Esalen Kale Salad

In Nutrition, Recipes by Pamela OlerLeave a Comment

Many of our patients are down-right scared of anything green unless of course it’s a green M&M!

When I ask people whether they have ever eaten kale, they often tell me they’ve heard of it, but they wouldn’t know it if they saw it.  Kale is loaded with nutrients.  1 cup of cooked kale contains only 36 calories but it contains 350% of the RDA for vitamin A (you don’t have to be concerned with vitamin A toxicity since this is whole vitamin A as nature intended.) and 89% of the RDA of Vitamin C.  It’s considered a super-food by many due to its purported beneficial effects on liver function, cholesterol metabolism as well as mental decline.

Kale can be chopped up raw and added to salads in small amounts or sautéed lightly with olive oil, grass fed butter and a squeeze of lemon and garlic. Or try braising chopped kale with chopped tart apples.  Drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar and serve with walnuts sprinkled on top.  It’s a great addition to smoothies and makes fabulous “chips” to satisfy that salty chip craving.

Leafy greens are important to your overall health, they play a role in  your immune system, help detoxify your body and even help to balance hormones.  We prefer you eat your veggies, but for those of you who refuse, we do carry dehydrated kale and other essential vegetables in capsule form in our office.

Here is my absolute favorite Kale recipe!

Kale Salad

This recipe is from the Esalen Cookbook.
It’s incredibly filling, looks beautiful and just makes you feel good!
I’ll take a picture next time I make it and post it, it really is beautiful!

1/2 Tamari Soy Sauce (you could probably use regular soy sauce)
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 medium size red onion
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 pound fresh kale
1/2 sunflower sprouts (optional)
1 avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced shitake or crimini mushrooms (or whatever you can find) (optional)

  • Combine tamari soy sauce and lemon juice in a bowel.  Slowly dribble in the oil as you whisk vigorously.  Slice the onion into thin half-moons and marinate in the dressing as you prepare the rest of the salad.
  • Toast the seeds in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat until seeds are just golden and fragant.  Toast each seed type separately as their size requires varying roasting times.  Cool to room temperature.
  • De-stem the kale cutting out the main central vein.  Stack the kale leaves and slice into 1/4 inch riboons.  This is the most important step, so take your time.  The success of this recipe lies in cutting the kale into small ribbons and in compltely massaging the kale with the dressing.
  • Toss the seeds, sprouts, and kale together with the marinated onions and as much dressing as necessary to lightly but completed dress the kale.  Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands.  Add the avocado and the mushrooms and toss again with your hands.



  • This is VERY filling, the first time I made it I planned to have a full meal with it, NOT, we had the salad and saved our entree for the following evening!
  • I often will prepare the ingredients for the salad at the beginning of the week, store everything separately, and throw it together at the last minute for a great lunch ~ it only takes a minute and makes a great, healthy, filling lunch or dinner.

Go ahead, try a new vegetable, aim for at least one per week.  If you decide you don’t like this one, try the next one, I’ll try to post a new veggie recipe every week.

Bon Appétit

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