Crunchy Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing



Hi all–  I like this bright friendly salad– All that sturdy kale, hearty farro and those crunchy almonds.  But the real star is the dressing!  So much flavor from the cilantro, tahini, cumin, garlic…

Actually I had the tahini in the fridge, because I got it for a humus recipe that was grand failure (lumpy, bumpy and bland).  Add that to the list of not so great cooking attempts that never made it to be blog posts!!   But happily, the tahini was just what I needed when I came across a version of this salad (thanks Pinterest!). I think you might like it as much as we did…


1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. red wine vinegar
2 tab. cilantro, chopped fine
2 tab. tahini
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
several grinds of freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup farro, uncooked
5 cups, kale, chopped to bits
1 carrot, shredded to strips
5 radishes, sliced thin
1 avocado, cut to small pieces
1/4 cup toasted almonds

Whisk together the salad dressing ingredients until they are thoroughly blended, set aside.

Cook the farro according to the package directions– mine said boil with 1  1/2 cups slightly salted water for 10 minutes.  Drain in a sieve and rinse with cold water to be cool enough for the salad.

Then layer up the kale, farro, carrots, avocado, radishes and almonds.  Pour on the dressing when you are ready to serve it up.  Crunchy good!



Kale Salad with Pomegranate, Avocado & Pecans



Hello all– It’s summer.  So we are just having grilled fish, this salad and a chunk of sour dough bread.  That’s it– just enough to satisfy on a hot summer evening.  (or maybe just a prelude to a walk for frozen yogurt…)

4 cups kale, chopped to bits
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut in chunks
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
1/3 cup pecans

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar*
1 tab. honey
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste


Pour the kale into a bowl and top with avocado, pomegranate seeds and pecans>

In  container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, salt & pepper until they are thoroughly blended.  Pour it over the salad.**

*Any vinegar will do– It’s an inexpensive luxury to have a collection of vinegars to choose from, since they keep for quite a while in a cool place.
**Usually I dress the salad at the last minute before I put it on the table, but kale will hold up to dressing so you can pour it on stick it in the fridge for a few minutes while you get the rest of the dinner on the table.  That way it’s ready to go!


Brussel Sprout & Kale Salad with Maple Dressing

IMG_2878Hi all– We’re slowly sliding into fall here– not exactly sweater weather just yet.  But the days of fruity summer salads are giving way to crunchy fall versions.  This one  has sturdy kale, crispy Brussel sprouts and a bit of sweetness from the currants and the maple syrup in the dressing.  And almonds– always up for the crunch of almonds in any salad.  I hope you might like simple, tasty bowl full salad this too…

1 pound Brussel sprouts
4 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup currants
2/3 cup shaved parmesan
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons seedy dijon mustard*
2 tab. apple cider (or orange champagne vinegar) vinegar**
2 tab. maple syrup
salt & freshly ground pepper

Cut off the tough stems of the Brussel sprouts and cut the them to slivers.  Cut the stems and center vein out of the kale and finely cut it to bits.  Mix together the shaved Brussel sprouts, kale and currants.  Set aside

Whisk together the olive oil, garlic, mustard, sugar and vinegar until it’s all emulsified.  Season to taste with salt & the freshly ground pepper.

Mix the Brussel sprout mixture with the dressing and put it into the fridge if you’re not quite ready to serve it. (It’s a hearty salad– so dressing ahead won’t wilt it!)

Just before setting it on the table, mix in the almonds and parmesan.

*I know I’ve said it before, but I love, love the whole grain dijon from Trader Joe’s, but any mustard you love will be just grand.
**Orange Champagne vinegar also sold at Trader Joe’s and simply delish.

Citrus Kale Salad with Orange Honey Dressing

IMG_1229Hi all– It’s still citrus season around here.  Jodi brought us a big net bag of Ojai oranges and they were so bright and sweet.  So one of the last ones ended up in our salad…

With most salads, I wait til the last minute to put them together so they’ll hold up and stay fresh.  But this hearty kale will still be great if you make the salad up to an hour ahead and stick it into the fridge.  That’s handy when you have more dinner to fix!


3 kale leaves, cut off the stem and chopped fine
1 orange peeled & sliced into sections
2 tangerines, peeled & sliced into rounds
2 tab. red & orange bell pepper, cut to tiny bits*
3 tab. salted almonds, cut in half

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. orange muscat vinegar**
1 tab. honey
salt & pepper

Not really much of a recipe– Just layer the kale, orange, tangerines, pepper and almonds on a pretty plate.  That’s it.

In a container with a tight fitting lid, shake together the olive oil, vinegar and honey.  Shake hard til throughly blended.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour it on the salad when you’re ready to eat.

*I got a bag of those tiny red, yellow and orange peppers at the market.  Two of them were just enough.

** The  Orange Muscat Vinegar is at Trader Joe’s.  Love that stuff.

Squash & Kale Salad

IMG_2778Hi there– It’s been nothing but gray skies and rain around here the last couple days–  but in dry, dry Southern California, we’re thrilled to see all that wet stuff coming out of the sky!  And to combat all that gray gloom, here’s a bright spritely salad.  Love all the colors and textures and tastes– the roasted squash, sweet berries, salty feta, crunchy seeds.  It really is a mouthful.

3 or 4 kale leaves, chopped fine
10 oz. (about 2 cups) butternut squash, peeled & cut in small cubes
3 tab. olive oil
garlic salt
dried basil
1/4 cup dried cranberries, minced
1/4 cup herbed feta, crumbled
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. cider vinegar
1 tsp. seedy mustard
1 tsp. apricot jam
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

In a bowl mix the squash with the 3 tab. olive oil, a few shakes of garlic salt and a pinch of dried basil.  When the squash is well coated, spoon it on to a baking sheet and scape all the extra olive oil from the bowl over the squash.  Bake it at 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until the squash begins to brown around the edges.  Let is cool.

Then layer the chopped kale, roasted squash, cranberries, feta and pumpkin seeds onto a pretty plate.

In a container with a tight lid, shake together the 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, mustard, jam and salt & pepper– until it is thoroughly blended.

Pour the dressing over the salad and serve it up– Makes two or three big servings.

Fall Salad– Kale, Apples & Bacon

IMG_2882Hey there– This salad has so many yummy ingredients that I wanted to put all of them in the title– Hmmm.  So I narrowed it down to kale, apples and that bacon!  BUT– I would now also like to mention– the pumpkin seeds and currants– and the luscious poppy seed-mustard dressing bringing it all together.

We had it for lunch on Sunday and liked it so much it was on the table again tonight.  I think you might like a bunch too!

2 cups kale, chopped fine
6 to 8 Brussel sprouts, cut to shreds
2 slices bacon, cut to bits
1 red apple, slides and cored
1/4 cup currants*
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar**
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. seedy Dijon Mustard***
1 tsp. poppy seeds
a couple shakes of salt & twists of freshly ground pepper

Cook the little bits of bacon in a skillet.

Then while the bacon’s on the stove, layer the kale Brussel sprouts and apples on a pretty platter.  Sprinkle on the currants and pumpkin seeds.

When the bacon’s cooked, drain in on a paper towel and let it cool.  Then sprinkle it over the salad.

Put he dressing ingredients, oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, poppy seeds and salt & pepper into a small container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake it well until it’s all blended.  Pour it over the salad when you’re ready to dig in.

*The recipe I worked from called for dried cranberries, but currants are my fave.  Pick your favorite dried fruit…
**You can use any mild vinegar–cider, red wine…  Tarragon is my “go to” vinegar– mild and slightly sweet.
***If you live near a Trade Joe’s– check the Seedy Dijon mustard there– not too spicy and perfect in dressings, in sauces, on sandwiches.  Love that stuff!

Kale Salad with Mango, Avocado &Red Pepper

IMG_0355Hello all– A couple weeks ago our Ani came down for the weekend to give a bridal shower for her college room mate, Heather.  So fun to see Heather again– and watch her open all those packages of shiny new things for her home –all wrapped up with good wishes.

But my favorite part of the weekend was cooking up a lunch in the kitchen with Ani before the shower.  There’s just something so companionable about being elbow to elbow in he kitchen as you chop and mix and talk…

This salad was part of the lunch– bright and crunch and mango sweet.

1 bunch of kale, chopped finely
2 mangos, peeled and cut into chunks
2 avocados, peel and cut into big bits
1 small red bell pepper, cut into small bits
1 cup whole roasted almonds, cut in half
1/4 cup sesame seeds

Layer all the ingredients in a pretty bowl.

2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tab. honey
1 inch  chunk of ginger, peeled and minced
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Put all the dressing ingredients into a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake them together until they blend completely and pour them over the salad, just before you serve it up.

Chopped Kale Salad with Honey Ginger Dressing

IMG_8136Hey there–This was Sunday lunch a couple weeks ago. Tasted just right after a couple nights of heavy duty eating out with friends!  What can I say?– there’s so much crunch and it’s light and spiced just right.  We gave it two thumbs up!  Hope you give it a try…


4 cups chopped kale
1 tab. olive oil
1 avocado, cut in nice little chunks
1 cup canned garbanzo beans
1/3 cup chopped almonds
2 tab. sesame seeds
2 green onions

1/4 cup oil oil
2 tab. cider vinegar
1 tab. honey
1/2″ chunk fresh ginger, minced
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Shake together the ingredients for the dressing in a container with a tight lid until it’s all emulsified.  Taste to adjust for seasoning.  Set aside

Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan.  Drop in the kale and stir it just one minute to soften it a bit.

Put it onto a pretty salad bowl and then layer on the avocado, garbanzo beans, almonds, sesame seeds and green onion.  Pour on the dressing and enjoy with a sturdy chunk of good bread…


Kale & Apple Salad with Pecans and Maple Dressing

IMG_7415Hello there eating friends– When we rolled back home from a super eating weekend in San Francisco with kids, who know all the best places to dine, it was hard to think of one more big meal.  So dinner that night was salad, pure and simple.  It was hearty enough with some lovely crunch, but light enough to not feel, once again, like we’d happily overeaten.  A perfect post vacay meal.

4 hardy kale leaves
2 slices bacon (optional)
1 Granny Smith apple
1/3 cup pecans

1/4 cup olive oil
3 tab. maple syrup
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
2 shakes salt
2 grinds of fresh pepper

Toast the pecans for just 5 or 6 minutes at 350 degrees (watch they don’t overcook!)  Chop the bacon to small pieces and cook til done just right.  Remove the bits from the pan and drain them on a paper towel.  Cut the stems from the kale leaves and toss them out.  Then chop the leaves into tidy bite size bits.  Remove the core and dice the apple to small pieces.
Then layer the kale, bacon, apple and pecans all on a nice plate.

In a small container with a tight lid, shake together the oil, syrup, vinegar, salt and pepper until they are complete emulsified.  Pour over the salad when you’re ready to eat.  Enjoy!

Easy Eggs with Peppers & Kale

IMG_3457Hi all–  My mom came for breakfast to see all my China pictures.  Only a mom would volunteer to sit through all 406 of my favorite pics!!  But first we started out with some muffins and eggs.  I love this fool proof recipe– tender with a nice little kale and pepper bits thrown in.  It’s a standby “friends for breakfast” recipe.   I think you’d like it too.

5 eggs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup (8 oz.) small curd cottage cheese
1 cup colby jack cheddar, grated
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped to bits
1/2 cup orange bell pepper, chopped to bits
1 cup kale, chopped fine

Beat the eggs and then stir in the flour and baking powder.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and spoon it all in to a 9″ or 10″ pie pan sprayed with cooking spray.
Pop it into a 400 degree oven and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake 20-25 minutes more.  It’s that easy!