kale salad with avocado dressing and crunchy potatoes

I love a good kale salad. I know we’ve all been on the kale bandwagon for quite a while now. But, for good reason, the kale love-in shows no sign of slowing. So I guess it has matured past the flash in the pan stage and is now embedded in our everyday eating. If you are a kale lover too I hope you’ll enjoy this version of a kale salad. And if you’ve never been swayed by kale before this might just be the recipe that turns you onto this nutritious power house – one cup of chopped raw kale contains 9% of your daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K.

The thing about this salad that stopped me in my tracks was the (even if I say so myself) genius dressing. Think a slightly looser, Italian guacamole. I will be using it in all sorts of salads in future. I’ll also be stirring it into brown rice, pasta or serving it alongside grilled fish and chicken.

Many people become martyrs when they make salads. And that is probably why they get a bad rep. For so long salads have been a diet option and were thrown together with boring leaves, out of season veggies and (shudder) a low-fat bought dressing. Give a salad some love, embrace top-notch seasonal veggies, inject some crunch and make a good homemade dressing and you will be rewarded with a salad that doesn’t feel like an act of penance and instead feels like a treat. Check out my salad rules post here.

Fresh herbs really make a difference to salads too. I have a chive plant growing in the garden at the moment and am loving the subtle onion hit it gives without the hassle of chopping onion or garlic. The bonus of growing your own chives is that you will get the beautiful chive flowers which are edible and look beautiful on salads (see photo).

I love adding crispy potatoes to salad. They are a great gluten-free alternative to croutons and provide a nice bit of crunch and bulk – making this salad a self-contained meal. If you want to add another layer of gorgeousness and another protein hit, a soft poached or fried egg on top of the salad is a treat. When you cut into the yolk and it runs into the salad it makes a creamy dressing.

Ingredients (serves 2 greedy people as a main or 4 people as a side)

6 rashers of bacon – turkey bacon is ok too.  If you want to make this vegetarian you could use crumbled feta, roast sweet potato or fried mushrooms

1 bunch of kale, finely shredded (around 4 handfuls when shredded)

5 medium carrots, scrubbed, unpeeled and grated

avocado dressing

1 ripe avocado

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (start with a quarter teaspoon of each then adjust)

1-2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, to taste

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

1 tablespoon good olive oil

crispy potatoes

20 (ish) baby potatoes, boiled whole with the skin on then sliced in half lengthways – I used leftover potatoes from the night before

1 tablespoon good olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

a pinch of sea salt flakes, such as Maldon

You can pick up all the equipment I use through my shop.

To make:

1.  If you don’t have leftover cooked potatoes, cook your raw baby potatoes in a pot of boiling water for around 15 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce them. Drain and cool before slicing them in half lengthways.  Set aside

2. Bake or fry your bacon rashers until they are crispy. I usually bake mine at 200c [400F] for 10-15 minutes on a foil-lined tray to minimise washing up

3.  Heat a large frying pan and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, throw in your halved baby potatoes. Toss them well so they are coated in hot oil then sprinkle with around a big pinch of sea salt flakes. Leave to sizzle on a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. Don’t be tempted to move the potatoes around too much as they need to be given chance to develop a delicious crisp golden coat. Just turn them after about 4 minutes and make sure they get equal time on both sides

4.  While your bacon and potatoes cook, prep the rest of your salad. Start by coarsely grating your carrots into a large salad serving bowl

5.  Use a fork to mash your avocado into the carrots. Add salt and pepper, vinegar, 1 tablespoon of oil and chives to the avocado and mash well. You will have a guacamole style mush. Taste and adjust the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste

6.  When the bacon is ready, chop it into small pieces and toss it into the avocado mush along with the shredded kale. Toss together – it may be a bit sticky at first but keep tossing until everything is well incorporated. Taste again and add more salt, vinegar and pepper as needed

7.  When the potatoes are golden (see photo) and rustle when you shake the pan, take the pan off the heat and throw a glug of vinegar over the potatoes in the pan. Stand back as you shake the pan as the vinegar with evaporate and make your eyes sting if you are too close

8.  Finish the salad by scattering the potatoes, and any chive flowers you have, on top of the dressed kale. Serve straight away.

I’d love to see what you end up with, so remember to share this on my Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest when you make it. Tag it #ystcook so I can see!