Whole Foods Kale Salad Copycat: Take 1

When I go to Whole Foods, one of the things I always pick up is their marinated kale from the salad bar. My body is a big fan of leafy greens like spinach and collards, so this salad, with a nutty, tahini taste, black sesame seeds, and carrots and red peppers for color contrast, hits the spot. Kale has been getting its time in the spotlight recently, thanks to its super nutritional profile. This article from WebMD, which calls kale “the queen of greens,” says the vegetable is resplendent with calcium (15% of the daily requirement!), vitamins A, B6, C, and K, as well as magnesium, copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

With Whole Foods prices being what they are, I decided to experiment with making it myself. This is what I did on my first attempt (note that I completely forgot about the carrot and pepper!), with ideas to refine it for the future.

  • 16-oz bag of cut, prewashed kale (You could also buy a bundle of whole leaves; I just didn’t find it in my grocery store.)
  • 8-10 T hummus (Go with your favorite brand/flavor, but my suggestion? Roasted garlic.)
  • 1T olive oil
  • lt

  • Lemon juice to taste (I used half a large lemon.)

What I did was to rinse the leaves again for good measure, then mix u the other ingredients. (I ended up mixing with my [extra clean] hands, because raw kale leaves are no match for any kind of spoon.) But in the future, here’s what I’d recommend:

Don’t forget the carrot and red pepper like I did! Buy a bag of shredded carrot, or shred your own. Slice the red pepper into thin strips. It’s less of a priority for me to have the sesame seeds, but add them if you want (toasted?), to taste.

Do a little more prep of the kale leaves. Most important: remove the stems. Also, chop the leaves a little more. I wouldn’t want them to be super finely chopped, but I would recommend chopping them into more bite-sized pieces.

Mix the other ingredients together as a dressing. I’m guessing on my next go-round that it’ll be much easier to mix the kale and the tahini, oil and lemon if I have mixed them together first. I’d also add a little water to the mixture, to thin it out, as the Whole Foods original dressing has a slushy consistency.

After the fact, I noticed there are others out there who share my love of the Whole Foods kale salad. Here are some of their recommendations, shared on a Whole Foods message board for another kale recipe. I like the suggestion of pairing chili powder and mango with the kale.

Do you like raw kale? How do you prepare it? What are your tips for making the tough leaves tender and tasty?

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