Kale Salad with Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette

My lunch yesterday is in homage to my husband and I’s favorite salad at one of our go-to restaurants: Houston’s. We started going to Houston’s in NYC when we heard it had one of the world’s best veggie burgers. It is totally true. The veggie burger there rocks (but I do not love the waitress who told me that the amount of calories in it is practically equivalent to one of the steaks on the menu – she does NOT rock). Lucky for us since moving out of NY, we have found restaurants part of the Houston’s group in every city we have lived in (Hillstone in Boston and The Woodmont Grill in Bethesda).

Our most recent trip to Woodmont Grill had us splitting a veggie burger for lunch and a kale salad. Best. Kale. Salad. Ever. It was drenched in this amazing peanut dressing and I devoured it faster than the veggie burger (which is like superhero fast because have I mentioned how much I love their veggie burger?). My husband was convinced we could remake this salad at home pretty easily so after googling a million peanut dressing recipes, I am pretty happy with this version. Its very different than Houston’s in the end, but its pretty darn tasty! Its what I had for lunch yesterday and I have enough leftovers for another heaping serving today (yay!).


I start by prepping the kale. I learned the hard way that kale needs some TLC to taste good. But now that I know that, I like it more than spinach or romaine in my salads.


Prepping the kale with some love

I chop up the veggies – just carrots and red onions. Sometimes I add quinoa but this time I kept it simple.


Veggies for the salad – simple is key for this recipe

Then I lightly roast the sesame seeds – this adds a nice, slightly burnt flavor to the salad.


Roast sesame seeds until they are slightly brown

Time to make the dressing – I use Thai peanut sauce instead of peanut butter which I think adds a little more of an acidic rather than sweet dressing.


The basic ingredients for the dressing

I whisk the dressing and get it ready to pour on the salad.


Add more cayenne to kick up the spice level!

Then I pour the dressing over the salad and add peanuts right before serving.


Prep time: 25 minutes

Serves: 3 or 4


  • 4 cups of chopped kale
  • 2 carrots, cut into discs
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 3/4 cup peanuts (I used dry roasted, but you could choose your favorite type)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (You can add more if you like it spicier – I do!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 teaspoons Thai Peanut Sauce


  1. Start by processing the kale by removing all stems and massaging the kale through with hands for 5-10 minutes. Add a little bit of sea-salt to the kale. Keep the pieces chopped pretty small so its easy to eat. I just use my hands to rip the kale into small pieces.
  2. Roast the sesame seeds for 2-3 minutes on the stove on medium/low heat
  3. Add the carrots, red onions and sesame seeds to the kale.
  4. Prepare the dressing by mixing together the olive oil, mustard, honey, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and peanut sauce. Whisk well. Taste and adjust by adding more cayenne or salt if needed.
  5. Pour enough dressing over the salad to lightly coat salad (don’t overdrench). Let salad sit with dressing for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Add the peanuts right before serving so they keep their crunch.

4 thoughts on “Kale Salad with Spicy Peanut Vinaigrette

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