The search is over! This is officially the best kale salad ever. An incredibly easy-to-make side dish or appetizer, this Chopped Kale Salad with Pistachio Dressing will drive any kale lover crazy and will turn any anti-kale-er into a full-on kale fanatic!
How often does it happen that a salad blows your mind? Unless said salad is packed with ahi tuna or is a totally decadent Caesar salad, it’s not often for me. Tell me you’re making me a salad that’s pretty much all greens and some nuts and I’ll probably say “OK, fine. I’ll have a healthy lunch. Followed by about 14 cookies.” But what if that green salad was packed with so much deliciousness that you would choose it over a cookie any day and would legit not be able to stop thinking about it for weeks upon weeks? That was me when I had the Ubiquitous Kale Salad at Cambridge’s Alden & Harlow back in February. Oh, a nice little chopped kale salad sounds like a good way to start a meal, I thought. But it ended up being one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. Funny how that happens.
I couldn’t get the chopped kale salad out of my head, but sadly, can’t trek across the city for dinner every evening. If only. So, I finally decided to recreate the salad in my own kitchen. Well, a version of it anyway. A version that will do the job in relieving the craving until I can get back to the restaurant again. Especially if I can simply put the dressing into a container and pour it into my mouth. Because the pistachio dressing? OMG it’s heavenly.
I highly recommend buying pre-washed kale in a bag. It’s my life-saver and I wish it kept forever in my fridge because I would so buy 500 bags of it. If you’re not quite sure how to chop fennel, I recommend checking out Better Homes and Gardens’ excellent fennel chopping guide.
Literally, all the work for this salad goes into making the delicious dressing. But trust me, it’s not even that much work. First, you’ll lightly toast the pistachios. And then blend the pistachios and remaining dressing ingredients together in a blender. I am so, so into this dressing.
Once you toss the dressing with the kale and fennel, serve it on salad plates and top with extra pistachios, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest.
And then die because you are so, so happy you have this chopped kale salad in your life. In your kitchen. In your mouth.
And then smile because, when you think about it, this salad really is pretty darn healthy. Especially if you’re in the camp that thinks extra-virgin olive oil is a diet essential. Which I am. And wasn’t that the easiest most simple salad ever?? I still cannot get over how delicious it is.
We talk about kale all the time here on We are not Martha. And about how it’s ridiculously trendy. But also ridiculously awesome. If you still have some “kale questioners” in your life, I recommend serving them this salad (what? I firmly believe in forcing food upon people until they change their minds about disliking it). The chopped kale makes it a bit easier to eat and obviously the dressing is just plain fab.
We haven’t really talked about pistachios here much, but I’m pretty sure they’re the new super trendy nut. And hopefully not simply because the pistachio people somehow got some major budget to make several totally weird commercials with celebs. They’ve always been my favorite nut, but this was my first time making them into a dressing.
You have no idea how happy this salad is making me. Did I ever think I’d be talking about kale equating happiness? Well, no. But it’s a good place to be. There are about a billion other must-order items on Alden & Harlow’s menu, but I honestly don’t think I can go back without ordering the Ubiquitous Kale Salad (can we please make this chopped kale salad UBIQUITOUS in my life??) again. But in the meantime, I’m pretty darn thrilled with this version.
Have you ever attempted to recreate a restaurant dish?
This is officially the best kale salad ever. An incredibly easy-to-make side dish or appetizer, this Chopped Kale Salad with Pistachio Dressing will drive any kale lover crazy and will turn any anti-kale-er into a full-on kale fanatic!
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup shelled pistachio nuts (about 60 pistachios)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
- 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes
Put chopped kale and sliced fennel in a large bowl.
Place pistachios on a foil-covered baking sheet and lightly toast. You can either do this in a toaster oven or by roasting at 350 degrees for about 6 minutes. Keep a close eye on them to make sure they don't burn.
Put pistachios in a blender (reserve a few for topping your salad), along with the garlic, lemon juice, hot water, about 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Blend well, until the mixture is smooth. If you want a thinner dressing, continue to slowly pour in olive oil and blend. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
Toss kale and fennel with dressing until very well coated.
Serve salad on plates and top with extra pistachios, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest.