This is the first salad recipe I’ve ever posted, and there’s a reason for that: I’m the sad, sad queen of letting bags of leafy greens turn to slime in my fridge, because salads don’t excite me enough to make the effort to, you know, put them in a bowl. Until now. I’m not exaggerating when I say I’ve been eating citrus kale salad almost every day, because it’s wonderful and delicious and beautiful. Between the slight bitterness of the kale and a tangy dressing, the oranges taste extra sweet, and their juiciness is everything I never knew my salads were missing.
I had a very similar salad at a friend’s house (the same meal, incidentally, where we were served this awesome quiche). I found myself thinking about it a couple of weeks ago and texted her to find out about the dressing she used, and it launched my current obsession. I love that I can prep all the components ahead of time and have them ready in the fridge, and I’m looking forward to a daily salad for the first time in my liiiiife.
So: you need some thinly sliced oranges. I’ve been buying both cara cara oranges and navel oranges because the gorgeousness of having both of them on my salad makes me really happy. Plus, my 4-year-old thinks pink oranges are thebomb.com. I cut off the two ends, then slice off the peel, and cut the oranges into thin slices. (You could be really fancy and cut between all the sections, but don’t bother.) You can also use clementines, or canned mandarin oranges.
You also need a super simple dressing made of lemon juice (lime works, too!), olive oil, honey, and salt and pepper. See the notes below the recipe for info on the ratio and how to make this in any quantity you want. I like to make it in a little jar so I can store it in the fridge, then shake it up and dress my salad each day!
Then, of course, you need some kale. You can buy it already cut up, but I actually prefer to buy it in a bunch and pick the leafy parts off of the ribs myself, since I’ve found that you have to kind of sort through the bagged kind for the rib pieces they missed.
The key, key, most important thing to a delicious citrus kale salad is to rub the kale. I like the dressing to be really light and evenly distributed, so I drizzle it on and then scrunch, squeeze, rub, and massage the kale leaves for about 30 seconds. (You could also do this with just a pinch of salt.) They get much more tender and turn dark green, and it also makes it look like about half the amount you started with!
Then just load up your bowl with your dressed greens, a sprinkle of toasted almonds, some craisins, and so.much.delicious.citrus. Seriously, I aim for an orange slice in each bite.
I’ve mostly been eating this alongside whatever else I’ve scrounged up for lunch, but we’ve also had it as a refreshing side with soup, pasta, and anything on the grill. It would be such a beautiful dish to add to a brunch table or a wedding or baby shower. Basically, the right time to eat citrus kale salad is every day. Join me!Print
For the dressing (makes enough for 4-6 servings):
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon honey (or use agave to make it vegan)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- pepper, to taste
For the salad (quantities are per serving):
- 2 handfuls chopped or torn kale, thick ribs removed (about 1 cup)
- 1 small orange or about 1/2 a large orange, peel trimmed off and thinly sliced (or clementine sections, or canned mandarin oranges)
- dried cranberries to taste
- toasted sliced almonds to taste
- To make the dressing, combine the ingredients in a bowl or a small jar and whisk or shake to combine.
- To make the salad, add handfuls of kale to a large bowl (I use 2 handfuls per serving, or about 1 cup of chopped kale per serving). Drizzle on dressing – start with about 1 Tablespoon of dressing per serving and add more if desired. Using your hands, “rub” the kale leaves by scrunching and squeezing handfuls of them for about 30 seconds, until the leaves are tender and dark green.
- Top each serving of kale with the thinly sliced orange, cranberries, and almonds to taste!
This salad was inspired by my friend, Anna. Hers also included feta cheese, which is another delicious addition!
The dressing recipe is adapted from this one by Jamie Oliver (I reduced the olive oil for a lighter, more citrusy dressing).
The ratio for the dressing is 1 Tablespoon olive oil:1 Tablespoon lemon juice:1 teaspoon honey. Scale up or down as you need to!
You can also use lime juice in the dressing.
The kale, sliced oranges, and dressing all keep well in the fridge. I haven’t experimented with storing the already dressed/rubbed salad.