Hello, January! Hello, feeling great again! We have been planning this January round of Whole30 since last September. Knowing that it was coming, we really indulged around Christmas. Cookies for breakfast, beers at noon, sure! Do it all! That was fun, and it was neat to eat and drink whatever, but boy, were we ready for January 2 to start fresh. One of the first things I wanted to make was my favorite Whole30 kale salad, a yummy fun dish with blueberries, coconut, and pepitas!
My husband has been hard to sell on kale, but I finally won him over by adding blueberries to this salad. (I swear, blueberries have to be a controlled substance in our house. He can eat an entire clamshell container of blueberries in one standing. I say standing and not sitting because he can’t even last long enough to get to the table. It goes: identify blueberries, shove blueberries in mouth, close fridge door. Seriously.) I originally made it with raspberries over the summer during our first round of Whole30. As great as it is with raspberries, I found that the blueberries add an extra brightness that’s impossible to resist.
We bought a ton of unsweetened coconut during our June Whole30 and I was struggling to find ways to use it up. My friend had made a somewhat similar salad a year or so before, and it called for sweetened coconut flakes instead. I figured why not try a switch and was glad I did! Throwing in the pepitas was pure originality on my part. Who doesn’t love a good crunch in a salad?
I made this for my family as a side salad (paired with a turkey BLT entree salad) just after Christmas. I worried that they might not be as excited about it as I was, but I was very mistaken! Everybody gobbled it up, which means this Whole30 kale salad can make a believer out of non-kale people AND non-salad people alike!
- 4 c kale (pre washed and cut)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil (or coconut or avocado oil)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 c shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/4 c blueberries
- 1/4 c pepitas
- Place kale in bowl and pour oil and salt on top.
- Massage the oil and salt into the kale leaves for approximately 2 minutes until greens reduce slightly in volume and color changes to a brighter green.
- Add in coconut, berries, and nuts and mix until evenly distributed.
- Serve and top with finishing salt if desired.
I’m sure the massaging sounds a bit ridiculous but it’s crucial! Not only does massaging the kale break down the most fibrous parts in the leaves, but it also cuts the bitterness substantially. It’s also a great way to ensure even oil distribution across the kale, which means the coconut and salt stick better. Especially since this salad doesn’t have a dressing, thorough massaging is key to its success.
It’s easy to swap the blueberries for another berry, but I find blackberries work especially well. Strawberries and raspberries both add a slightly sweeter character to the salad. Blackberries preserve the tartness that you also get with blueberries.
You can also swap out the pepitas for another nut or seed of your choosing. (I know Whole30 says to use pumpkin seeds/pepitas in extreme moderation, so this isn’t an “everyday” Whole30 kale salad!) I have incorporated cashews before to great success! However, be cautious of the salt level of any nuts you add. Massaging the salt in with the kale leaves does a sufficient job of seasoning the salad if you wish to garnish it with salt as well.
And of course, if you aren’t doing a Whole 30 or you just wish to add some cheese to it, do! Some crumbled feta or even a blue cheese works a trick with these flavors.
This salad is extra great because you can keep it in the fridge and enjoy it cold for a day or two after you make it. I take some extra in for lunch when I need a second vegetable to round out my meal. It’s a bit of a treat! I hope you try it and love it, too!