Something plum crazy happened last weekend.

It was in the back seat of the car while we were driving.

My kids got into a big argument, which wasn’t the crazy part.

The crazy part was the subject of the argument.

I nearly had to pull over to verify that I was hearing correctly.

They were bickering…

over kale salad.

Not as in, “I’m not going to eat that!” sort of arguing.

No, as in “Hey, you ate all the kale salad….there’s hardly any left for me” type of arguing.

The sort of fighting usually reserved for chocolate cake or cotton candy.

Not kale.

It was a salad we picked up for lunch on our way home from a weekend away. It’s sold at New Leaf, a market in Half Moon Bay, about 30 miles down the coast.

I wanted to work out the magic behind the recipe. Argument-inducing kale bears imitating. So I gathered the ingredients listed on the label and did my best to knock off the salad.

The core essentials are lemon juice and something called Bragg Liquid Aminos. If you’re unfamiliar with Bragg, it’s unfermented soy, similar in flavor to soy sauce, sold in health food stores and organic markets. The salty, lemony combination effectively tenderizes the kale and tames the texture.
Beyond that, the salad features sliced red onion along with roasted sunflower and pumpkin seeds. The grated carrots were my own addition, giving the greens extra color and crunch. Buying pre-chopped, bagged kale takes nearly all of the work out of this recipe, which is best made a day ahead.

I served it for dinner one night this past week. The kids were all over it. Six cups of kale were gone in one sitting.

If it turns out your children don’t like this salad, I’m guessing you will, and since it keeps for several days in the fridge, you’ll be good for greens for the better part of the week.

Just don’t serve it in the car.

Who eats kale salad in the car anyway?

(for the record, my kids never bicker or snack in the car.)


A Kale Salad Kids Love

The kale in this salad makes it a nutrient powerhouse, rich in calcium, vitamin C, potassium, and folate, among others. If you don’t have Bragg Liquid Aminos, use soy sauce instead, only cut back slightly on the amount, taste, then add more as needed.

• 6 cups roughly chopped kale (tough stems removed)
• 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
• 2 coarsely grated carrots
• 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil or extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds (salted or unsalted)
• 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (salted or unsalted)

Put the kale, onion, carrots, Bragg Liquid Aminos, lemon juice, sesame oil, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds into a big bowl. Use a pair of tongs to turn the greens over in the bowl, mashing and stirring the kale for a good minute so that it thoroughly marinates with the other ingredients. No need to be gentle.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, ideally overnight.

Will keep for several days.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Adapted from New Leaf Market’s Coastal Kale Salad

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  1. Pamela
    09.24.2012 at 7:23 AM #

    I have had New Leaf’s Kale salad and I sure appreciate knowing how to make it! Yum~~~thanks Katie :)

  2. Pam
    09.24.2012 at 8:45 AM #

    Hilarious! And yum, can’t wait to try it.

    • katiemorford
      09.24.2012 at 9:58 AM #

      I’ll be curious to know how it goes over with the Rupright clan.

  3. 09.24.2012 at 10:21 AM #

    This looks yummy! FYI — the “printer friendly” icon on your blog hasn’t worked for me for the past week or two…

    • katiemorford
      09.24.2012 at 10:27 AM #

      I will look into the printer issue. Thanks for letting me know.

  4. Denis
    09.24.2012 at 11:20 AM #

    You’ve just changed my life.
    Leafy greens that last! I love it!

    • katiemorford
      09.24.2012 at 11:59 AM #

      I think kale is indestructible

  5. 09.24.2012 at 3:00 PM #

    I am so excited to try this kale salad- always looking for a new way to serve greens! You brought up that Braggs is similar to soy sauce and I was wondering if you could use the two interchangeably and nutritionally the difference?

    • katiemorford
      09.24.2012 at 5:20 PM #

      Hi Kim

      If you read the recipe headnote, I mention substituting with soy sauce. Soy sauce is fermented and Bragg is not fermented. Some folks swear by Bragg, but the amount of protein, and thus amino acids, per tablespoon is tiny so not sure there’s much there nutritionally. Both are high in sodium.

  6. Angelica
    09.24.2012 at 3:17 PM #

    I can’t do any soy – any other recommendations for changing out the Braggs?

    • katiemorford
      09.24.2012 at 5:18 PM #

      That’t tricky Angelica. You could up the sesame oil a little and season it with salt. That’s what I might try first. You could also try a little fish sauce…..I can’t be sure how it will be. It’s worth playing around with.

  7. Layne
    09.24.2012 at 5:10 PM #

    Does it last for days with the dressing on it? And, I’ve never seen pre-chopped kale, where do you buy this? Thanks! Looking forward to trying this.

    • katiemorford
      09.24.2012 at 5:12 PM #

      Yes, it really will last several days. I’ve bought pre-prepped kale at Whole Foods and other organic markets. Not sure if Trader Joe’s carries it. Anyone else know?

  8. Suzanne
    09.24.2012 at 6:08 PM #

    Yum! We are having it tonight – will report back with an incident report! BTW, Braggs is Gluten Free :)

    • katiemorford
      09.24.2012 at 6:28 PM #

      Thanks GF mama!

  9. Christine Gaudenzi
    09.26.2012 at 8:15 PM #

    LOVE the kale recipe..paired it with your yummy pork/fig recipe for book club last night and it was a huge hit! Thanks Katie!

    • katiemorford
      09.26.2012 at 11:16 PM #

      Oh good. Thanks for letting me know. I’m planning to make a big batch myself tomorrow.

  10. Sue
    09.27.2012 at 4:21 AM #

    Bought my kale at Trader Joe’s last night to make this for the weekend. Can’t wait.

    • katiemorford
      09.27.2012 at 7:25 AM #

      Oh good…hope you like it!

  11. Meg
    01.15.2013 at 2:04 PM #

    My mother-in-law lives in HMB and made this for us when she visited us last year in the Spring (we live in Georgia). Then we made it for our family reunion (up in NY) and everyone LOVED it! It’s the best when made ahead for sure! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • katiemorford
      01.15.2013 at 2:07 PM #

      That’s so funny… Coastal Kale is making the rounds!

  12. Maureen ullery
    05.15.2013 at 8:20 PM #

    Best when used with dino kale. You could also a a little chili flakes and some rice vinegar. Maureen

    • katiemorford
      05.16.2013 at 8:16 AM #

      Thanks for the tips!

  13. Meghan
    10.14.2013 at 9:02 PM #

    I made this for my 14-year-old, who tolerates certain vegetables, but is suspicious of leafy greens and has never willingly eaten Kale. She not only liked it; she had seconds! (She liked your chicken parm, too.) I thought it was delicious and plan to put it in the regular rotation. Kale salad – 1, Hot Pockets – 0!

    • katiemorford
      10.15.2013 at 9:02 PM #


  14. Jean Kuwamoto
    03.24.2014 at 9:42 AM #

    Made this over the weekend. Kids (7 and 9) both loved it & they are not normally salad eaters. They wanted to eat it again the next night. We added quinoa instead of seeds. I love that you can make it ahead!

    • katiemorford
      03.24.2014 at 11:39 AM #

      Great swap with the quinoa. I sometimes make a double batch since it holds up well for a couple of days.

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