Quick and Easy

Spicy Peanut Kale Salad

April 10, 2014

Vegan lunches can -- and should -- be a lot more interesting than bare salads or carrot sticks and hummus. New Veganism columnist Gena Hamshaw will be sharing inspiration for midday meals that stave off both hunger and boredom.

Today: When in doubt, you can always count on kale salad.

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I’m fond of declaring that there is no such thing as too much kale salad. Yes, it’s all over restaurant menus, Instagram, food blogs, and Facebook. Yes, massaging kale has made the transition from “exotic approach to handling green leafy vegetables” to “how I begin lunch.” But that doesn’t make kale salad any less indispensable. Case in point: Last week, I was home with an almost-empty fridge and no clue what to make for myself midday. 

More: Get creative with your lunch -- here's how to make any kale salad, without a recipe.

The two vegetables I always have around are kale and sweet potatoes (the former because I can’t live without it, the latter because they’re hearty and they keep well). I decided to go with the flow and use up some of my excess peanut butter (another household staple) by whisking it together with tamari, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and sriracha. Boom: spicy peanut sauce.

I massaged that into my kale, topped it all with a roasted sweet potato, and gave it a sprinkle of peanuts from my cupboard. Fast, easy, flavorful, and absolute proof that kale salad saves the day. 

Photo by Gena Hamshaw

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Araceli
  • nleigh
  • elmarkster
  • Rosie
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.


Araceli May 21, 2014
Oh wow, I just tried making this and it is perfect! I've never eaten kale or sweet potato very often until recently, trying them in seperate recipes. I love the idea of massaging the kale, it really does improve the texture for me. I made a similar peanut sauce but added a bit of cayenne pepper and red curry powder instead of sriracha and tossed in some sesame seeds. I also added a touch of cayenne to the sweet potato before roasting it. Wonderful, thanks for the suggestions!
nleigh April 21, 2014
i would never have thought to add peanut sauce to kale salad but I am going to go whip up some right now. thanks for the creative inspirations. perfect meal, stuff I always have around
elmarkster April 13, 2014
Can specify some approximate amounts of dressing ingredients? I'd love to email this to a friend who doesn't cook much and she might be intimidated byt the free formy ness...I'll talk her through the main ingredients , but the dressing could be helpful...thanks.
RENEE April 11, 2014
i need to eats this. right now. someone make it for me?
Rosie April 11, 2014
That sounds and looks delicious, I'm going to try this out over the weekend.

Serena M. April 11, 2014
Well, that's if you can ever get hold of kale...good luck here in Singapore :( but this looks lovely and I will be making it for sure