Massaged Kale Salad & Graphic Design

This may not appear to have much to do with graphic design…more on that in a bit.

This is a delicious salad and is easy to prepare. The kale requires no cooking – amazing! It keeps nicely in the refrigerator and is very popular at potlucks. And, it’s an easy way to get more dark leafy greens in your diet. It came to me via my pal Deborah, who found it on the internet – Jennifer Adler M.S.,C.N. at Bastyr University.

It’s nice to make a bunch of this salad at once to ensure that there are dark leafy greens ready when busy days are ahead. It tastes better as the days go by.

  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted (or Sweet Glazed Nuts)
  • ¼ cup diced red onion (and any other crunchy vegetable such as 1/2 cup of purple cabbage)
  • 1/3 cup currants
  • ¾ cup diced apple, (½ apple)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

De-stem kale by pulling leaf away from the stem. Wash leaves. Spin or pat dry. Stack leaves, rollup and cut into thin ribbons (chiffonade). Put kale in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, and massage into kale with your hands for 2 minutes. To toast seeds, put in a dry skillet over low to medium heat and stir constantly for a few minutes until they change color and give off a nutty aroma.

Put kale in a fresh bowl, discarding any leftover liquid. Dress with oil and toss until each leaf is coated. Dress with vinegar and toss. Stir onion, currants, apple and toasted seeds into kale. Toss. Taste for salt and vinegar, adding more if necessary. When at desired flavor, toss in cheese.

Preparation time 15 minutes.

Makes 6 servings.


  • For apple, use pear, or fuyu persimmon
  • For currants, use golden raisins, cranberries, prunes or apricots
  • For sunflower seeds, use walnuts or pumpkin seeds
  • For gorgonzola cheese, use feta or blue

Some good taste combos:

  • Pear, apricot & blue cheese
  • Apple, cranberry & walnut

So…just how does this relate to design?

Well, good design is one that has an effective use of Balance and Contrast, two of the essential design principles. In this recipe, notice the balance and contrast between the crisp/crunchy/chewy, salty/sweet/sour, and smooth/rough.

And, art- and design-making are activities that require you to fill up your creative well with all sorts of new experiences, tastes, flavors, sensations, colors, activities, etc. – things that take you out of your usual routine. You draw on this store or well of imagery whenever you engage in a creative activity. (Ever notice how – when you’ve been creating for days on end – you get tapped out and have no ideas? This is why.)

So, here’s to taking a new way home from work, taking a new class, getting up early to watch a sunrise, or – of course – trying a new recipe.

Of course, the recipe/design analogy can only take us so far. Good design is much more than just following a recipe – more on that next.

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