amy chaplin

celebrating the art of eating well

Simple kale salad with umami dressing

POSTED ON October 25, 2014


It’s been a whirlwind week!  The launch event for my book was on Wednesday at Power House Books where I had my first official book signing and Q & A with the lovely and charming Jennifer Aaronson (from Martha Stewart). Despite the fact that we had a cold, heavy rain that night, the turnout was great.  My heart was warmed to see so many people from my life in New York gathered together—and it was great to meet new friends who have been following along here. I am brimming with gratitude for the support that I’ve received in person and online this week.

Although I’ve started a few posts over the last several days, today I’m determined to share this extremely simple salad. This recipe came about when one of my clients requested a good dressing with the umami flavor of nutritional yeast to toss with her daily kale salads. Nutritional yeast is not something I use regularly in my cooking, as I’ve never really been convinced that it’s a health food—although it does taste really good on a bowl of popcorn! When purchasing nutritional yeast it’s important to seek out a brand that is grown on molasses (not hops, grain or malt), which has a naturally pleasant flavor and doesn’t need to be processed to remove any bitterness.

After trying Premier nutritional flakes, which is grown on molasses, boasts plenty of nutritional benefits and has a lovely delicate flavor, I’m inspired to see where else I might use it. The nutritional benefits include an impressive quantity of B-12, amino acids and trace minerals. What’s great about using nutritional yeast in this dressing is that it creates a creamy consistency, which works well with heartier greens like kale.

To dress up this straightforward salad, I usually serve it with avocado, chickpeas, toasted seeds or roasted squash. Feel free to add in whatever you have on hand.


Photos by Stephen Johnson.

Find a recipe from my book along with photos of my kitchen and an interview by Jackie Cooperman in The Wall Street Journal

Information about nutritional yeast from “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford (North Atlantic Books) and “The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia” By Rebecca Wood (Penguin Compass)

Simple Kale Salad with umami dressing

I usually use my microplane zester for grating garlic directly into this dressing, which is easier to clean up than a chopping board or a garlic press. For the salad I found this gorgeous purple kale, but you can use any kind you like. I also found dill flowers at the green market and couldn’t resist using them to create a pretty garnish.

Serves 2

Umami dressing

Makes ½ cup

5 tablespoons nutritional yeast

5 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, pressed

Pinch sea salt

1 teaspoon tamari

¼ cup cold pressed flax oil or extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon coconut nectar or maple syrup, optional



4 cups kale, torn into bite size pieces

1 shallot or scallion, thinly sliced


Add-ins: avocado, chickpeas, shaved beets or radishes, roasted squash

Make the dressing:

Add nutritional yeast, lime juice, garlic, salt and tamari to a bowl and whisk to combine. Drizzle in flax oil and continue whisking until emulsified. Taste and add sweetener if its too sharp for your taste. Place in a jar in the fridge until ready to use. Dressing will keep up to 5 days.

Make the salad:

Place kale in a large bowl, add dressing and use your hands to massage until thoroughly combined. Add shallots and any other add -ins and serve.

POSTED IN Gluten free, Salads

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  • Kim Rice says:

    I love simple kale salads. I can’t wait to try this.

  • Ale says:

    Love , quick, healthy recipes. I will give it a try!

  • I love the simplicity of this salad. I don’t often use nutritional yeast, but I’m inspired to give it a try. Thanks for this recipe.

  • This simple salad is perfect because it’s still so rich in flavor. Thank you for recommending a brand of nutritional yeast, that in itself is really helpful! And I would definitely add in the avocado and chickpeas to this salad, too. Yum!

  • Katie says:

    I tried this salad dressing last night and I am addicted. Wow, so good!

  • meryl says:

    I just made this dressing. It is superb! I was going to save it for lunch tomorrow, but i just cut up some avocado to dip in. Thank you for sharing.

  • Nik says:

    Mmm… this dressing might just convince me to give nutritional yeast another chance.

    Amy, I received your books a few days ago and I spent the weekend wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea reading it cover-to-cover. It is fair to say I was excited about this book (I pre-ordered back in June!) but it completely exceeded my expectations. I love everything about it: Your voice that comes through on every pages, the incredible knowlege you share about ingredients and techniques, the quality of the paper, the gorgeous pictures… and the food (ah, the glorious food!) So far I made: Millet Cauliflower Mash (my new favorite confort food), French Lentil Soup with Rosemary, Squash, and Rainbow Chard (using the last produce from our garden), Superfood Oatmeal (what a difference soaking makes!), and the Greens and Grains Roll (I want to bathe in that dipping sauce…) My boyfriend has already requested that I make over half the dessert recipes. I have hundreds of cookbooks and yours has quickly found a special place on my “everyday shelf” with my favorites (Fields of Greens, Modern Vegetarian Kitchen, Ottolenghi, Cafe Paradiso,…) Thank you so much for writing such a beautiful, inspiring book! I look forward to cooking and eating my way through it.

  • thefolia says:

    Simple, healthy, yummy…I’m in! Happy Nesting.

  • Looks delicious Amy! I also just want to mention that I love the look of your new book – absolutely gorgeous!

  • Tracy says:

    I often use nutritional yeast flakes for the simplest of ways to dress up steamed veggies or salads, or to add a savory slightly cheesy/salty flavor to other foods. Beautiful kale salad! Just finished a yummy salad w/ a super simple creamy dressing I’m about to post about myself! Funny how I only now opened the link to check out your salad recipe. There always seems to be some divine synchronicity at work! ~Thanks! Tracy

  • Shannon says:

    Yummy recipe. Thanks x

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