Raw Kale, Cabbage & Jicama Salad

Raw Kale, Cabbage & Jicama Slaw To Market, To Market to Buy Some Fresh Greens
Home Again, Home Again for Salad it Seems

Greens were certainly the stars at yesterday’s farmers’ market—everything from mustard greens to arugula, green garlic to lettuce, spinach to kale. I came home with a most beautiful bunch of Russian Red Kale determined to prepare a raw kale salad we would both enjoy.

As my first attempt last week was way too lemony, change was in order. Loving the purple cabbage from the Farro Salad (and jicama all the time), both were added to today’s salad along with toasted walnuts and a handful of freshly grated pecorino cheese. The light lemon dressing brought it all together deliciously.

Raw kale?
For the last year or so, I’ve read a number of recipes for raw kale salads. I tried one somewhere a while ago that was a bit too tough and too chewy to ever want to try one again.

Russian Red Kale (c) jfhaugenUntil two weeks ago, that is, and our first  market of the season when a beautiful bunch of Russian Red Kale first caught my eye.

Kale and cabbage (and a number of other veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, rutabaga, arugula, and watercress) are part of the cabbage family of vegetables. These are all nutrient-rich cruciferous vegetables that are valuable additions to our diet throughout the year both raw and cooked.

Russian Red Kale
This is a particularly delicate and tender variety of kale and a great variety to use for kale salads. All varieties of kale will work, though the younger the leaves the more tender they’ll be. Some cooks recommend “massaging the leaves” as a way of tenderizing them. Otherwise, just choose Russian Red Kale—no massaging needed. Though in order to evenly coat the veggies, I prefer to use my hands when tossing them with the dressing.

How to chiffonade the kale
Thinly slicing the kale into slender shreds or chiffonade makes the kale less chewy and the salad similar to a coleslaw. Here are a few photos with instructions for quickly and efficiently making kale chiffonade.

Stack of Russian Kale (c) jfhaugenFirst, remove the stems. (Dice them and use them in a stir fry or a pot of soup.) Then stack a number of pieces of kale on top of one another.

Roll the Kale Stack Together (c) jfhaugen






Next, roll the stack together forming a tight cylinder.

Kale Chiffonade (c) jfhaugen




Thinly slice the cylinder to chiffonade the kale.

Warm weather, picnics and raw kale salad
With our warmer weather, salads appeal to me even more (though they are about my favorite food for all seasons). The kale, cabbage and jicama all stay crisp and tasty for at least a day (that’s as long we’ve had any leftover salad in our house to test), so this is also a perfect picnic salad. I’m even considering taking it camping with us.

I’d like to try other kale salad combinations; do you perhaps have a raw kale salad recipe you’d like to share?

Kale, Cabbage & Jicama Slaw (c) jfhaugenRaw Kale, Cabbage & Jicama Salad

This recipe makes a lot of salad, which is great, as it is as delicious the next day as the first day—so perfect for picnics, too.

Makes about 12 cups; 4-6 servings as a main dish salad

Kale Slaw Main Ingredients (c) jfhaugen1 bunch Russian Red Kale, 10 cups chiffonade
6 cups shredded purple cabbage
2-3 cups julienne jicama
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
½ cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped

1 medium clove garlic, crushed
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon stone ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon salt
Dozen twists freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Let the garlic sit in the fresh lemon juice while you prepare the salad ingredients to remove the “sharpness” from the garlic.

How to Julienne Jicama (c) jfhaugenCombine the kale chiffonade, shredded cabbage, jicama juliennes and lemon zest in a large bowl.

Prepare the Dressing: Use a fork to stir the mustard, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper into the lemon juice and garlic. Continue to whisk with the fork while slowly adding the olive oil until the dressing thickens. Use your hands to toss the vegetables with the dressing. Let the salad sit for at least 20 minutes in order to soften the kale and infuse the vegetables with the dressing.

Just before serving, toss in the toasted walnuts and grated pecorino cheese, holding back a little of each for garnishing the top of the salad.

Click here for a printable version of this recipe without images

8 thoughts on “Raw Kale, Cabbage & Jicama Salad

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  3. Have been trying to get the right combination of temperature and timing to make kale chips- seems they are either not crisp or burnt. I have put the oven as low as 200 and as high as 350 trying to get the right crunch without the burnt edges. Would love some advice.

    • Hi Anthea, did you see the recipe I have on this site for Kale Chips? I use a 225 degree oven for an hour, rotating the pan after 30 minutes. They come out quite crispy as they have enough time to thoroughly dry out. Hope this works for you.

  4. I will give this a try. I love raw kale in salads. Though I must say I have the privilege of picking young kale leaves on their way to maturity, fresh out of the garden. They are wonderfully tender and I toss them in with the other greens. I have a Kale & Apple Salad recipe. I would be happy to share. Would you like me to email it to you?

    • Ute, I’d love to try your Kale & Apple Salad. Would you be able to write it on this comment form so that others will also be able to try your recipe? That would be great. What a treat, Ute, to be able to pick the youngest leaves right out of your garden–which variety of kale is your favorite to use in salads?

      • I have the curly Kale growing in the garden.. Are you growing Kale?
        Here is the salad recipe:(I substituted turkey bacon for pancetta, since I don’t eat pork or red meat)
        12 servings
        2 cups pecans
        1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
        1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
        Kosher salt

        1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
        6 oz. thickly sliced pancetta, finely diced
        1/4 cup white wine vinegar
        2 tbsp. caper brine (from jar of capers)
        3 tbsp. pure maple syrup
        Freshly ground black pepper
        2 Granny Smith apples, cut into matchsticks
        1 large head radicchio, shredded
        One 8 oz. bunch Kale-stems discarded, leaves finely shredded
        3 tbsp.snipped fresh chives
        1 tbsp.chopped tarragon
        2 oz. shaved pecorino
        1. Preheat oven to 350. Cover pecans with water, in a bowl. Transfer to a sieve and shake out water. In another bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, cayenne & 1 2/2 tsp. salt. Add pecans and toss. Transfer to sieve and shake off excess coating. Arrange pecans on a parchment lined sheet and bake for 10-12 mins., till sugar is ligthly caramelized.
        2. In skillet, heat oil with pancetta & cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, till pancetta is browned. Strain pan drippings into a large bowl; whisk in the vinegar, caper brine & maple syrup & season dressing with salt & black pepper. Add the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon & pecorino & toss.
        Mound salad on plates, garnish with pecans and pancetta & serve.

        • Thank you, Ute, sounds delicious. Wonderful textures and colors and flavors–I have never thought of using the brine from capers. As I love capers, this would add a wonderful flavor balanced with the maple syrup. Definitely would like to try it. And, no, we aren’t growing kale this year, though we do have a lot of Swiss chard. The background photo on this site is of last year’s curly kale 😉

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