Thoughts on Thursday or a tale of kale salad

When I lived in Scotland, kale was the dark, green leafy vegetable that you bought when there wasn’t much else. It was tough, a bit bitter, and you kind of felt you were eating it because it was good for you (it is full of vitamin C) rather than for enjoyment. This ‘peasant cabbage’ even lent its name to a genre of Scottish literature known as The Kailyard School.

Then came the kale revolution. It seems, in the US at least, an exact date can be pinpointed – 24 October 2007 – when an article by Melissa Clark in the New York Times on a kale salad eaten at a Brooklyn restaurant called Franny’s hit the streets. This original salad was made with cavolo nero, and not the bright green curly kale I remember from childhood, but still, it marked a resurgence of interest in what I will call ‘the neglected brassicas’. These days, there are ideas aplenty for kale salads, involving a whole variety of ingredients.

The key to a good kale salad is definitely massaging the leaves. Pull them off the stalk (you can compost them or use in a vegetable stock if you like), throw them in a bowl then massage with salt, lemon and olive oil. Then add the rest of your ingredients – this one has sun dried tomatoes, walnuts and parmesan.

Check out Smitten Kitchen‘s kale salad with pecorino and walnuts and Good Eatings massaged kale salad with seeds and sun-dried tomatoes, or this good looking white bean kale salad from Minimalist Baker that says ‘lunch time goodness’ to me.

So there you have it…kale salad..a 21st century take on a classic vegetable. You can read more here about The 10th Anniversary of the Kale Salad in 2017. The recipe for that ‘first’ salad can be found here.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on


  1. In my childhood, kale was regarded as reasonably good winter fodder for cattle and I still rate it in that category!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. NICE! I usually steam my kale but I didn’t harvest that much this year. I always plant plenty because I have to share it with several species of caterpillars. This year I was to busy picking sweet corn I didn’t get much kale picked to freeze. I suppose I should plant a fall crop… Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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