Spring is here—which in Michigan means the temperature still dips below 40ºF and yet the upper limits (in the 60s) are starting to show up more often than the dips.

The farmers’ co-op where I buy my raw milk (I know, gasp!) and meats is starting to carry more and more spring greens in place of root veggies, and I’m inspired to step away from writing about primary foods to post a secondary foods recipe this week!


Yes, I’m a kale pusher.

And yes, I know it’s been dethroned by cauliflower. I’m still a loyal fan.

No, you don’t have to love kale or even eat it to be my friend or a client.

And no, you don’t have to use kale in this recipe—the variations are endless, exactly the kind of recipe I love because it can be changed to suit your preferences, the season, and what is available to you locally.

baby kale salad



  • 6 oz of baby kale
  • 1 lb cooked garbanzo beans/chickpeas or 1 15-oz can of them, rinsed and drained
  • 2 T red onion, sliced thinly or diced small
  • 1 lemon, zested and cut in 1/2
  • 2 T olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 2 T Parmesan or other hard cheese, shaved or grated (optional)


  1. Wash the greens well and spin or pat them dry.
  2. Put the greens, garbanzo beans, and onion into a large bowl.
  3. Squeeze 1/2 of the lemon over the greens, add the olive oil, some salt and pepper and mix gently (preferably with your hands).
  4. Taste and adjust seasoning (more lemon? more oil? more salt and/or pepper?), remembering that if you’re adding cheese, you can add less salt.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl, top with cheese and lemon zest.


  • You can change up the greens, using what you like and what’s available/in season, even a mix of greens—just remember that kale will stand up to the dressing longer than something like spinach or arugula. If you are using mature kale, use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves to tenderize them.
  • Vary the type of beans you use.
  • Substitute any relative of onions you like—spring onions, scallions, shallots….
  • Try using orange, lime, and/or grapefruit in place of/along with the lemon.
  • Use cubed cheese in place of grated—Havarti? Gouda?
  • Add any other veggies you like—blanched asparagus would be a natural spring companion.

do ahead

  • Made with kale, this salad can be put together up to 24 hours ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. More tender greens will wilt more and should be used closer to the time you serve it.
  • You can prep all the ingredients up to a week ahead of time and keep them separate in the refrigerator for easy assembly. Greens should be washed, spun or patted very dry, and stored in a tightly-covered container or bag with a dry paper towel included. Lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper can be combined in a small container.

make the connection

For more information on seasonal eating and food energetics, check out SOLE food | Seasonal. As you dive into spring vegetables, think (or even journal) about how you feel—some clients have reported a feeling of lightness, even buoyancy, and many have actually become addicted to dark leafy greens and feel “off” if they miss their daily dose.

What’s your favorite spring salad? Leave a note in the comments and let us know!

And if you are curious about food energetics, there’s still time to register for the Art of Food reTreat on May 19 at the beautiful Farm on Jennings with Cara Cummings, Carole Caplan, and me! (The two botanical illustrations in this post are Cara’s work!