Kale and Orzo Salad

I got this suggestion for using kale from Anne, a CSA member.

Kale salad requires a bit of marinating time and/or “massaging” to break down the cell walls and make the kale easy to chew. There is also some debate out there whether cabbage family vegetables should be eaten raw at all, and some say that if you want to eat cabbage family vegetables uncooked you should ferment them, by making something like kimchi or sauerkraut. While I love sauerkraut, I for one will not be giving up coleslaw entirely!

Anne notes that she substituted a number of ingredients for what she had on hand in her own kitchen and the results were “yummy”! Here is her recipe, originally by Mariko Jackson and published in the Honolulu Star Advertiser.


Kale and Orzo Salad


  • 5 cups kale leaves stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ red onion thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 carrot sliced into thin 2-inch matchsticks
  • 1 stalk celery thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • Pinch cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds optional
  • ½ cup toasted nuts such as almonds or macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomato strips
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 cups cooked orzo pasta
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • Flaky sea or kosher salt to taste
  • Braggs liquid amino acids or soy sauce to taste
  • Drizzle of honey optional


  1. Slice kale into thin strips, cutting crosswise. The result should be about 2- to 4-inch strips. Place these in a bowl with the lemon juice. Rub the juice into the kale and let sit for 2 to 4 hours in the fridge. Place sliced onions into a bowl with balsamic vinegar and let marinate for at least one hour.
  2. Remove onions from vinegar and discard any liquid left at bottom of bowl. In large serving bowl, toss kale with onions, carrots, celery, oil, cumin, turmeric and pepper.
  3. Add sunflower and hemp seeds, nuts, cherries or cranberries, sun-dried tomatoes, sesame seeds, sesame oil and orzo. Toss again.
  4. Add feta cheese and toss lightly to disperse ingredients throughout the salad rather than leaving them sitting at the bottom of the bowl. Taste and add salt, a quick dash of liquid amino acids, and/or honey if needed, tossing lightly to combine.

Recipe Notes

Serves 6 to 8.