Lately I’ve had something of a raw kale obsession. Perhaps it’s my longing for spring and the smells of freshly cut grass that have me chopping kale into bite-sized chunks, massaging it until it looks good and relaxed (kale gets so stressed out), and then dressing it with my Creamy Garlic Dressing. I find myself making it in larger and larger portions with leftovers in mind.
It goes well with almost any favorite salad additions – olives, avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers, carrots, celery, red onions, oranges, raisins… But the best part is the kale – rich with chlorophyll – sunshine in leaf form. Each bite takes me to warmer days ahead.
The dressing reminds me of a creamy garlic dressing that was popular at a Des Moines restaurant called Gino’s but without the cholesterol since my dressing owes its thick creaminess to the magician-like qualities of raw cashews.
One bite of this kale might create an obsession in you as well. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
- 1/3 cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup water (plus additional water for soaking cashews)
- 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp low-sodium tamari
- 1 heaping Tbsp fresh cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch curly kale
- Any favorite raw vegetables, chopped (for the kale salad)
Cover raw cashews in water and let them soak while you chop the kale and salad ingredients. (The longer the cashews soak, the creamier the dressing will be. Soaking for a few hours is ideal, but not a deal-breaker.) Pull the kale leaves from the center rib, and roughly chop the leaves. Move the chopped leaves to a bowl and massage them for a couple of minutes until the kale takes on the appearance of steamed kale.
To make the dressing: blend cashews, ¼ cup water, lemon juice, tamari, cilantro, and garlic in blender until creamy. (If you’re making the dressing ahead of time, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to five days. The dressing will thicken over time.) Toss the kale with dressing until the leaves are evenly coated and then add whatever fruits and vegetables you like.
Alteration ideas: Raw garlic is much stronger than cooked garlic, and so feel free to reduce the recipe to one clove if you’d prefer. You can also adjust whatever herbs (or combination of herbs) you’d like. Just substitute your favorite herb for cilantro. Some ideas include dill, parsley, oregano, thyme, or basil. This dressing is also wonderful on spinach and romaine salads or as a garlicky dip for carrot and celery sticks, cauliflower, and broccoli florets.