California Kale Salad with Creamy Ginger-Peanut Dressing

It's not easy saying goodbye to a place.

Especially not California, where we met and where we married. A place that holds so many memories with friends and family from the past three years.

Some of our favorite experiences on the West Coast have been in exploring the natural beauty here: Our recent trip to Treebones was no exception. The resort, which might be more aptly called a retreat given its off-the-grid nature, is a collection of yurts and campsites perched peacefully over the Pacific Ocean.

The view from the restaurant at Treebones Resort in Big Sur. The beige structure to the left of the photo is a yurt in its natural habitat!

The view from the restaurant at Treebones Resort in Big Sur. The beige structure to the left of the photo is a yurt in its natural habitat!

The staff at Treebones grows much of the food they serve on-site, and although the fruit- and spice-forward sushi rolls are worth trying if you have a chance to visit, one of the most memorable dishes I had there was a simple kale salad with a terrifically spicy vinaigrette and crunchy almonds.

The recipe below is inspired by that local, fresh, and quintessentially Californian meal, but I've suggested some more convenient ingredients to make it easy for a weeknight. If you find yourself with leftover kale as we did, I'd recommend using it in Cooking Light's Risotto with Italian Sausage, Caramelized Onions and Bitter Greens, swapping out your extra chopped kale for the arugula in the original.

Cheers to a sunny, "Kale-ifornia" dinner, wherever you might be!

Everything but the dressing.

Everything but the dressing.

CALIFORNIA KALE SALAD WITH CREAMY GINGER-PEANUT DRESSING

Adapted from Once Upon a Chef

INGREDIENTS

For the Kale Salad

  • 4 cups pre-washed, pre-chopped kale
  • 2-3 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped into small slices
  • 1/2 cup toasted, slivered almonds 
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

For the Creamy Ginger-Peanut Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (use bottled in a pinch)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sriracha (or more, to taste)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • Generous 1 inch piece of fresh ginger (or more, to taste), peeled and roughly chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine all the ingredients for the salad in a large bowl.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a blender or mini food processor, and process until creamy.
  3. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine; this will hold well if you need to assemble before a main course.