Coleslaw was a frequent dinner companion when I was growing up, and despite being a really picky eater, it was always a winner in my books. My parents made it simple and light, with an olive oil and lemon vinaigrette, and for a long time that’s how I thought all coleslaw was prepared. Then one day I discovered that thick, goopy, green mess they call coleslaw at fast food joints and chain restaurants. I thought to myself, “What’s the point of a salad if you’re going to drown it in mayonnaise?”. Well, that question has never been satisfactorily answered, but fortunately I have come across much more pleasant variations on the coleslaw theme since then. My favourite for the last year or so has been kale slaw – who knew you could slaw (and verb) anything?
They do a great job of it at Fresh on Bloor, in a tangy vinaigrette with really tender kale leaves, but I wanted to try something a little different for my own version. I feel like kale can stand up to a heavier, more assertive dressing, but slathering anything in mayo is definitely not my cup of tea. Avocado, however… that I can do. Full of healthy fats and protein, creamy as can be, and oh so tasty… avocado wins every time!
And so does this salad. Seriously, you’re going to love it! When you feel like you need a good dose of raw greens and spinach has been in the rotation one too many times, this salad will come to the rescue. Letting the kale marinate in the dressing eliminates its natural bitterness, and the addition of hemp, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds adds some protein-fueled staying power. And then, just for the heck of it, I tossed some goji berries in there, and what a good call that was! They add some great colour, along with an unexpectedly pleasant chewy texture and sweetness that offset the crunch of the rest of the salad beautifully. Plus, they’re loaded with beta-carotene (think glowing skin, people) and are crazy high in iron.
But the best part about this salad? You can make it once and eat it for the next few days. The longer it sits, the better it tastes! Easiest. Side. Ever.
Kale Slaw with Creamy Avocado Dressing (serves 4-6)
~ Gluten free, grain free, vegan, refined sugar free ~
For the salad
- 1/2 large bunch of green kale (about 3 cups), chopped
- 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 carrot, julienne peeled or grated
- 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced
- 4 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 1/3 cup goji berries
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 2 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
For the dressing
- 1/2 large, ripe avocado
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp filtered water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp grainy dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
- sea salt and black pepper
- Toss all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender and blend until creamy and smooth. If it seems too thick, add a little bit more water. Season with salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the salad. Add the dressing and toss well.
- Place in the fridge and let marinate for at least an hour before serving. This softens up the kale and cuts the bitterness of the leaves.
- Squeeze with a little fresh lemon juice before serving.