Kale and Carrot Salad

May 11, 2010(updated on July 1, 2022)


Last Sunday, my beloved Headhouse Square Farmers’ Market reopened for the the 2010 season. It was such a joy to stroll the Headhouse Shambles with my regular Sunday morning pals and greet the many familiar farmers. As so often happens at the farmers market, I bought more than easily fit into my meal plan for last week (we had a couple dinners out last week, as well as some produce already in the fridge). I wasn’t worried though, as part of the delight of buying remarkably fresh food direct from the people who grew it is that if store well, it lasts far longer than similar grocery store produce.

I didn’t make it the market yesterday, choosing instead to spend my Sunday with family, celebrating Mother’s Day over brunch (I’d like to say that I was being smart, buying more than I could use, knowing I wouldn’t make it the following week, but I truly wasn’t thinking that far in advance).

Heading into this evening, I knew that dinner would be the last of yesterday’s leftover quiche (spinach and broccoli, brought by my cousin Angie) and a batch of potato salad that I’m testing for my July Grid article. Sadly though, I needed one more thing before I could call dinner complete. You see, I have this green vegetable rule. That rule (drilled into the meal-planning section of my brain by my mother) states that there must be a green vegetable served with my nightly meal. The only the events which permits the waiving of this rule are infirmity or family vacation.

kale salad

Poking around my crisper, trying to satisfy my need for some vegetal (potatoes do not count), I came across the kale I bought at the market last week, still looking quite crisp and verdant. Immediately inspired, I pulled three slim carrots out of their bag and headed towards the countertop with purpose.

I chopped the kale into narrow ribbons, washed it carefully in a salad spinner and combined it with the now-grated carrots. I dressed it with three tablespoons each walnut oil and rice wine vinegar, as well as some salt and pepper. Using tongs, I tossed it all together and then let it sit for a bit while I got the rest of dinner together.

After about fifteen minutes, the kale leaves had relaxed and the carrots had married with the dressing, turning it a pleasing orange. Don’t be fooled by the picture above, it was taken just after the initial tossing. When it came time to eat, the salad was far less voluminous.

The nice thing about this salad is that it is flexible. A combination of toasted sesame and olive oils work just as well if you don’t have walnut oil (or, if you have a bottle you hate to use because you see it as precious, do your taste buds a favor and use some here. I’ve discovered that hoarding oils isn’t worth it, eventually they go rancid and then you feel silly for having wasting something so lovely).

If you do use the walnut oil and want to really bring its flavor out, top individual portions with a few toasted walnuts (don’t stir them directly in, they’ll loose their crunch). Slivered red onion also makes a nice addition. Or, if you’ve chosen the sesame oil path, replace the salt with a few dashes of soy sauce (or Bragg’s, if your kitchen runs to such things) for a faux asian flavor profile.

Oh, and if you have leftovers, this is one of those rare dressed green salads that actually can survive the night in the fridge without harm. It’s really good the next day topped with saucy pinto beans or a few crumbles of goat cheese.

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21 thoughts on "Kale and Carrot Salad"

  • This sounds good. I am an “Engine Two” devotee, so I would not use any bottled oils, but rather make a dressings from walnuts, water, garlic, and Bragg’s.

    Excited, too, that you are local to Philadelphia!

  • What a fabulous and easy to boot recipe. I have a bunch of red swiss chard in my crisper – I’m sure it’ll be delicious if I follow your recipe and use it instead of the kale. Any day that I can get greens into my meals is a good day! Thanks!


  • No joke I just stopped by my neighbors’ last night, and they had made this exact salad. Carrots shaved into ribbons instead of grated, sesame oil, and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds and pine nuts. But the same salad. I snuck a taste, and it was delicious.

  • Bonnie, thank you!

    Char, I’d never heard of the Engine Two diet until now. I’m intrigued!

    Deena, how funny! It’s definitely a Portland-friendly salad!

    1. Raw kale! Really! This was a flatter, almost finger-leaf kale. When I have my choice, I go with the ripply lacinato kale, but you can use any variety for this salad.

  • This looks so good. I love salads that can be prepared at least a few hours ahead of time, and unfortunately I always have to be reminded that there are things to do with sturdy greens other than steam-saute. Can’t wait to try this!

  • oh yes, I adhere to the green veg rule too 🙂
    And I buy tons of kale, and had chopped some into a green salad, but never made the whole salad out of it. I like how you think! I’m definitely going to try this. Do you think it would work with chard too? I just got 2 big bunches at market this morning.

  • Robin, I know, I get into ruts with greens too. It’s nice to shake it up a little!

    Margo, I’ve never tried it with chard, but I imagine it would work similarly. You would want to make sure to stem the leaves well though, as I don’t think that the chard stems would soften in the same way that the kale stems do.

    1. Thank you, Christine! It’s one of my favorite words and I’m always looking for ways to slip it into situations.

  • There is nothing more satisfying than a delicious salad with dinner. I make them rarely, but whenever I do I love them and have to remind myself to make them more often. I love having salads for lunch at work and too often I eat junk on the run.

  • I’ve made something similar and also shaved fennel into it. I love fennel and carrot in combination and the kale balances both of them very well.

  • My sister checked out this recipe after I told her about your site. She then made it for us when I visited her and it was great! She used pecan oil. On the second day we topped it with feta and pecans. I was impressed with how the kale had such a light and almost floral flavor.

  • Kale salad is something that I’ve just started making. Usually I throw a little lemon or orange zest in there with olive oil, a touch of good balsamic, and a dash of salt and pepper. I love the idea of using rice wine vinegar, though. I’ll have to try that next time.

  • Thank you, Christine! It’s one of my favorite words and I’m always looking for ways to slip it into situations.

  • Thanks for the recipe! It inspired me to make something similar with the feral collards from the garden, which I’m always snacking on raw anyways.

  • I love this salad! I tried something very similar at a hole-in-the-wall spot in Baltimore (along with a lovely roasted portobello spinach wrap), but that salad was made with EVOO and balsalmic vinegar, and also included halved grape tomatoes. It was delish!