Party in Your Mouth Summer Avocado and Kale Salad


In honor of summer, my kale-krazed family has turned off the oven. (Although summer in San Francisco is cool enough that you’ll still people wearing down jackets at night, we like to be in sync with the rest of the country.) We’re still eating kale, but instead of baking it into chips, we’ve been eating kale salads. Shed your crunchy kale prejudices– this is not co-op food, this is raw food for a new age of flavor! After experiencing the therapeutic joy of massaging shredded kale with dressing, you’ll reward your taste buds with bursts of flavor and texture. There’s the creaminess of avocado to temper the slight bitterness of the kale. Then I’ve added the cool, juicy crispness of jicama, the sweetness of summer strawberries happily mellowed with balsamic, and to top things off, spiced up pepitas for a final crunch. I haven’t told my kids what a nutritious powerhouse this salad is yet, because they like it so much. But if you’re wondering, it’s full of antioxidants, potassium, folate, vitamin C, fiber, healthy fats and protein– a very well-rounded, one bowl meal.

Party in Your Mouth Summer Avocado and Kale Salad


1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks

1 bunch kale (I used the curly variety here, but I like dinosaur kale too)

1/2 cup sliced strawberries

1 cup jicama, peeled and sliced into matchsticks

1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/2 teaspoon salt, adjust to taste

2-4 tablespoons zesty spiced pepitas (recipe follows)

  1. Prepare the dressing: whisk together the last four ingredients, and set aside.
  2. Wash and dry the kale and remove the tough central rib. Then tear off the leaves and shred into strips, and place into a salad bowl.
  3. Pour the prepared dressing over the shredded kale and massage with your hands until the leaves start to wilt, about 1-2 minutes.
  4. Top wilted kale with remaining fruits/vegetables, then top with desired amount of pepitas (recipe follows) just before serving.

Zesty Spiced Pepitas:


1 cup pepitas, untoasted

zest of 1 orange

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon sugar

dash of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon canola or vegetable oil


  1. Toast pumpkin seeds in oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy skillet over low heat, stirring constantly, until puffed and golden, 5 to 8 minutes, then remove from heat.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine orange zest, sugar, salt, cinnamon and cayenne.
  3. Toss toasted pepitas with the spice mixture until evenly coated.

13 responses

  1. This salad sounds like just the ticket for a hot summer night. If you want to know what that’s like, visit Atlanta in July. We’re melting over here.

    • Hi Lucy! I know about melting, possibly evaporating. Summers in Taiwan feel like one big sauna, and not in a good way! None of the ingredients in this salad are easily obtainable in Taiwan, but there are other local ways of cooling down, like shaved ice, herbal teas, barley tea and winter melon juice. Stay cool!

  2. I can’t wait to try this! I’m starting to make my own red wine vinegar, and to try Chad Robertson’s method for capturing the wild yeast in my area for bread making. You continue to inspire me and I always look forward to your posts. Are pepitas pumpkin seeds? The ones I’ve had seem skinnier, browner.

    • Hi, Marcie! You are the inspirational one– I have yet to forage for wild yeast and ferment my own vinegar. You’ll need to share your secrets with me. And yes, pepitas are pumpkin seeds, the raw green ones are available at Trader Joe’s. The ones you’ve seen are probably toasted. Bon appetit!

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