Wilted Kale Salad with a Creamy Chipotle Dressing

Wilted Kale Superfood Recipe

 

Inspired by the classic kale & avocado salad, this dish was a hit in New York when I made it, almost on a daily basis, for everyone at The Plant. (Postscript: The Plant is no longer open.)

Chipotle peppers are jalapenos that have been smoked, and so are not raw. However, I love to use them as they have such a great taste and you don’t need to use many! I have provided an alternative combination of ingredients in the recipe as a substitute to using jalapenos that will give a similarly distinctive taste.

This is a really hearty meal with a kick that’s perfect for those cold winter days!

Serves 2

For the wilted kale

  • 11 oz (300 g) kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup baby tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)

For the dressing

  • 2 avocados
  • 1 chipotle pepper* soaked for 2+ hours
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Chipotle soak water as needed to blend

*If not using chipotle peppers, substitute with 1/2 teaspoon each of onion powder, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and tamari (or nama shoyu).

Assembly

  1. Remove the kale stems, and then wash and cut the kale into small pieces. Place into a bowl, add salt and start to massage the kale until it wilts and takes on a ‘cooked’ texture.
  2. Add the tomatoes and hemp seeds to the bowl and mix in by hand.
  3. Blend all dressing  ingredients in a high-speed blender until creamy, and then mix into kale by hand.

j

FREE PDF DOWNLOAD

Click Here to Download the Recipe PDF

Just click here and enter your name & email

Want to know when we publish a new recipe?

Enter your name and email to get an email every time we publish a new recipes.

...PLUS, I'll send you my 10 Most Popular Recipes as an eBook, totally free.



155 Comments

    • Russell James
      Reply
      Posted

      You can use them, but since they are a lot softer than kale, you will have to go a lot easier on them when wilting them. To be honest, you might want to miss that stage out completely.

      You could also mix in some shredded cabbage with them to stop it from going too mushy.

  1. AbbieNH78
    Reply
    Posted

    Where is the soak water coming from? Are you supposed to soak the Chipotle pepper before it is used in this recipe??

  2. Crklein1967
    Reply
    Posted

    This looks great. I’m definitely going to make it.  I have 2 questions:  About how many cups or handfuls is 11 oz of Kale? Also, is it a mistake in the recipe where it says 2 Tbs and then Cups of Lemon juice?  Is it tablespoons?

  3. Elisgram
    Reply
    Posted

    I just finished the last bite of this wonderful salad………….heaven.  Thanks, Russell for the great recipe it wil lbecome one of my favorites.

  4. Thebigvoodoo
    Reply
    Posted

    You should really specify in your recipe what kind of salt you’re using to wilt your kale.  There’s a huge difference between coarse kosher salt and running table salt; one may not be enough and the other may be too salty.

    • Russell James
      Reply
      Posted

      Hi, sure – I would only use Himalyan salt, definitely never table salt as it has no nutritional value.

      Course will not work either, that needs to be ground for it to get into the kale.

      • Debra Hargersilver
        Reply
        Posted

        Did you mean “coarse” salt? What about Mediterranean or plain Sea salts? I understand they have a different pH and they trigger a more alkaline pH in the body as well…
        What about those with iodized labeling?

        • Russell James
          Reply
          Posted

          Yes, thanks.

          The Mediterranean salt and seas salts I have seen are always white, which they are not supposed to be. I only use salt that has a colour still in it, such as Himalayan (pink), celtic (grey). There are many other coloured salts too.

          Using coloured salts means that the mineral content is still intact.

          I have read that Himalayan salt balances your body Ph, but I haven’t seen how that compares to regular sea salt, as I don’t use it.

          You only need to use iodized salt if you feel you’re low in iodine, and don’t get it from any other source. Sea salts like Celtic sea salt contains trace amounts of iodine. A better source would be seaweeds.

  5. Mirjam
    Reply
    Posted

    Here they only sell loose leaves of kale. How much gram do you recommend when you say it calls for 2 heads? Can’t wait to try to make this (: Thx for sharing. Looking forward to your answer. Thx Russell!

  6. Ashleigh Lewis
    Reply
    Posted

    I love Kale! This salad is delicious! I crave it now and sometimes I wish I could eat it everyday. Variety is the spice of life though, so I will definitely be trying more of your amazing recipes. 

  7. Ko-Shin
    Reply
    Posted

    I would really love to see your take on creating indian classic dishes raw vegan style! especially how to create a raw vegan version of the classic masala dosa with coconut chutney and a sambar!!! 

  8. Gaby
    Reply
    Posted

    I love this salad,  make a double or triple batch because you will want to eat more of it. it’s so good! 🙂

  9. Gaby
    Reply
    Posted

    Actually salt is very healthy for the body to maintain its internal homeostasis. your kidneys believe it or not actually need it in order to function correctly with in the loop of hindley for water re-absorption. The salt is also good for your body’s nervous system in that it helps conduct the nerve impulses with in the body, the sodium being a metal acts as an excellent conductor. Very High amounts of salt are not recommended for the body but exact quantities very from person to person depending on lifestyle factors such as, levels exercise, diet, and family history health history. Sea salt is also a great source of trace minerals as well as other electrolytes. 🙂

    • Jane
      Reply
      Posted

      Charlotte Gerson (daughter of Dr Max Gerson) turns 90 this year. She is obnoxiously healthy, uses computers, send e-mails and browses through new medical journals (so her mind is sharp & healthy too.  She was born into a salt free home and has never willingly eaten salt in her life and says it’s harmful to the human body.  I think 90 years and still going strong is a pretty good test of if a lack of salt will harm us.

      • Russell James
        Reply
        Posted

        Thanks, Jane.

        I tend to be using less salt these days.

        I think though, to say that no salt is good because Charlotte Gerson is 90 and doesn’t use it, and using that as proof, is less than conclusive.

        There’s plenty of 90 year olds that use salt.  I would also say that everything else she does also contributes to her health, not just having limited salt intake.

    • Desireebro
      Reply
      Posted

      In addition to Gaby’s response… the type of salt that you are referring to that is not good for the body is in fact table salt which is a man made salt. Our body needs, and  utilizes the salt from the earth. This includes sea salts and another excellent salt is The Original Himalayan Crystal Salt.
      I hope this helps. 

  10. Davis_tarad
    Reply
    Posted

    I’m in love! Just made this and ate it. It’s surprisingly filling and fantastically yummy!
    Thanks Russell

  11. Gill
    Reply
    Posted

    Ha! 4 years since the original post – and here I am – a newbie – eating kale and avocado salad – and all my questions already answered below! I over-glugged the agave and ended up with something a tad on the sweet side – will be more careful next time!

  12. betty
    Reply
    Posted

    Hi Russell!

    OMG this is my FAVORITE salad! I crave it. I simply cannot wait to make more of your recipes. They are so much simpler than many others I have tried. Thank you for sharing your passion

  13. Laura
    Reply
    Posted

    Ohhh! I just made this, as a matter of fact I am just eating it. I knew it would be good! I just had to use savoy cabbage(??) as no kale in this country. I’ll keep looking for kale because I am going to make this to all my friends and family, I love it.

    ..and anyway your website is so inspirational and beautiful, thank you. And once I thought raw food would be dull, mhah!

  14. K&M
    Reply
    Posted

    This recipe makes for a perfect Christmas dish. We use our biggest round serving dish and shape the Wilted Kale Salad into a wreath… then, place crackers in the center. We’ve been making this recipe as a wreath every Christmas for the last 3 years. People really love the way it looks and tastes!

  15. Marion
    Reply
    Posted

    Russell,
    I made this dish for lunch today. It was awesome! So hearty and a real filler. It is Sunday and our health food store is closed, so I went to our local grocer and found pine nuts to substitute for the hemp seeds. It was so delicious! I also liked how quickly I could make this – work full time and making quick raw food dishes is very appealing.

  16. Angela
    Reply
    Posted

    Russell!

    You are a genius!

    I made this for myself yesterday and it was amazing! Just utterly delightful… Who knew kale could be this good??

    I didn’t use chipotle peppers, and I forgot to add the hemp seeds! But it still turned out to be awesome 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing this, and I can’t wait to try your other recipes!

    With lots of love and gratitude,
    Angela

  17. Caroline
    Reply
    Posted

    Am currently eating this recipe as I write.
    Party in my mouth!!!!!

    I’ll be so sad when my bowl reaches empty. Thank you for posting such a gorgeous recipe!

  18. Tina
    Reply
    Posted

    Hi Russell,

    Looks very delicious.
    How much is 4 heads of kale in cups or grams?
    Can I use something else instead of the hemp seeds or leave them out? (I have sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and flax seeds)

    Thanks 🙂

    From Russell: Use around 1kg of kale and the hemp seeds can be left out or replaced with any of your favourite seeds.

  19. Jennie
    Reply
    Posted

    Hi Russell,

    Great recipe. A few questions.

    Can I substitute hulled hemp seeds with hulled sesame seeds?

    Can I substitute agave with raisins or honey?

    (I live in Asia, American ingredients are hard to find.)

    From Russell:

    Yes to both questions! Honey would be better than raisins.

  20. saskia
    Reply
    Posted

    I made this today- didn’t have everything (hemp seeds) so added sunflower, and used a regular tomatoe. I can’t wait to try it tomorrow since I heard it was better the second day. yum!

  21. Rita.A.W.
    Reply
    Posted

    OK, I have looked and looked for you recipe book, not seeing it. Do you have one? If so, what’s the title? -Rita.A.W.

    From Russell: Wow, so many people asking me for a book! Thanks 🙂 It’s a work in progress.

  22. JenDiggity
    Reply
    Posted

    I love kale-avocado salad so very much and I can’t wait to try this version. Regarding concern about the salt, you can always rinse the kale when you’re done wilting it!

    From Russell: That’s very true, yes you can. In fact I have done that before when needing to tone down the saltiness, thanks for reminding me 🙂

  23. Nicole
    Reply
    Posted

    I would like to try this recipe out, but I am really concerned about the amount of salt that’s being used. Is there any way to cut it down to at least half the amount or omit it entirely?

    From Russell: Hi Nicole. The kale won’t wilt without the use of salt so you can’t omit it entirely, but you can try using half the amount, yes. Remember the amounts shown are for a big batch to serve up to 6 people, so if you’re making a smaller portion for just you the salt used would be only 1 teaspoon or less.

  24. Kristi
    Reply
    Posted

    Please specify the type of chipotles used in this recipe. Found some canned, but the ingredient list didn’t look good. Also found some dried from Frontier. I have looked in a few different groceries stores in my area with no luck. Help…

    From Russell: Hi Kristi, use the dried ones and soak them until they are fully reconstituted, this could take several hours or overnight. Hope that helps.

  25. Denise
    Reply
    Posted

    I live in France (Paris) and, as far as I know, can’t get kale here. Is there another green that could make a good substitution for kale? Thanks so much….

    From Russell: Spinach works well and doesn’t need to be softened as much.

  26. melissa
    Reply
    Posted

    i made 2 versions…with and without chipotles. the one with chipotles is a far better recipe. it is so good. the next day its even better. it starts to get a cheesy flavor. mmmmm

  27. Benjy
    Reply
    Posted

    I’m a little confused by the wilting directions. You pour the salt on the stemless kale leaves and then rub them until they are “cooked”? How long does this take? Do you rub them constantly? This looks like a great recipe.

    From Russell: The “wilting directions”? Are you saying my directions are wilting ? Lol. Okay, the wilting: mix the salt with the kale and massage for about 30 seconds to a minute, by which time the kale should have wilted, you’ll see what I mean when you try it.

  28. Lana
    Reply
    Posted

    Russell,
    I’ve been meaning to try this recipe since you posted it last Dec & made it today. It is by far the GREATEST kale dish I have every tasted. I am so hooked & sent my husband out to get more kale today as I will be eating this daily!

    Thanks for such a great blog & awesome recipes.

    Lana~AKA…RJL:)

  29. Russell
    Reply
    Posted

    Hi Melissa, chipotle peppers are smoked jalepinos, so yes, it would work, but you wouldn’t get the smoked flavour in the salad. Test the spicyness before adding the chilli powder.

  30. Russell
    Reply
    Posted

    Caroline,

    I would start with something like 2t onion powder, 2t cumin, 1t chilli powder, 1t garlic powder and 1T tamari/nama shoyu and adjust to your taste.

  31. Carla
    Reply
    Posted

    Just so you know, this salad has been a favorite amongst clients and friends… I made it for a bunch of us attending the Institute for Integrative Nutrition who are staying with me and we took it for lunch for two days straight. You’re keeping us alive!

    P.S. I got the camera…and the lense! Watch out world!

  32. Carla
    Reply
    Posted

    Hi Russell!

    I FINALLY got to try the salad. There was never any left over at The Plant for me to enjoy! Now I had it ALL to myself. My husband loved it too. Thanks for sharing your recipe. It was awesome.

    NYC misses you!

    Cheers,
    Carla

  33. Kristen
    Reply
    Posted

    This is the greatest salad in the world!!!! We miss it so much here at The Plant! I think i’ve had dreams about it.

    This recipe is perfect for getting your greens, is sooo filling, and is nice and tender instead of leafy and chewy.

    Awesome recipe! I have a little variation, too (hope you don’t mind, Russell!): use sesame tahini instead of a avocado to get an extra calcium boost! Woo!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to incorporate raw food into
everyday living?

Check out my online Raw Food Academy Courses below

Weekday Raw

Raw Chef at Home

Raw Desserts at Home

Raw Chocolate

Raw Fermentation

Raw Food Styling