  8. Hanna says:

    Just tried this with apples and some garlic balsamic dressing from the fridge. I actually had no idea you could eat kale raw. You just made a vegetarian really happy!

  9. AJ says:

    I’ve been looking for a recipe that will give me a reason to eat kale. I’d like to have the option of living mostly off what I can get in the produce aisle or farmer’s market. This sounds good, and I have almost all the stuff already.

  10. Anonymous says:

    So I tried this salad a couple ways and my favorite was with chopped green peppers and sweet white onions, dried cranberries, salted roasted soy nuts, and lot of fresh dill, and a mix of olive oil, malt vinegar and balsamic vinaigrette. It was awesome!!! thank you so much, like many other posters, I never would have tried raw kale if I hadn’t read this 🙂

  11. Thanks for the great recipe!! Can’t wait to try it. 😀

  12. Tamara says:

    I have been making this now for a couple of years, it convinced The Mister to eat Kale! I never have malt vinegar, so Apple Cider vinegar is substituted and some cooked grains thrown in to make this quite substantial. Kale may be seen as a fad, but I love that you can dress kale beforehand and it doesn’t get soggy, making it a timesaver. Thanks for the recipe!!!

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