I picked up a big bunch of bok choy and an even bigger bunch of kale at the farmer’s market recently. I spent a chunk of time washing and preparing my bounty, and it provided a week’s worth of crunchy, delicious salads. This one was the winner, and the almond-miso dressing is addictive. Expect to see it again in coming weeks, because I’ve also used it as a dipping sauce for rice-paper rolls I’ll be posting soon.

I’ve used kale, bok choy, cucumber, nectarine, purple onion (optional), grilled chicken and cashews, with the aforementioned almond-miso dressing. Here’s a recipe to make your own almond butter. I sometimes make a combined almond-cashew butter (1 cup almonds, 1 cup cashews), which works well for this dressing too.

Just look at those vibrant colors!

Kale Chicken Salad Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup chopped bok choy
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced
  • ½ purple onion, finely sliced
  • 2 nectarines (or peaches), diced
  • ¼ cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • Grilled chicken (see recipe below)

Kale Chicken Salad Directions

  1. Prepare the kale: Remove the center rib from each kale leaf. Discard. Wash and check the rest of the leaves for insects. Cut the kale into bite-size pieces, and soak it in a bowl of water with a generous splash of vinegar and salt. While the kale is soaking, “massage” the leaves (yes, that’s the technical term!). Pick up handfuls of kale, scrunch them in your hands, and repeat with the next handful. Do this repeatedly. The massaging, together with the vinegar soak, helps soften the kale and make it less fibrous and easier to eat. Rinse the kale, drain and dry it. You can do this step for a whole bunch of kale, then store it in a ziptop bag in the fridge for up to a week, taking out as much as you need at a time.
  2. Prepare the bok choy: Separate the leaves and soak them in a bowl of salted water. Bok choy can be sandy and gritty, which you want to get rid of, and it needs to be checked for insects too. Rinse and dry the leaves. Cut into thin ribbons. You can also do this with a bunch of bok choy, and store in the fridge to use as needed.
  3. Prepare the grilled chicken: You can use any chicken you have on hand, or use your go-to grilled chicken recipe. I used 1 chicken breast cut into half-inch chunks. I mixed 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. chili powder, some salt, and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a small bowl. Pour the spice mixture over the chicken, and mix until all the chicken is coated. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Soak two wooden skewers in cold water for a few minutes each. Thread the chicken onto the skewers and grill for 3–4 minutes on each side, until chicken is cooked through. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes, pull the chunks off the skewers, cut in half and add to the salad. For a simpler version, use thin chicken cutlets, keep them whole, cover with the spice mix and grill whole. Slice and add to the salad.
  4. Assemble the salad: Mix the kale and bok choy together in a medium-sized bowl. Slice the cucumber very thinly, cut the nectarine (or peach) into a medium-large dice, and cut the onions into quarters and then slice very finely. Toss together. Pour 1–2 tbsp. of dressing (recipe below) over the salad, and mix to coat (add more if desired). Right before eating, add the warm grilled chicken and the cashews.

Serves: 2–4

Almond-Miso Dressing Ingredients

  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1 tbsp. white miso
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2½ tbsp. soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
  • 1½-inch chunk ginger, sliced

Almond-Miso Dressing Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for up to two weeks in an airtight container. If the dressing thickens too much in the fridge, thin is out with a little water before using.

Note 1: Dressing makes more than is needed for one salad. Keep for future use. Also works well as a dipping sauce for rice-paper rolls, chicken tenders or lettuce wraps.

Note 2: If you’re using an exceptionally high-powered blender, you don’t need to slice the ginger and garlic first. Most blenders aren’t able to deal with them whole, but can successfully incorporate them after they have been sliced/crushed.