Chef Russell James’s Wilted Kale Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing

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June 29, 2012 by Living Girl Living Foods

Chef Russell James’s Wilted Kale Salad with Creamy Chipotle Dressing is like most traditional raw kale salads. There is use of avocado, lemon, salt, spices, and tenderized kale. But keep reading and you might be surprised with some great spices and textures available in this simple recipe.

Wilted Kale Salad with a Creamy Chipotle Dressing

Serves 2

For the wilted kale

11oz (300g) kale
1/2 teaspoon fine Himalyan salt
1 cup baby tomatoes, sliced (I used some local medley cherry tomatoes, the color and flavor was amazing!)
1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)

For the dressing

(I recommend working on this first while you let your kale soak and/or dry)

2 avocados (off course out of the shell, no pit and to make things easier on your blender possibly cutting the avo in cubes)
1 chipotle pepper* soaked for 2 hours+
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons cup lemon juice (pretty sure he just meant 2 tbs, no cup)
Chipotle soak water as needed to blend

*If not using chipotle peppers, substitute with 1/2 teaspoon each of onion powder, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and tamari/nama shoyu. (I used Coconut Aminos and dried spices)

– Remove the stems and then wash and cut the kale into small pieces. Place into a bowl, add salt and start to massage the kale until it wilts and takes on a ‘cooked’ texture.

– Add the tomatoes and hemp seeds to the bowl and mix in by hand.

– Blend all remaining ingredients in a high-speed blender until creamy and mix into kale by hand.

Let me start off by saying I did make some major modifications to this recipe; no oil, no chipotle peppers, and only two pinches of salt. Avocado is naturally very oily, and in many recipes can be used as a butter because of it’s creamy oily texture. If you pick an avocado a little bit before it is ripe it hardly has any flavor, this is the type of avocado you would want to use if you want to replace butter, make raw vegan mousse, cheese (add nutritional yeast), cream, and etc. Adding olive oil would make this dish super rich, and the calorie in take from the dressing would be insane for most people. The oil probably does help the dressing spread, creating more of it and it wouldn’t come out as creamy whipped like the version I did. But I am honestly really happy with how this modification went.

Another change I made was I did not use chipotle pepper, it is not raw and I can not stand the smell of them. It reminds me of smoked pig, pig ears, skin scorching barbecues…I think you get the point, sorry for ranting 😉 Chef Russell James suggests using half a teaspoon of each of the following ingredients: amino acids, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder and chili powder. If you do not have all of these powders, try seeing if you have a bottle of chipotle seasoning around the house. This might have a little bit more of a kick to it then the modification so please try a teaspoon first and add accordingly from there if needed.

I used Coconut Aminos by Coconut Secret and a teaspoon & a half of my own chipotle-like mixture I have around the house. Blend all of these ingredients with two avocados in the blender until the ingredients are smooth and the spices look evenly dispersed. I think people who used the chipotle pepper are at an advantage with the color of the chipotle cream, their’s will actually look orange, warm, and of course spicy. I welcome any ideas on how to achieve this with no chipotle peppers! My dressing still came out super green with the use of spices and Coconut Aminos.

There is a typo with the lemon juice measurement, it should be two tablespoons. My last modification is I only used two pinches of salt and that was really to help massage/tenderize the kale before adding the dressing. If you want to tenderize your kale another way, cover your hands in lemon oil and massage the kale.

The use of spices, hemp seeds, and coconut Aminos made it unnecessary to add much salt. Coconut Aminos already has a fair amount of salt/sodium in it (so far it has the least amount I have seen in any amino product though!). Everyone has a different palate for salt, so may be two pinches is too much or not enough for you. Like always, feel free to play around with this. As you can see, I always do!

The recipe only shows the amount of kale needed by weight, I personally have no way of weighing the kale at home. When I scrolled down to see people’s comments and James’s replies he mentions using four or five handful of kale. I feel like a pain in the butt saying this, but I found this to be vague. Is the kale suppose to be de-stemmed already? I ended up using a whole smallish sized bunch of curly kale (around 14 stems of kale). Please remember to remove the stems to make this kale salad, raw kale stems are not fun or easy to chew on. It messes up the texture and does not look pleasant either. You can keep the stems for juicing if you would like, that’s what I do with mine 😀

This kale salad is by all means traditional with ingredients, but the combo of avocado, tomatoes and chipotle is amazing! If you are poking around for a kale salad recipe, this one is simple to make, super creamy, and it is easy to not use any oils and very little salt. The texture is amazing, there is a little of everything; crunchy kale, juicy tomatoes, creamy/oily avocado dressing, a little heat with the chipotle, crunchy savory hemp seeds, and some nice citrus notes to help tenderize the kale and tie everything together. If anyone ends up making this at home I would love to hear about your experience; any struggles, modifications or stories on “wowing” carnivores! Thank you all for reading and have a bomb diggity weekend ❤ Much love & raw power ❤

Here are a few photos of how this recipe went for me ❤

Just the dressing, it looks like a mousse almost mmmm


Up close and personal with the finished product! I love that I did not use just one color of tomato for this one, the colors and different sweetness levels were perfect, especially with the sunny weather we have been having this summer.


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