Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Raw Thai Kale Slaw with a Creamy Ginger-Almond Butter Dressing

You are going to love this nutritious raw kale slaw. It's full of detoxification and antioxidant compounds, and just bursting with the fresh, bright flavors of basil, mint, and cilantro. All tossed in a slightly spicy and gingery, creamy almond butter dressing. What I love about this salad is that it lasts up to 5 days in the refrigerator! Once it's made, you can take out portions as needed to easily fulfill part of your daily raw veggie needs.

I've been serving a large plateful of this Thai-style kale slaw with fried eggs for breakfast, or tossed with leftover rice and garbanzo beans for lunch. It's also delicious served with a thai-style main dish for dinner, such as Thai Coconut Fish Sticks, Thai Fish Curry with Garden Vegetables, or this Vegan Thai Green Curry.

And not to forget the oh-so-important nutrition information! As you might guess, this salad is rich in detoxifying compounds. Kale and cabbage both come from the cruciferous vegetable family, a family of vegetables known for their detoxification powers. Did you know that there is research showing that autistic children who consume sulforophane (one of the active compounds in cruciferous vegetables) show positive behavioral changes as a result of this nutritional superstar? Sulforophane is most concentrated in broccoli sprouts, but can also be found in raw (or lightly steamed) kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes, watercress, and arugula!

Cruciferous vegetables are also very beneficial in calming down autoimmunity. Once consumed, sulforophane travels to our cells and changes how our genes are read. It literally allows us to read hundreds of beneficial antioxidant and detoxification genes. The result is a cell that has less toxins, and less inflammation. Can you function in a messy, dirty house? I know I can't! The cell is the same. It can't function very well if it has lots of toxins and debris lying around. Detoxification is, in essence, cleaning up the house of the cell. Antioxidants, then we could say, are the repair crew. When your cells are "clean" you might notice increased energy, clearer thinking, and less pain!

Raw Thai Kale Slaw

This recipe makes a large batch so be prepared for a big, delicious salad! It’s perfect for potlucks, parties, or if you would like to have a pre-made salad waiting for you in the fridge during the week.

1 bunch black kale, thinly sliced
½ small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
½ small head green cabbage, thinly sliced
1 small sweet onion, sliced into half moons
3 to 4 large carrots, shredded or julienned
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 bunch fresh basil, thinly sliced
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 bunch fresh mint, chopped

⅓ cup creamy almond butter
½ cup water
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon naturally fermented fish sauce (I use Red Boat)
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 to 3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 inch piece fresh ginger
1 thai chili
¼ to ½ teaspoon sea salt

To make the salad, place all of the ingredients into a very large bowl (one big enough to be able to toss the salad and dressing together without it spilling over the sides).

To make the dressing, Place all ingredients into a blender or a wide-mouthed jar. Blend until smooth in your blender, or use an immersion blender to blend the dressing ingredients together in the jar. Taste and adjust ingredients as necessary. Does it need more ginger for your tastes? More spice? Add another chili pepper. Does it need more sour? Add more lime juice. Does it need more flavor? Add a little bit more sea salt or fish sauce. Then blend again.

Using clean hands, toss the dressing with the salad, gently massaging it into the vegetables (this will help to tenderize the kale). Serve immediately or store in an airtight glass or stainless steel food storage container for later use. Lasts up to 5 days in the refrigerator. It's best to bring the salad to room temp before serving, or serve it straight from the fridge over warm rice or soup.

Yield: about 8 to 10 servings

Tip: I grow a lot of Thai chili peppers every summer. To store them, I just place them into an air-tight container and freeze whole, which takes minimal effort and almost no time at all! I've still been using up some of last year's harvest over a year later (they freeze that well)! I also make a lot of lacto-fermented hot sauce and Sriracha Sauce with my hot pepper harvest, which I have yet to do this year.

Variation: If you can't find Thai chili peppers at your local food co-op or health food store, then check your local Asian Market. You can also substitute the pepper in the dressing with a few pinches of crushed red chili flakes, or just omit the spice altogether.

More Raw Cruciferous Salads: 
Post-Holiday Detox Salad
Winter Salad with a Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Christmas Kale Salad

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. RAVE reviews for this salad! I can't stop eating it!!

    1. Hi Em,

      Thanks so much for your feedback! So glad you are enjoying it! :)

  2. This is delicious. I agree with Em: I can't stop eating it! Thank you for this recipe! (I used two seeded jalapeños instead of the Thai pepper, and took out the red pepper because I forgot to buy both... it was still great. It really did last for days in the refrig, but it was hard not to eat it all in two days. We're on our second batch.

    1. Thanks for your feedback! I know...it is hard not to eat it all in two days!! Thanks for sharing your modification. :)


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