Three kale salads to keep in your fridge all summer long

A kale salad with pasta, Parmesan and smoked almonds
Cold and crunchy, kale salads stand up well for days in the fridge for easy grab-and-go lunches.
(Ben Mims / Los Angeles Times)

I’m a kale hater. Well, a raw kale hater, specifically. I can eat the cooked stuff if I have to (I’d always prefer a turnip/collard/mustard green or Swiss chard), but raw is downright torturous. It’s exceedingly chlorophyll-y, not to mention, there’s all that chewing.

However, the one preparation where its textural stubbornness is a boon is in cold, marinated salads — the kind where you massage the kale with an acidic vinaigrette first to soften it a bit. These salads are just what I want throughout the summer when temps start to rise again during the day and all I have patience for is reaching into the fridge for a cold, crunchy lunch.

In the kale salad from APL restaurant, Tuscan kale is massaged with salt first, then tossed with radishes and apples and a tart lemon vinaigrette spiked with Dijon mustard and sweetened with honey.

In a more summery iteration, the leaves are massaged with lemon juice until tender and then slicked with walnut oil and topped with chunks of ripe peaches, dates and toasted pepitas.

And finally, a simple pasta salad is bulked up with kale that’s been massaged in lemon juice and copious amounts of garlic until the citrus juice tames both into a refreshing fridge salad dotted with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and smoked almonds.

In all three salads, the hardy kale stands firm against the dressing to hold its shape over days, while acquiescing only so much to retain a much more palatable chew. And in turn, the assertive vinaigrettes flavor the leaves, transforming them into something bearable (for me) to eat any day of summer.


Get the recipes:

APL Kale Salad

Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Summer Kale Salad With Peaches and Pepitas

Time25 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8

Kale Pasta Salad With Parm and Smoked Almonds

Time20 minutes
YieldsServes 2 to 4