Kale Salad: A Perfect Choice for Lunch

The salad has a light citrus flavor

By Tia Osweilier | Updated May 14, 2021

I’ve always loved the idea of salad.

It’s a fare that is generally the brightest, most colorful, and healthiest of them all—and it looks absolutely gorgeous in a big glass bowl or plated on white porcelain.

When I worked in an office, I ate it often because it transported easily in Tupperware, was relatively neat and made me feel less guilty about those Dove chocolates I would pilfer from a coworker’s candy dish later in the afternoon.  That being said, I don’t love the taste of salad as much as true salad lovers do— and I know plenty of those.  People who order salad, not because they are on a diet or want to appear health-conscious, but because they genuinely love the texture of leaves crushing between their teeth.

That has never been this girl.

And now that I work from home, hot sandwiches and soup are easy enough to manage, and so salad has become a wallflower at the daily event that is my lunch hour.

Once in a while, however, I meet a salad that makes me rethink my predilection for ham and cheese over a bowl of Romaine.

This happened to me recently when my friend Kim invited our family to her home for a cook-out with her son and her neighbors.

It was one of those first, summer-like spring days—a bold blue sky, bright sun and lots of smoky flavors wafting through the air as grills came out of hibernation. The kids ravaged the backyard, stuffing themselves senseless with ice cream cones, s’mores, and strawberry shortcake (I thought about making a pretense at caring about the sugar intake occurring, before settling on the pretense that I had no clue what was going on). Meanwhile, the adults lounged in the sun on the deck, sampling drinks such as bourbon served neat, and a hot coffee and Kahlua concoction Kim creates, aptly known as the “Kimmy.”

When the steaks were grilled to medium-rare perfection, we gathered around the table where I came face to face with one of those salads that made me blink, swallow, and do a double-take.

Kale salad with lemon dressing
Kale salad with a bright lemon dressing

It was the prettiest dish on the table, resplendent in ruffles of emerald kale, dewy with olive oil which glistened in the retreating light of the sunset. Accessorized with tender bits of feta and smooth garbanzo beans, perfumed with a light, lemony zest, its presentation was altogether simple and fresh.

The others gushed over this creation—but I hesitated.  Lovely, yes.  But can a salad be gush-worthy?

It turns out that it can.

So much so, I consulted the creator, Jennifer, for the recipe and made a rendition of the salad as a main course for dinner one night.  I added a few ingredients that weren’t in the original recipe because this salad is easily customizable.  The leftovers marinated in the fridge to an even deeper level of flavor until lunchtime two days later when—for the first time since my office days—I chose to eat salad.

Not for the old reasons of wanting to be healthy, lose weight, or have a quick, easily-forked meal—but because I wanted to taste it.  Savor it.  Experience it.

This simple kale salad really is that good.

Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing

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