sweet and spicy kale salad vegan gluten free spinach

Sweet and Spicy Kale Salad

There are so many ways to eat a kale salad – it just never gets old if you’re creative enough. In an attempt to create a new flavor profile, I came up with this sweet and spicy kale salad. The sweetness of medjool dates and spicy chili oil dressing complement each other so well.

sweet and spicy kale salad vegan gluten free spinach

It works especially well because I’ve been trying to incorporate as many iron-rich foods as possible in my diet. I find that the easiest sources for me to consume are dates, spinach, beetroot. Oh, this recipe is also vegan, gluten free and grain free! Side note: if you’re also trying to up your iron intake, see my recipes for oatmeal with date caramel and beet quinoa burgers.

I know that kale is difficult to find so I made this recipe such that the kale can be easily replaced by spinach – just swap in the same amount of fresh spinach. In Bombay, I found that kale was quite easy to come across, whether in premium stores like Nature’s Basket and Foodhall or in the local markets like Crawford and Grant Road market. In Calcutta, I’ve only really ever been able to procure it through Green Tokri. I’m certain that it’s widely available in Pune and Bangalore but don’t know about other Indian cities.

I considered growing it myself when there was a drought of kale in Bombay at some point last year. My husband (then fiancé) even sent me a packet of seeds, but sadly I never got around to planting them with all the wedding running around. I’ve decided that this year that will be my gardening project (once some building renovations are complete). Anyone have any vegetable gardening tips to share?

Sweet and Spicy Kale Salad
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
An iron-rich sweet and spicy kale salad.
  • 100g or 1 bunch of kale, de-stemmed and chopped finely (about 80g after de-stemming and cleaning)
  • 1 onion, cut long
  • 5-6 medjool dates, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp salted pistachios or nut/seed of your choice
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • Salt, to taste
  1. For the dressing: before prepping the kale, onions, etc., combine the lemon juice, 2 tbsp olive oil, crushed red pepper and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
  2. Sauté the cut onions in ½ tbsp olive oil and water for 4-5 minutes. You can skip this step and use raw onions if you prefer; I don't like the lingering flavor of raw onions so I cook them.
  3. Combine the chopped kale and salad dressing until the leaves are evenly dressed.
  4. Add the onions, dates and pistachios.
Serves 2.


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