If you love summery salads that are fresh, healthy and bursting with flavor, this Fresh Corn Kale Salad needs to be on your must-make list!
If there’s kale salad on a restaurant menu, it’s a pretty sure bet that I’ll be ordering it. I think it’s because kale is such a blank palette and can take on a zillion different flavor profiles, depending on the ingredients it’s combined with. This Fresh Corn Kale Salad is no exception. With lots of ruffly kale, a delicious Chili Lime Salad Dressing, fresh corn, pickled red onions and shatteringly crisp roasted, salted almonds, it’s a salad we just can’t get enough of.
This Fresh Corn Kale Salad would be a perfect option to tote to a party or picnic, as it keeps well and is easy to put together. It’s also wonderful to find something healthy and delicious at a potluck, picnic or party, in lieu of all the typical high calorie, high carb choices. Just a little warning though, if you’re expecting to bring home leftovers, you’re probably going to be disappointed.
How to tenderize kale leaves
Kale has a tougher texture than many other greens generally used for salads. Kale can be tenderized by massaging a bit of oil or dressing into the leaves with your fingers. For this Fresh Corn Kale Salad, I simply slice the kale into small ribbons, which has the same softening effect.
Fresh summer corn is the star in this salad, as there’s almost as much corn as kale! Six ears are cooked in the microwave till just tender, but with still a nice bit of sweet crunch. The kernels are sliced off the cobs and cooled just a bit before being combined with the ribboned kale and pickled red onions.
Pickled red onions may sound complicated, but it’s a super easy trick for a gorgeous result. Simply rinse the onions under boiling water (this softens them and helps the delicious brine to infuse quicker. Then combine fresh lime juice, a splash of vinegar, sugar and a sprinkle of salt and pour the mixture over the onions. That’s it! Over the next hour, you will see a magical transformation. The pale onions will be transformed to a beautiful magenta, a perfect way to add a touch of pizzaz to this Fresh Corn Kale Salad.
The dressing? Delish! I shared this Chili Lime Salad Dressing in my last post it’s good on so many other salads besides this one. It’s sweet, tangy, just a bit spicy and super easy to put together. One of those throw-it-all-in-a-jar-and-give-it-a-good-shake dressings!
Put kale, fresh corn, red onion and almonds on your shopping list. I think you’ll find that, like us, you can’t get enough of this Fresh Corn Kale Salad!
Café Tips for making this Fresh Corn Kale Salad
- I like to buy the big bags of triple-washed kale. It’s all set to go!
- Pull off the large tough kale stems and discard them. To slice the kale thinly, I just take a handful and squeeze it together. Then I start slicing, exposing a bit more each time I take a slice. A long, sharp knife will make things a lot easier. If you’re in the market for some good knives, I love my Global knives. I’ve had them for over 5 years and love the way they feel in my hand and how quickly and easily they sharpen. There’s a 2-stage knife sharpening technique requires nothing but a few easy strokes to keep blades sharp. The easy to use global knife sharpener features both a coarse and a fine wheel for super precise sharpening
- I like to cook my corn just briefly until barely tender. It maintains a nice crunch this way and stays super sweet. The microwave is a great way to cook corn, both husked and unhusked. Since each microwave is slightly different, experiment with yours to see how long it will take to cook. I usually cook 3 ears at a time and it takes 4 minutes in my microwave. The more corn you cook at a time, the longer it will take. It’s better to cook 4 or fewer ears at a time. 4 ears in my microwave will take 5-6 minutes. The corn will turn a brighter, more intense yellow when it’s cooked but the kernels should still be nice and plump, without any shriveling. If your corn comes out shriveled, you’ve cooked it too long. Don’t worry, it will still taste good just not quite as crisp, sweet and pretty.
- The above method can be used for both husked and unhusked corn. If unhusked simple place them right in the microwave, as is. If unhusked, place the ears in a ziplock bag and add a teaspoon of water. Partially seal bag and cook on high power (100%).
- When shopping for almonds, look for raw, whole almonds – as you’ll be toasting them yourself. It’s easy and you’ll have more than you need for this salad but they also make a really delicious and healthy snack.
- If you’re in a hurry, just buy a bag of roasted, salted whole almonds and skip the roasting almonds step.
- This salad will keep well. If you have leftovers it will make great work or school lunches. You might want to keep the almonds separate and add them just before eating, so they’ll stay nice and crunchy.
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ medium red onion
- 2 cups boiling water
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt plus more for sprinkling after baking
- 1 cup whole raw almonds
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 6 ears corn cooked just until tender, see notes above in post for cooking technique
- 4 cups finely sliced kale (see notes above for slicing)
- pickled red onions see above
- Chile Lime Dressing
- roasted salted almonds, see above
At least one hour in advance, make the pickled red onions (can be made several hours in advance). Slice onion very thinly, vertically. Cut slices in half and place in a strainer. Pour boiling water over onions and let sit to drain.
Combine remaining pickled red onion ingredients in a medium-size bowl and stir well. Add onions and allow to sit at room temperature for one hour or longer in the refrigerator, stirring occasionally. When ready to use, drain well, then spread out on a paper towel to remove moisture before adding to salad.
For the toasted almonds, preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Place almonds in a medium-size bowl.
Combine hot water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve salt. Pour salt solution over the nuts in the bowl and stir to coat. Spread the nuts out onto the prepared pan in a single layer.
Bake for 10 minutes then stir well and bake another 8-10 minutes until golden brown.
Return baked nuts to the bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Stir well to coat the nuts with oil then sprinkle lightly with more salt. Taste one nut and add more salt, to taste. Return nuts to the sheet pan and spread out to cool.
10. Combine corn, kale and as many of the pickled red onions as desired. Toss to distribute ingredients. Drizzle lightly with the Chili Lime Dressing and toss again to coat. Sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Serve remaining dressing on the side.
See Café Tips above in post for further instructions and tips to make preparing this salad easier.
Nutritional Information does not include salad dressing. See that post for it's nutritional info.
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