White Bean, Avocado, and Kale Salad
Wait, did that title just scare anyone away? Please, no! Come back! It’s so good! And I won’t talk (write? type?) your ear off today. I’ve pretty much covered the whole how to cook your beans thing, so let’s just get excited about what we can do with those nutrient-packed beauties.
First of all, I know. Kale. So hip, so trendy, so good for you, so … green. It really tastes like the color green, am I right? For years I tried to like kale, and just couldn’t. But I’m one of those weirdos that refuses to dislike good food, so I kept trying. And I discovered I like it shredded really super thin in soups. It was a start, but ideally, vegetables should be consumed raw to preserve their phytonutrients and enzymes, which get damaged when heated. One day in my searching, I came across Kimberly Snyder’s Dharma Kale Salad and had a total light bulb moment, kale needed to be paired with the creamy-but-healthy-fat that only avocado can offer. And now avocado is to kale like butter is to toast: meant to be together. And we all know how much I love me some grassfed butter on homemade sourdough toast.
So I served this for lunch, and my girls asked for seconds. WHAT?! No, really. It’s that good. The trick is to get everything piled on top of one another, then aggressively toss the salad together. The avocado becomes the base of the dressing as it gets smashed and massaged into the kale–which, by the way, helps to break down the kale so it’s less crunchy. And while you’re at it, the white beans get smashed up and give the salad this added creamy, dense oomph and lift to the whole thing. It’s brilliant and amazing and delicious and filling and healthy and you really have to try it.
- 1 bunch lacinato kale (aka Tuscan kale), stems removed*, and leaves washed and sliced thinly
- 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and sliced thinly
- 1~2 avocado, sliced
- 2 cups cooked white beans, such as cannelini or navy
- 5~6 small tomatoes, quartered
- handful parsley, roughly chopped
- handful cilantro, roughly chopped
- juice of 1~2 lemons, depending on juiciness of the fruit and your preference
- generous pinch of sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
- pinch of cayenne pepper, optional
- In a large bowl, layer all of the salad ingredients.
- Combine dressing ingredients in a small jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake to combine. Pour over the salad.
- Using tongs (or even using your hands), toss the salad by pushing down and intentionally smashing the avocado and beans. You'll end up with the dressing coating the kale and lettuce with a few medium pieces of avocado and still many beans intact. Season with more salt to taste, and serve immediately.
- This is a really basic version of this salad. Feel free to add any soaked & roasted nuts or seeds for extra crunch, and any other vegetables that you think will work. This is meant to be varied to your tastes and what you find at the market or whatever you have on hand.
- *In order to easily remove stems, grab the stem with your left hand, and with the right, gently hold the leaf and pull away from your left hand parallel to the stem. The leaf should tear right off. Stems can go into your compost.