Kale Salad With Pickled Carrots

This one is long, long overdue. Not only did I graduate from Leiths more than two months ago but it's actually a recipe from the first term. Way back in November, for our first group cooking exercise, eight of us did a Silk Road-themed buffet.

To be honest, I think we only decided on that because no-one could agree on a more contained regional cuisine. The Silk Road thing placated everyone and meant we didn't have to choose between Asian and Middle Eastern dishes.

We needed something green and my own contribution was this vaguely Japanese-inspired salad. A lot has happened since but it's colourful, all kinds of crunchy and tastes just as delicious now, in the dying days of summer, as it did then. So, despite the pictures being pretty crappy, I think it's is still worth sharing. Here goes. 

kale salad

Kale Salad With Pickled Carrots


  • 2 medium/large carrots
  • 100ml rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ red cabbage
  • 200g kale
  • oil for deep frying
  • 2 shallots
  • 50g peanuts
  • 80g frozen edamame beans
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 garlic clove
  • thumb size piece of ginger
  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • lemon/lime juice to taste


  1. Julienne the carrots and transfer to a bowl. Put the sugar in a small pan with the vinegar and heat gently until it dissolves then pour over the carrots. Add a little bit of water if you need more liquid to submerge them then set aside.
  2. Finely shred the red cabbage. Toss with tablespoon or so of salt and leave in a sieve over the sink for five or ten minutes.
  3. Destalk and shred the kale. Blanch it in a large pan of boiling water until just cooked then refresh in a bowl of cold water.
  4. Rinse the cabbage and dry thoroughly.
  5. Peel and finely slice the shallot. Meanwhile heat the oil until a test piece sizzles when thrown in then cook the rest of the slices until golden and crispy. Drain on a piece of kitchen towel.
  6. Cook the edamame beans.
  7. Put the peanuts in a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin or similar heavy object to crush lightly.
  8. Blitz the garlic, ginger, orange juice, sesame oil and soy sauce in a blender until well combined. Taste and season with more soy if needed and a little lemon or lime juice to taste.
  9. Drain and dry the carrots. Slice the avocado.
  10. Toss the kale, cabbage, carrot and edamame beans in half the dressing, lay the avocado slices over the top, drizzle on a little more dressing and sprinkle over the peanuts and shallots.

Ifs And Ands

  • Delicious with smoked salmon or some mackerel in a lunchbox. You can make it more substantial with some brown or sushi rice or soba noodles.
  • Make more shallots than you need as they keep well in an airtight container and are good for jazzing up salads etc. Or, iff deep frying seems like a faff then you can find packets of crispy shallots in most Asian groceries.
  • Try sesame seeds instead of (or as well as) peanuts.