Tropical Kale Salad

Story by Natalie
Tropical Kale Salad
Tap any image to pin it.

Salad. It’s what’s for dinner.

Attention all salad lovers, this post is for you! (And if you’re not a salad lover yet, be prepared because I’m about to win you over.)

My love for salad started when I used to babysit in my teens for a health-conscious foodie family whose home was completely devoid of processed and prepared foods. They were next level healthy, so much so that if I was going to make beans and rice I literally had dried beans to start from.

I was 17, I was a people pleaser, and I was determined to earn good money for my bad shopping habit, so I rolled with it. One evening, before heading out the mom said to me “There’s a whole chicken roasting in the oven. Shred it when it’s done, serve it over this spinach, slice this mango and crush these almonds for the top. Make a honey mustard dressing with all these ingredients, and toss everything together. The kids should eat it.” 


I love macadamia nuts for their toothsome texture, which makes them an ideal addition to just about any salad.

Tropical Kale Salad

I must have looked like a deer in the headlights. You mean to tell me salad isn’t pre-chopped romaine with sliced carrots, raw mushrooms and tomatoes, topped with some good ‘ol Hidden Valley Ranch?! Someone needs to call my mom.

Fast forward a couple years (okay more than a couple, but who’s counting?) and here I am writing about salads for a living, because I love them that much. But maybe you can relate to my 17 year old self and constructing the perfect salad is like a foreign language to you. Well then, pull up a chair and let’s have a little chat.

So, how do you make a great salad?

I’m glad you asked. A really good salad is about knowing the basic components needed and then getting creative with your flavor combinations. Once you have an understanding of the elements required, salads are really hard to mess up and really easy to do well.

Essential components of the perfect salad:

Flavor packed dressing
Crisp greens
Sweet ingredients if dressing is spicy, old ingredients if dressing is sweet
Herbs...lots of fresh herbs
Something crunchy. This can be nuts, cheese crisps, panko, etc…

Tropical Kale Salad

The recipe for this particular salad came about when I was really stretching my culinary muscles and attempted an entirely Whole30 compliant menu for a baby shower without the mom-to-be noticing. The results had to be epic. The food couldn’t taste “healthy”...it just had to be delicious.

I created a mental checklist and set out to incorporate all of the essential components into one epic salad. Kale is my number one green of choice for any salad, because it doesn’t wilt or turn soggy. Those firm greens are packed with the best of nutrition and can stand up to a good coating of dressing for a couple of days (which is a big bonus for all those leftover lovers out there). Next, I went to building layers of flavor and crunch: bell peppers, mangos, cilantro and mint. I was off to a great start. The addition of macadamia nuts took this tropical kale salad to the next level.

Diamond Nuts of California offers perfectly pre chopped macadamia nuts that are slightly sweet in flavor, and wonderfully soft. I love macadamia nuts for their toothsome texture, which makes them an ideal addition to just about any salad, but especially in this tropical-inspired one. (Bonus: you can daydream of Hawaii while you’re eating them.)

Tropical Kale Salad

Is this salad simple?

I wouldn’t put it in the simple category, the best things rarely are, but trust me...when you hear about the dressing you’re going to be won over and the minimal amount of effort this dish requires will seem well worth it.  

The base for this dressing is coconut milk. Hello, creamy goodness. When blended with loads of herbs, more macadamia nuts, cilantro, a little of this and that, and some red curry paste what you end up with is sheer perfection. You don’t even need to look at the pictures to imagine it, right? But you should, because look at how beautiful it turned out! Topped with all the colorful sprouts we could find and a few black sesame seeds for good measure, well let’s just say that If you aren’t a salad lover by now, I don’t know that I can help you. This salad has been on constant rotation in our house and I think it should be in yours too.

Whether you’re trying to be healthier or just like really good food, I beg you...make this. Give this salad a try, and venture outside of your comfort zone of bagged lettuce and pre shredded veggies and I promise you’ll never look back.

This sponsored post is written by TMP on behalf of Diamond of California. The opinions and text are all ours. Thank you for supporting the brands we love.

Tropical Kale Salad

Serves 4

Coconut Curry Lime Dressing

1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
1 tbsp red curry paste
1/4 cup cilantro, packed
8-10 fresh mint leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup Diamond of California macadamia Nuts
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
2-3 green onions, roughly chopped

Ingredients

4 cup kale, washed and roughly chopped
1 large mango, peeled and sliced
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
fresh sprouts (optional)
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, julienned
2 large carrots peeled and julienned
1/4 cup Diamond of California macadamia nuts
1 tbsp black sesame seeds (optional)

Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl toss dressing with all salad ingredients and enjoy!