Asian Kale & Salmon Salad

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Asian Kale and Salmon Salad is chock-full of vibrant, nutrient-rich veggies and tossed with a zingy Asian-citrus dressing.

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Raise your hand if you’re coming down with a wicked case of cabin fever!

These days I feel like I look like Jack Nicholson from the Shining – wild haired and wide eyed from being shut in against the howling wind and freezing temperatures, while peering out from behind the curtains – minus the whole horrific plot, obviously. A forecasted 6-8 inches of snow coming our way on Thursday isn’t helping matters much, either!

Ben and I have a fun trip planned to Charleston, SC in a little over a month, which I am considering creating a countdown chain for because I am so excited. I have repeatedly and excessively stated over the past couple of years (sorry!) that Ben and I really fell in love with the culture of New Orleans when we visited in 2010, and are excited to experience another southern staple – the city of Charleston. Taking restaurant/activity recommendations…NOW!

Anyways, I feel like I can’t even wait until then to get out of here! We’re trying to plan a long weekend getaway somewhere warm and within a 10-12 hour drive for some time in the next couple of weeks. Any ideas? I’d love to go to Austin (keepin’ it weird!) and Ben’s rooting for Memphis – I think because it’s such a hardcore music town and he’s dying for a bango. I’d go for the BBQ, I suppose.

Until we figure it out, I’m continuing to weave bright, light dishes into our weekly meal plan to remind me that warmer days and places are definitely ahead. Onward, right? Asian Kale & Salmon Salad is definitely helping the cause.

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

If the saying’s true that you are what you eat, then we’ll all be health goddesses after devouring this salad which combines antioxidant rich kale and red cabbage with vibrant veggies like carrot, cucumber, and green onions, tossed in a Asian-citrus dressing.

Salmon fillets, which are high in fatty acids that can help boost your mood, are marinated in the salad dressing then quickly seared and placed on top.

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Sweet orange slices seal the deal and add a sweet burst of flavor to this yummy salad that is definitely classified as feel-good food!

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Start the Asian Kale & Salmon Salad by making the salmon marinade and salad dressing which is one and the same. Yeehaw for double duty sauces! In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine 2-1/2 Tablespoons rice vinegar, and 2 Tablespoon orange juice – store bought or fresh squeezed, your call.

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Next add 1 Tablespoon lime juice and 1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce. 

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Adding some Asian flavah is 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (a little goes a long way) and 2 teaspoons honey. If you measure the honey after the oil, it will slide right out.

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Finally add 1 clove garlic and 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger. If you don’t have fresh, 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger would do in a pinch!

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Whir the ingredients together then set it aside while you prep your salmon. You’ll want 2-4oz fillets.

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Season the salmon filets with salt & pepper then place into a ziplock baggie or shallow dish and add 2 Tablespoons dressing. Let them marinate on the counter while you get started on the salad portion of the program!

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In a large bowl add 6 cups washed and dried kale. I rip mine from the tough stems then tear them into pretty small pieces.

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Now get your massage on! Ben can’t convince me to massage his feet, but for some reason I really like massaging kale. I guess those two things aren’t really the same though. Anyways! Use your fingertips and hands to really get in there and massage the kale. It will start smelling kind of grassy (don’t worry it doesn’t taste like it) and whither down significantly. After 2-3 minutes the kale should be tender enough to eat. Just give a piece a try – if it’s not there, just keep massaging.

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Time to add the crunchy toppings, including 1 cup shredded purple cabbage (psst – juice the leftovers!) and 1 peeled, seeded and chopped cucumber.

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1 shredded carrot and 2 chopped green onions into the pool…

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Finally, segment 1 large orange or 2 small oranges into the bowl. Here’s a tutorial for segmenting oranges >

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Drizzle in the remaining salad dressing then toss everything to combine.

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The last step is to saute the salmon in a nonstick-sprayed skillet over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes on one side, then 1-2 minutes on the other. Here’s a post I recently wrote for Delish Dish on how to cook salmon!

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Divide the salad between two bowls, top with the seared salmon, then drizzle 1 Tablespoon chopped almonds on top. Voila, Asian Kale & Salmon Salad is served!

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad

Print this recipe!

Serves 2

Adapted from Clean Eating Mag

Ingredients: 
2-4oz salmon fillets
salt & pepper
1 bunch kale (about 6 cups,) torn from stem then into small, bite-sized pieces
1 cup shredded purple cabbage
2 green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded & chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 orange, segmented (or 2 small oranges)
1 Tablespoon almonds, chopped

For the salmon marinade/salad dressing:
2-1/2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons orange juice
1 Tablespoon lime juice
1 Tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 clove garlic
salt & pepper

Directions: 

  1. Blend marinade/salad dressing ingredients together in a food processor or blender. Season salmon fillets with salt & pepper then place into a ziplock bag or shallow dish and add 2 Tablespoons dressing. Marinate on the counter while you prepare salad.
  2. In a large bowl add kale then massage with hands and fingertips until tender, about 3 minutes. Add cabbage, green onion, cucumber, carrot, orange segments, and remaining dressing then toss to combine and set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat then spray well with nonstick spray. Add salmon skin side down then cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip, peel skin off then discard, and then cook for 1-2 more minutes. Divide salad between bowls then top with salmon and sprinkle chopped almonds on top.

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list here – many items are fridge and pantry staples. Besides, we’re worth it! ;)

Asian Kale & Salmon Salad | iowagirleats.com

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Comments

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  1. Ed 02.19.2013

    I love salmon…that looks really tasty!

  2. Austin is fantastic! I have visited quite a few times (including last weekend which was such a great break from midwest winter) and it is SUCH a blast. So much outdoor activity between biking, runs, kayaking on the river, etc. The farmers market, first ever whole foods, and awesome restaurants. And TONS of live music. I’d recommend it!

    • I aggree with everyone on Austin. It is a great place, you will love it! They also have quite a few vineyards right outside Austin (in the hill country) for wine tasting.

  3. Staci 02.19.2013

    Austin is the “Live Music Capitol of the World.” True! I spent many, many college nights clubbing on 6th street! (Oh the memories!) It is a fabulous city, tons to do, amazing restaurants, (Southern fare, BBQ, and everything else), tons of outdoor stuff, etc. You guys would love it!

  4. Taylor 02.19.2013

    I am going to Charleston for the first time in just over a month too! I have heard rave reviews (and have made reservations) about the following: Fig and Hominy Grille. I cannot recall the name of the restaurant, but a James Beard winning chef has a restaurant there and I have herd from numerous people it is not worth the hefty price tag, just an FYI. We are also planning on going to a cooking class, apparently they release their April classes at the beginning of March. http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com

    Having experienced both cities, I would definitely recommend Austin.

    Have so much fun on your trips!!

    • Big Hungry Shelby 02.21.2013

      The James Beard-winner is Sean Brock, and the restaurant is Husk and it IS that good, for the cornbread alone. Husk is a don’t-miss, but get reservations now, because they’re hard to come by. Also, Fig is always packed. I tried to eat there in September on the fly, and couldn’t get a table. For breakfast, hit up Dixie Supply Company, decidely less fancy, but totally chill and delicious. Tons of locals there. The biscuits and gravy are to die.
      Poogan’s Porch is right next to Husk, and also is good, but not on Husk’s level. And Hominy Grill is the institution in Charleston.

  5. Rebecca 02.19.2013

    I lived in Summerville, SC (just outside of Charleston) for almost two years. Try the pizza at Andolini’s or at the Mellow Mushroom. Get brunch at Jestine’s Kitchen. I never ate at FIG, but it always got rave reviews. You can’t go wrong with any of Charleston’s upscale restaurants. If you go to Folly Beach, make sure you eat at Taco Boy, and if you head up to Summerville, go to Perfectly Franks. They have the best hot dogs and sweet potato fries on the planet!

  6. Jane 02.19.2013

    It was 82 in Austin yesterday, pretty unreal. One tip though, you guys would probably want to make that trip before or after SXSW (March 8-17). The city explodes with out of towners, making everyday activities nearly impossible.

  7. Maggie 02.19.2013

    The Husk Bar tops my list of places to visit!! If you want to stay for dinner, make reservations now! However, the best meal I’ve ever had in Charleston is at FIG. Cru Cafe is my favorite lunch spot — I don’t visit the city without popping in for a bite :) I’m so jealous of your upcoming trip!

  8. Heather 02.19.2013

    I have wanted to go to both New Orleans and Charleston for such a long time! I can’t get away right now for even a long weekend, so I’m making cajun, creole, and other southern food, and watching movies that take place in the south to help tide me over until I can get away. Can’t wait to hear a recap of your trip, including the restaurants you visit!

  9. Cristy 02.19.2013

    Charleston is awesome! Check out Poogan’s Porch-it’s delicious! The city is absolutely beautiful!

  10. Amanda G. 02.19.2013

    Ah! One of my fave cities for sure. I tried a bunch of your restaurant recommendations in NOLA, so I’d say we have similar taste (pun intended) ;) I got recommendations from Jenna at ELR when I visited Charleston a few years back and all were FANTASTIC: Slightly North of Broad (SNOB), Virginia on King (great for lunch), and Magnolias. All three are walking distance in the heart of the touristy part of downtown Charleston, so they’re very easy to get to. We also visited Hominy (as featured on Food Network) for a “big nasty biscuit” for breakfast on our way out of town. Take a horse and carriage ride as soon as you get there so you can get a feel for the layout of the city – I believe it’s called Red Door Barn or something like that ($20pp and seriously well worth every penny!). Walk along the water and drool over the gorgeous homes. Enjoy!!

  11. BeccaV 02.19.2013

    I visited Charleston for the first time last March. We had lunch at Husk which was a disappointment, burnt bacon on my Fried Chicken BLT and burnt toast on our appetizer. Lana Restaurant was excellent and so was Five Loaves, our favorite was G&M – Gaulart & Maliclet French Cafe, but get there early it’s a small place!
    The carriage ride around town was worth it too, we saw so much we wouldn’t have seen traveling on our own on foot.

  12. Lori 02.19.2013

    Aaaahhhh! Why do you discard the skin?? If you get it good and crunchy and cut it into strips, it’s like salmon croutons on top of your salad!! Please tell me that you just haven’t tried it and aren’t doing it because you don’t like it… Salmon skin is fantastic.

  13. Jessica 02.19.2013

    This looks unreal! The ingredients I need are going straight to the top of my grocery list. YUM! As for cities you guys should absolutely put Austin at the top of your list! Its tons of fun, the weather is great, the food out of this world, the activities are endless! Its so much fun! You would love it.

  14. Sally 02.19.2013

    Charleston is easily my favorite city in the US -the architecture is beautiful, the cobbled streets are so charming, the weather is great, and it combines the city and the beach – perfect! I know you two will have an awesome time – I cannot wait to see your pictures!!

    As far as restaurants, there are a million good ones to try, but my favorite is FIG (http://eatatfig.com/) They use a lot of local food, and have an awesome cocktail menu, plus are located in such a beautiful area of the city.

    Excited to try this kale salad! :)

  15. Valerie 02.19.2013

    I love Charleston, it’s one of my favorite places to visit ever! I’ve been several times and will be returning again this July. One of my favs in Charleston is Poogan’s Porch, the Queen St. Grocery is a fun little spot for crepes or an afternoon drink, it has weird hours so make sure to check it out before you head over! Another good thing to do is to tour one of the old homes or venture out of the city a bit to tour a plantation. I’ve toured the Nathanial Russell House (in Charleston) and the Boone Plantation. If you are into shopping, there are some great boutiques along King Street that are from time to time a bit pricey, but worth checking out for sales or smaller items! Have fun, can’t wait to read what you think of Charleston.

  16. young c 02.19.2013

    Sounds yummy!

  17. Brenna 02.19.2013

    I lived in Charleston for several years. McCrady’s in Downtown is AMAZING. The meals DH and I had there are some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Tristan is also good, as is Fig and SNOB (Slightly North of Broad).

  18. Kristie 02.19.2013

    Hi! I have lived in Charleston for the past 9 years, and it is absolutely wonderful! Not sure if you’re staying around King Street, but there is always something going on in that area that is fun, and great shopping! In my opinion, don’t follow the hype that is Husk, bc it has become severely overrated. I would recommend prohibition-style drinks at the Charleston Cocktail club, followed by dinner at The Macintosh, FIG, or Cypress. Another fun place for innovative drinks is The Belmont, and if Ben is craving a steak, you can never go wrong with Hall’s Chop House. A hole in the wall bar, with an awesome beer selection, and the best sandwich I have ever had, the Duck Club, is at The Tattooed Moose. If time allows, you can also go to the Firefly distillery and taste the original sweet tea vodka, among their other tasty beverages! And, of course, Marion Square on the corner of King and Calhoun streets, usually has a farmer’s market going on, is nice place to go to just to be in sunshine.
    Let me know if you need any other recommendations – I could go on forever! And, so excited that you’re coming for a visit!! I am such a fan of your blog, and your recipes are such staples in my weekly menu! Thanks for all you do :-)

  19. I just have to say that your pictures are always so gorgeous! The way that you captured the colors in this dish is phenomenal.

  20. Christine 02.19.2013

    I also think you should check out Poogan’s Porch, such a cute and delicious place!!

  21. Maria 02.19.2013

    How do you get all the white stuff off the outside of your orange?!

    Charleston recs: We were last there in October 2010. It is a beautiful city. We did the USS Yorktown (HUGE aircraft carrier with great views of the city and water) and the submarine next to the Yorktown. Down by the water, just walk around and you will find a random huge pineapple fountain (and lots of other fountains). Keep walking from the pineapple fountain down to Waterfront Park and sit on the swings and watch the water. There are some very pretty houses down by the water too. Hopefully you have nice weather; it was gorgeous (but a little windy) for us when we were there in October. Have fun!

  22. Lisa 02.19.2013

    Charleston is the best! We are renting a house on Folly Beach for the second time later this year!
    Quick list of fun things:
    Folly Beach, Husk, Poogans Porch, Jim N Nick’s BBQ,shops on Market Street,Hominy Grill (omg, the pudding!! Alton Brown’s “Favorite Thing” on Food Network!) the Citadel, the Charleston Farmers Market on Saturdays in Marion Square (although your trip may be a bit early for that), King Street shopping, and cooking class at Charleston Cooks! http://www.mavericksouthernkitchens.com/charlestoncooks/charleston/classes/

    Have an awesome trip, and can’t wait to see pictures on your blog!

    • Claire 02.19.2013

      I went to Charleston in October and we went to many places you mentioned, but I think my favorite thing was the chocolate pudding at Hominy Grill. It’s in the top 5 things I’ve ever eaten!

      • Lisa 02.19.2013

        I KNOW!! So good! My sister even stopped there on her way to the airport, had them put it in a to-go box, and ate it on the plane on the way home!

  23. Rachel 02.19.2013

    Wow this recipe looks SO good and I amazingly have all of the ingredients in my fridge! Thanks so much for posting! I just love your blog so much! Also I totally feel you on the cabin fever… just booked a weekend trip to San Diego in April to have something fun and warm to look forward to!

  24. Amber S. 02.19.2013

    I just bought a bunch of kale for kale fried rice, and oranges were on sale, plus we have leftover salmon – and you just made my dinner! Although I must say those pieces of salmon look GORGEOUS, nothing compared to our grocery stores here in southwest VA ( grocery store to remain nameless…ahem..Kroger!).

    I’ve never been to Austin or Charleston, but I have yet to check out a place in Texas that I wasn’t a fan of. Of course you can’t go wrong with checking out restaurants from Guy Fieris “diners, drive ins and dives”!

  25. Jessica 02.19.2013

    What a beautiful salad!

  26. I LOVE salads with meat where you use the same dressing as a marinade. Especially a dressing that sounds as delish as this!

    If you’re looking for Charleston tips, you should definitely check out Christina’s blog at hungrymeetshealthy.com! She is constantly making me want to visit!

  27. Amanda 02.19.2013

    Austin’s fun for sure, but what about Nashville? I also have to suggest my hometown St. Louis. We have GREAT food and a ton of fun things to do. I would definitely send you a list if you were interested as I have good practice being the unofficial STL tourist bureau for my friends and family. I can’t promise it would be warm, but I can promise it would be a great time, affordable and not too long of a driving distance!

  28. Katie Jo 02.19.2013

    Poogan’s Porch!

  29. Kristin 02.19.2013

    I second Amanda’s recommendations of Virgina’s on King and Magnolias. Virgina’s has a mouthwatering breakfast that my husband and I STILL talk about four years after we visited.

  30. Sara 02.19.2013

    LOVE Charleston! Definitely do a carriage tour – we loved the Palmetto company. If you are into crazy donuts, go to Glazed. They have an Earl Grey blackberry donut that is out of this world. We also ate at Magnolia’s and it was delicious, especially the shellfish over grits.

  31. Janel Gradowski 02.19.2013

    Even my dog has cabin fever. Our yard is a slippery sheet of ice right now, with dashes of swirling snow. I’ve been sick and I’m really craving something healthy like this!

  32. Adrienne 02.19.2013

    Charleston food recs – Magnolia’s for fried chicken and 82 Queen (I had an amazing fried green tomato sandwich and their she-crab soup is famous). Hominy Grill was good too.

  33. I have been craving salmon like crazy and that is one of the most beautiful salads I’ve ever seen!!

  34. Maura 02.19.2013

    Charleston is such a beautiful and charming city! My little brother goes to CoC and next time I visit him I will definitely be checking out Glazed – he’s told me great things about it! http://www.glazedgourmet.com/

  35. Emily S 02.19.2013

    A native South Carolinian recommends HUSK! They even harvest ocean water to make their own sea salt

  36. Kacie 02.19.2013

    Please go to Folly Beach. I lived there for 2 years and have been back in Iowa for almost 2 years now and I miss it terribly!

    Also – Poogan’s Porch for sure!

  37. nancy 02.19.2013

    Love, love, love any new way to prepare salmon. This looks yummy. Love kale, too, so you’ve actually prepared a masterpiece. I can certainly relate to the weather, being from Minneapolis. Below zero with winds blowing about. BRRRRRRR! Stay in and cook something warm!

  38. suzanne 02.19.2013

    Do you buy your salmon pre-portioned? fresh or frozen? Trader Joes??

    • Iowa Girl Eats 02.20.2013

      I usually buy it un-frozen from Costco or Whole Foods then portion and freeze any leftovers at home!

  39. Nicky 02.19.2013

    Everything in Charleston seems to include bacon…we even tasted (and liked!) “bacon jam”! You have to enjoy a lavender martini at Cypress. Amazing!! You’ll LOVE Charleston….so much delicious food!!

  40. Nicky 02.19.2013

    Everything in Charleston seems to include bacon…we even tasted (and liked!) “bacon jam”! You have to enjoy a lavender martini at Cypress. Amazing!! You’ll LOVE Charleston….so much delicious food!! And it’s beautiful there!

  41. Amy D 02.19.2013

    I LOVE Charleston! You have to eat at Hyman’s, great seafood!

  42. Rethea 02.19.2013

    I made your kale fried rice twice in the last two weeks. My husband and I love it.

  43. Lindsay 02.19.2013

    1. This salad looks crazy-good!

    2. I’m currently living in Charleston. I third the farmer’s market, if it’s up and running by then. I haven’t been on a carriage tour, for shame!, but am dying to and highly recommend one. The 2 best plantations to visit are Magnolia and Middleton. Magnolia is more reasonable, but Middleton is amazing, and the plantation house is older, if memory serves me. As far as restaurants, good luck deciding…there are so many that are so good! If you ever come back, come in Jan. or Aug. when they do restaurant week. Great deals at amazing restaurants. Anyway, I recommend Jestine’s Kitchen, the restaurant at Middleton plantation (not downtown), Hank’s, Fleet Landing, and Cork and Sesame Burger are also very good, but also not downtown. There’s so much more; you’ll love it here!

  44. Lauren S 02.19.2013

    As a native South Carolinian and Charleston resident, I can definitely say we have some amazing places to eat! Of course the “tourist traps” are always popular destinations (Jestine’s, Hyman’s, etc) but I recommend some of “locals” places – try Fulton Five or Lucca Trattoria for amazing Italian and great ambiance; Oak Steakhouse for all things wonderful; or Husk if you want some traditional Southern fare. Get drinks at the Gin Joint or Cocktail Club. Have brunch at Fat Hen and lunch at Rutledge Cab Company or Butcher and Bee. Then finish it all off with a run along the Battery! Feel free to email me for more suggestions, and most of all, have fun!

  45. julia 02.19.2013

    I love Charleston!!! I spent most of my time at the beach but Poe’s tavern is a fun bar/pub that has great food and great drinks!http://www.poestavern.com/

    I also love salmon salads–there is one at Panera that I always get that tastes awesome. Can’t wait to try this out!

  46. Aly 02.19.2013

    Bowen’s Island Restaurant is QUITE an experience. :) http://www.bowensislandrestaurant.com/

  47. Hillary 02.19.2013

    I honeymooned in Charleston and absolutely can’t wait to go back! Highly recommend Toast (http://www.toastofcharleston.com/) for an amazing breakfast! There’s also a dessert place called Kaminsky’s (attached to a steakhouse in the market area- http://www.kaminskys.com/) for the most RIDICULOUS desserts you’ve ever eaten. We regretted not trying Husk, which had rave reviews.

    Sigh.. Southern comfort at its best! :)

  48. Ellie 02.19.2013

    You without a doubt absolutely have to go to Basil, I think you would LOVE it! http://eatatbasil.com/ I also highly recommend Cru Cafe for lunch http://crucafe.com. My BFF is from Charleston and is a major foodie. These are some of her favorite places and we always hit them up when I’m in town.

  49. Kate Bentley 02.19.2013

    Pearlz is the best and it also Reese Witherspoons favorite restaurant. Fish tacos and hush puppies, delish!

  50. AC 02.19.2013

    I’d second that nashville vote for a weekend get-away… it’s very do-able from des moines. and, actually, there’s a super cute area called grand rivers ky, with really great b&b’s… kind of galena-esque! We’ve been twice- once as a pass-thru & once as the official destination!

    I also second the st. louis comment (same person, i think!) the zoo is free! what’s not to love about that!

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