berry-basil kale salad

July 10, 2013 at 7:00 am

Ah, summer is finally here. Well it feels like it anyways. I just got back from vacay with the fam in Florida where it was about 100 degrees every day. Returning back to Chicago to 75 degree weather felt rather chilly! Loving it, and the recent return to 85 degrees and humidity. I can get used to this.

Eating a gluten-free + vegan diet in Florida was a huge challenge. When a waitress asks if dairy-free is the same thing as gluten-free I know what I’m ordering – salad. Lots of salad, twice a day on some days, and of course wine, chocolate, and french fries. This left me craving Chicago’s local lusciousness and a salad with more than just iceberg or romaine lettuce.

Show me the kale!

An hour after I arrived home I was at my local Mariano’s with my geeky city grocery cart and a massive list in hand. While I missed my Irv & Shelly’s delivery, Mariano’s would have to do. I grabbed a bottle of kombucha, which I totally missed while being away and grabbed some goods.

This salad was born out of this trip. I was hoping for strawberries, but my plant has produced exactly 3 strawberries the size of raisins (gardeners – call me, I need help!), anyways, I ended up with blackberries, which are exploding with summer juice! Everything in here is local less the avocado.

The is the salad of summer.

Serves 4-6 as a side


  • 1 – 2 bunches of lacinato kale, washed, stems removed, torn into bite sized peices
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 pint fresh berries, like blueberries, strawberries or blackberries as I used here
  • 12 or so fresh basil leaves, diced
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • pinch of sea salt
  • drizzle of maple syrup


  1. put the torn kale into a large salad bowl, add avocado, a pinch of salt and lime juice and get your hands dirty, massaging the mixture into the leaves – doing this softens the kale making it much easier to chew
  2. add remaining ingredients – basil, berries and maple syrup and toss to coat.

Happy summer!

For more  urban-minimalist + vegan inspiration, visit me at Barefoot Essence, I turn hungry people’s kitchens into healthy fast food restaurants and teach famished + all-too-busy folks how to make super simple plant-based + gluten-free food.