Kale Taco Salad
We were in Miami a couple of months ago. A little pocket of vegan heaven. And we ate at this place called Love Life Cafe way too many times. The main thing that kept drawing me back? Their kale taco salad. I had it every time we went and it was INSANE. I actually suffered kale taco withdrawal when I got back home so I tried it out myself and I’m not joking, this tastes EXACTLY like the one I had out there.
The key to this salad is the layers. It has 5. Look.
It’s light while being filling at the same time which makes it the perfect dinner or lunch. I really can’t get enough of it! I recently served it at Arjun’s birthday party as one of the salads for the mummies and daddies. They loved it. Just letting you know that it’s not just me. I have checked with others too 😊😂.
Makes enough for 2 adults plus a toddler for dinner
1 bag of kale (I used a 180g bag of Ocado’s organic curly kale - make sure the kale you use is soft)
1 tin of black beans - drained (I used Biona organic black beans)
2 peppers (chopped)
1 handful of ready sliced jalapenos (chopped)
1 cup of cherry tomatoes (chopped)
1 avocado (cubed)
optional: sweetcorn or sliced red onion
Tortilla chips to crumble on top
Chipotle Lime Dressing
1/3 cup almond or cashew yoghurt (I used Nush plain almond yoghurt)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 lime
a pinch of ground cumin
1/2 tsp of smoked paprika
2 tsps apple cider vinegar
1 loosely packed cup of coriander leaves
1/2 tsp of salt
ground black pepper to taste
Lentil Walnut ‘Meat’
1 cup walnuts
1 cup brown lentils (I’ve used puy and beluga before with success)
2 tbsps of passata
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp roasted cumin powder
2 tsps mixed dried herbs
a small handful of finely chopped parsley
salt and black pepper to taste
Make the Dressing
Whizz up all the dressing ingredients in a high speed blender and set aside. This can be made about 3 days in advance.
Dressed Kale Layer
Prepare the kale by removing all the centre hard bits (this takes a while) and then cut into shreds and place in a large bowl.
Pour half of the dressing onto the kale, mix well and pop the bowl in the refrigerator for at least an hour. I prefer to keep it there overnight so the leaves become really nice and soft.
Once your kale is out of the fridge, (at this stage divide the kale out into bowls if you’re plating up the salad individually) and top with the peppers, tomatoes, avocado, jalapenos and any other toppings you’ve decided to add (e.g. sweet corn or red onion). Toss it all together if you’re serving in one big bowl. (Don’t toss if you’re serving individually - as pictured above). Set aside.
Make the Lentil Walnut ‘Meat’*
Pulse the ingredients 3 or 4 times in a food processor and set aside.
If you’re serving the salad in one big bowl, leave the lentil walnut mixture on the side and tell your guests to top their salad at the time of serving. The same goes for the tortilla chips. If serving individually, then crumbled a little of the mixture over each one and a few crushed tortilla chips.
Finally - top the whole thing with a generous squiggle of dressing. If I’m serving as one big bowl I’ll usually pop the dressing into a squeezy bottle so that guests can just help themselves.
You can keep this in the fridge for about a day after it’s been made.
*You can use this to fill just about anything - tacos, roast peppers, burritos, lettuce cups. If you’re using it as a filling I would recommend sautéing the spices in a tbsp of oil first and then adding the remaining ingredients into a pan and letting them all cook together for 5 minutes or so, so that the flavours really come together.