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Please keep in mind that while I am a certified Health Coach, I am not a registered dietitian or doctor. This blog is not intended as medical or nutritional advice. My posts are based on my own research and personal experience. You should always consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet and exercise routine. You are ultimately responsible for your own health!
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All Hail Kale Salad (copycat recipe)

If you’ve ever dined at the Veggie Grill, you may have already tasted their “All Hail Kale” salad. It’s ridiculously delicious.

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In fact, it’s the kind of salad you’d serve to people who claim they don’t like salad.

They’d eat their words. And then, more salad.

Since we don’t dine out very often, I’ve been determined to create a “copycat” recipe to mimic the flavors found in this dish. Luckily, my job was pretty easy, since the original recipe is already posted online. However, now that I know what’s in their Papaya Ginger salad dressing, I’m not so thrilled. (Over 3 cups of canola oil!)

For the following healthier version, I drastically reduced the oil and upgraded the ingredients. The resulting dressing is downright addictive, and certainly rivals the original!

Papaya Ginger Dressing
Makes 1.5 cups

Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

1/2 cup papaya chunks
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 ounce fresh ginger, peeled
2 Tablespoons coconut vinegar
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 cup water, or more to thin

Directions:

In a high-speed blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until completely smooth and silky.

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5.0 from 7 reviews

Papaya Ginger Dressing
Author: 
Serves: 1.5 cups
 
A sweet, gingery dressing inspired by the Veggie Grill.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup papaya chunks
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ ounce fresh ginger, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ cup water, or more to thin
Instructions
  1. In a high-speed blender, combine all of the ingredients and blend until completely smooth and silky.
  2. Massage into kale leaves, and serve!
  3. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To prepare the salad, you’ll need:

1 bunch curly green kale
Papaya Mango Salsa, from Trader Joe’s (or any salsa of choice)
Maple Glazed Walnuts
Papaya Ginger Dressing (recipe above)
Shredded cabbage (optional)

Remove the kale leaves from the stems, and wash and dry thoroughly. In a medium bowl, toss the shredded cabbage in a bit of the Papaya Ginger dressing, and coat well. Set aside.

SONY DSCThe Veggie Grill tops their salad with a homemade Corn Salsa, but when I saw that Trader Joe’s carried a Papaya-based salsa, I knew it would be perfect over this salad. Plus, it saves me a step in the preparation process. To prepare the store-bought salsa, all I do is rinse it well– to remove as many additives as possible.

salsaThis salsa adds a great spicy “kick” to the sweet salad dressing.

Top the kale leaves with a bit of Ginger Papaya dressing, then use your hands to massage the dressing well into the leaves. The kale will soften and wilt as you go!

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Transfer the massaged kale to a serving plate, top with marinated cabbage, salsa and Maple Glazed Walnuts, then serve!

I hope you enjoy this salad as much I we do!

While this dish is technically mis-combined, you can easily remedy that by removing the walnuts and adding some ripe avocado slices, instead. (Remember, avocado is a fruit and fruits can combine with leafy greens!)

Reader Feedback: Have you ever tried to re-create your favorite restaurant meals at home?

34 comments to All Hail Kale Salad (copycat recipe)

  • Amanda

    Would apple cider vinegar work? I don’t have any coconut vinegar? I’ve never had the original dressing, so I’m guessing I wouldn’t think it tastes any less “authentic”

  • This recipe sounds quite refreshing…I have been enjoying roasted kale lately so this is a nice way to change it up. 3 cups of canola oil in the original recipe…that’s why I love modifying recipes to make them healthier!

  • i am always recreating the creamy, tangy tahini vegan dressings i get a veg restaurants. that stuff is like crack and sooooo good massaged over kale! in fact, i think i’m gonna make it tonight!

  • Melissa

    Hi. I’m trying to learn more about food combining. What exactly about this salad makes it mis-combined? Fresh fruit with nuts? Thanks! Looking forward to trying this salad.

  • Thanks for posting this with the healthy alt and the ida for the TJ’s salsa! This VG salad is SO FREAKING GOOD but the few times I’ve been back to the west coast, I wasn’t as impressed. Time to make is myself I guess!

  • kim

    Hi Megan,
    I just started reading your blog – love it!
    Just wondering why you don’t eat out often?
    Thanks!

  • That looks fantastic! Thanks for the idea of using papaya for a salad dressing!

  • Looks fabulous! Can’t wait to try. YUM!

  • This salad sounds so good. I’d never have thought to combine papaya and ginger in a salad dressing, but what a great idea it is!

  • Aiste

    Thank you for this recipe! Made it last night and it was sooo good! Will be making it at least once a week now! So thank you!

  • Balmy weather just rolled into the Midwest and so it seems appropriate to have salad at every meal. Perfect timing for finding this delicious recipe. Thank you!

  • Catherine

    My daughter and I had fun making this salad tonight. The whole family loved it! Thank you so much for introducing us to this yummy use of kale.

  • Deshia

    I have always thought of kale as a garnish used at restaurants. However, I was very happy with this dish! The dressing was a great alternative to heavy creamy dressings I typically use. I omitted the nuts and salsa. I added blood orange segments, fresh raspberries, and red onion. I even timidly added the kale to my smoothie the next morning and enjoyed it! The salad was even better for lunch the next day after the kale softened up in the dressing.

  • Cheya

    I made this last night for dinner & it is amazing! It’s definitely a new favorite. Adding the Papaya Mango Salsa from TJ’s was brilliant. The kick it gives makes the salad, in my opinion. Thanks so much! :)

  • Shayla

    how much shredded cabbage does this require?

  • Where can I find coconut vinegar? I’ve never heard if it. This looks amazing!! Love the flavors!! Would be great in the summer!!

  • Allison

    How long will this dressing last before going bad?

  • Brandy

    I make this salad but with shredded red beets and shredded carrots instead of the salsa. Yum! If you let the kale sit for a bit with the dressing on, it helps to soften the kale. Thanks so much for the dressing recipe – When I order the salad at Veggie Grill it comes with dressing on and with a small container of dressing on the side. I always take the container home to make my own version of the salad later, but now I can do my own (healthier) dressing!

  • josie

    This sounds so delicious. With recipe ingredients in hand, I went to Trader Joes last night and they said that the Papaya Mango salsa has been discontinued. We are on the east coast, so I don’t know if it is nationwide.

  • Meg

    Made this tonight for my hubby and I! This salad was DELICIOUS. ;)

  • Phil

    Meg, I don’t know you but I’m in love with you after this!
    A few months ago I became addicted to Veggie Grill’s All Hale Kale Salad but NOW I can easily afford to be addicted to it (Since I get to have one or two a day for 4 days straight now).

    When I was running around buying ingredients I found out that Trader Joe’s stopped making their Papaya, Mango Salsa and replaced it with their new Tropical Salsa which is Pineapple and Mango based; so I went with it since I had a Pineapple at home and I modified this by adding a 1/2 cup in the blender with the Papaya and I chopped up the rest of the Papaya and added it to the rinsed off Salsa. Since I’ve literally made 6 or 7 of these salads in the past 4 days I’ve mixed up the toppings (Maple Glazed Pecans (instead of Walnuts, due ot availability) Chicken is okay, Love chopped up hard boiled eggs, Avocado is awesome, Mushrooms work great too and going to try Red Onion’s tonight). In summary it was easily as good, if not better, as the original salad made by the Veggie Grill no matter which configuration of toppings I used.

    While shopping for ingredients, Ralphs had a sale on a Peach/Mango Salsa so in my next Salad Dressing I’m going to replace the 1/2 cup of Papaya with Peaches and I’m going to try 1/2 cup of Mango as well: I’ll check back in with the results…

    • Phil

      To update my previous post:
      As previously mentioned, since the Peach/Mango salsa was on sale I bought a few then when I made the dressing I added a healthy 1/2 Cup of chopped up Peaches and a healthy 1/2 Cup of chopped up Mango’s and let me simply say it is different in an equally as good way. Another thing I did was made a Corn on the Cob, cut off a bunch of Corn and mix it into the Salsa (since they don’t have Corn) huge bonus….

      So what I’ll do in the future is keep my eyes open for other store bough Salsa creations and adjust the Dressing for the Fruit’s in the Salsa: As long as I like the Fruit’s used in the Salsa then the Salad should be just as good with those Fruits.

      *** Maple Glazed Walnuts or Pecans *** :
      These are hard to find in stores and when I did find them they were $19.99 a pound. However Raw Walnuts or Pecans are about $7 a pound where I live, sure Maple Syrup is expensive but you can still make the 1st Batch for under $19.99 (then your next several batches are only $7 a pound) and it only takes about 5 min to make them. The only problem here is NOT eating them all while they’re cooling down.

      Simply throw:
      2 Cups of Nuts
      1/3 Cup of Maple Syrup
      1/8 teaspoon of Salt

      into a non-stick skillet that’s over Medium High heat and keep stirring as the Nuts get toasted and the Maple Syrup starts to thicken (I’ve been going till I “Just” start to smell a burnt smell) about 3 to 5 minutes: then dump them onto a Cookie Sheet to cool (Try not to eat them all while they’re cooling).

      From experience my 1st time, Pay close attention when the Maple starts to thicken, because if you stop stirring they will start smoking bad and they will retain a charred burnt taste …lol they do still taste good though (just not as good)

  • I’m guessing I could substitute mango for the papaya and it would still be wonderful? Have you tried the mango? Thanks!

  • Nicole

    I just stumbled on your website today and I am totally impressed with your unique recipes and your overall vision! I am so looking forward to trying one of your recipes out for dinner tomorrow. Also, I was wondering if there is a huge difference in using quinoa pasta or brown rice pasta as opposed to regular grain pasta taste-wise. I know I wouldn’t mind but my fiancée is a picky eater. He’s warmed up to vegan alternatives since we’ve been together, but we don’t generally avoid gluten. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes :)

  • […] from an old blog friend Megan’s recipe – subbing a bunch of ingredients. (My version’s at the bottom of this […]

  • […] I discovered Veggie Grill after living in Los Angeles for about a year. We don’t have this restaurant back in the Midwest, and I was a bit skeptical at first considering it is vegan. All my doubts were whisked away with a bite of the All Hail Kale Salad. I also love the buffalo wings! When I came across this Paleo copycat recipe of the kale salad, I knew immediately I had to make it. Just a warning there are a lot of steps to this recipe, but each is easy! I halved the dressing recipe and still had so much left over. I made a couple tweaks to the recipe. I used apple cinder vinegar in the place of coconut vinegar. Also instead of using the Trader Joe’s mango salsa, I whipped up my own combination with the remaining papaya from the dressing. I really liked the addition of green cabbage in this recipe. It adds a nice bite to compliment the sweetness from the dressing.  Ingredients Mango-Papaya Salsa 1 mango, diced 1/2 cup papaya, diced 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced 1/2 one lime, juice Lime zest Pinch of sea salt Honey Glazed Walnuts and Pecans 2 Tbls honey 1/2 cup walnuts 1/2 cup pecans 1/8 tsp sea salt Directions  For the salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl. Toss lightly together. Zest lime on top and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.  Recipe adapted from the Detoxinista. […]

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