Raw Kale Salad with Puy Lentils and Sweet Apricot Vinaigrette

kale salad lentils and apricot vinaigrette

Image © Food52

Hey all! I’m delighted to be posting today with exciting news. Starting today, I’ll be contributing a biweekly column to Food 52, which is one of the most beautiful, clever, and inspiring food websites around. I first discovered the site through Chloe, who is a great resource when it comes to all things gastronomical. The site is intended for eaters of all inclinations, but I get plenty of inspiration from even the non-vegetarian or vegan recipes: they give me ideas about what kinds of things I might like to veganize, and they’re chock full of technical instruction for the home cook. If you’re just starting to find your way around a kitchen, this is a fantastic place to master classic dishes and learn basic techniques.

Most importantly (to me), the writing at Food 52 is consistently excellent, and I enjoy the variety of columns and topics. Right now, I’m enjoying witty musings by Nicholas Day, who writes about “cooking for children, and with children, and despite children. Also, occasionally, on top of.”

My column will be called “The New Veganism.” It’s a coy little double entendre, because although it’s aimed at all readers, one of my hopes is that the column will help new vegans (or the vegancurious) to get started. It is also my hope that the column will introduce people to a kind of vegan cooking that defies most new vegans’ fears and doubts about the lifestyle. Before I became vegan, I was really worried about a) cost, b) the amount of time the recipes would demand, c) creating balanced meals, and d) the fact that my only real acquaintance with vegan food suggested that there was a lot of meat replication involved, and I didn’t really want to replicate meat. I think faux meats are great if you enjoy them, but at the beginning, I needed more basic instruction on what I could do with vegetables themselves!

So that’s what The New Veganism is all about. I hope you guys will check the posts out, and share your thoughts at Food 52 just the way you share them here! And even though you’re all regulars, I hope that the column will refresh your interest in mastering the art of vegan and raw cooking—the simple, easy, and fun way.

For my first column, I thought it was only fitting to present a kale salad. I’ll never forget the first time I tried kale raw, and was so delighted and surprised to realize how absolutely delicious it is. As I was writing this particular recipe down, I felt little pinpricks of nostalgia for my first bowl of “massaged” kale. I hope you will, too. And I can assure you that this particular salad: massaged kale with puy lentils and sweet apricot vinaigrette—is just the thing to make if you haven’t had kale salad in a while!

Head on over to Food52 and check it out! And feel free to leave feedback, too.

Before I go: thanks for so many thoughtful responses to yesterday’s post. One thing that occurred to me after I wrote it was that people like me spend so much time trying to show the world how delicious, abundant, and ultimately fulfilling the lifestyle is that we can sometimes forget to talk about the moments when it’s a little challenging. The problem with talking about all of the (many) rewards without addressing any of the challenges is that, when new vegans do encounter their first moment or two of difficulty, it’s easy for them to feel as though something must be wrong with them, or to conclude that something is wrong with the lifestyle.

My hope is that yesterday’s post showed you that it’s OK to feel as though it’s hard sometimes: the important thing is to realize that many other vegans have felt the same way at one point or another, but that we remained hopeful about what the lifestyle could give us, and what we could give back to others through the lifestyle. There is so much joy to be had in making healthful, compassionate, and conscious food choices; if you feel in your heart that veganism is right for you, stick with it. And you can always access this community for support!


All images © Food52.com

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Categories: Salads, Side Dishes
Ingredients: Kale, Lentils
Dietary Preferences: Gluten Free, Tree Nut Free, Vegan

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  1. Made this last night and LOVED it! Loved it just as much for lunch today. Paired it with a Mexican corn cake topped with salsa and black beans (on the cake, not the salad). Thanks so much for this new addition to my cookbook!

  2. Congratulations on the column, Gena! I can’t think of a better person to welcome the veg-curious into vegan land. I’m looking forward to following along!

  3. congrats on the food 52 column! gah i saw some apricots at TJs and nearly bought them but i opted for a big muskmelon instead. if i would have just seen this earlier haha. funny thing happened to me the other day and wondered if it has ever happened to you…i ate some raw golden beets and my throat got all stabby and sore!? i can eat red beets raw no problem but apparently not the golden ones? i had to roast them…have you ever heard of something like this or am i totally crazy haha?

  4. Great article on Food 52! Congrats! I love Kale. Thanks for the new dressing!! 🙂

  5. Of course a raw kale salad should make it into your first column! Congrats and best wishes on the new gig Gena. Your writing is outstanding, so I know you will make us all proud.

    I’m going to try to recreate the Grilled Kale Salad at Candle 79 this weekend. You know, the one with the turnips, haricot vert and black lentils. I think maybe they were these Puy lentils? Anyway, wish me luck!

  6. Congrats on the column, Gena! Heading over there right now to check out the recipe…and comment! 🙂

  7. Congratulations, Gena! What a wonderful new way for you to keep share your magic, and the magic of vegansim, with the world.

  8. Oh wow! That’s fantastic Gena! The column looks great. Adding to my favourites bar to regularly check.
    Are you doing the photography for it? The lighting and styling for that salad photo is really lovely – simple and fresh.

  9. Way to go, Gena! I will admit that I still prefer citrus-based dressings with kale but the massaging is definitely where all the magic happens. Bring it on! 🙂

  10. So excited to follow you on your latest venture, Gena, and HUGE congrats on the appointment! Food 52 and their readership are so lucky to have you aboard! xo

  11. Very, very cool stuff! Wrapping veganism in a chic package with your brilliant twist sounds like a fantastic way to inspire interest. Way to go, Gena!

  12. I’m haven’t actually come across Food 52 before so thank you for introducing this site to me!
    I look forward to reading your weekly posts 🙂
    Lisa x

  13. What great news! I love Food52 and always thought it needed more vegan recipes and stories. You’re just the right person to provide them!

  14. As a lover of raw kale (steamed is great too!), thanks for sharing this recipe. Beautifully said, & I look forward to following your contributions to Food 52. How exciting!

    Thanks for yesterday’s post–I agree with ya, it’s important to remember that going veg isn’t always going to be sunshine & lollipops. There are hard times, but ultimately, at least for me, it’s a much better place to be.

  15. Gena you have such a beautiful way with words and I am excited that you will be using your talents at Food 52. I hope you will never let your writing talents die in the busy-ness that is medicine.

  16. what a beautiful kale salad! that vinaigrette sounds delicious and fabulous! thanks for sharing!

  17. I just baked cookies with apricots last week and a have a big bag left over…this vinaigrette sounds PERFECT!