Creamy Millet and Kale Salad

I eat this salad once a week, and when I’m not eating it, I’m craving it. Who knew that a girl who ate her first salad at 19 years old would be loving kale one day? As much as I want to say that it’s the kale itself, I have to admit that it is the rich and cheesey non-dairy sauce that is the true kryptonite. This is a great recipe to try out on the folks that think kale is just a garnish. Feel free to swap out millet for quinoa—both are delicious and work well with this easy to prepare recipe. Don’t have kale around? Try spinach or chard instead.

Makes: 2-4 servings
Preparation Time: 30mins


Try to buy everything organic. Here’s why.
5-7 leaves of kale (or spinach or chard)
1/2 cup uncooked organic millet (or 1 1/2 cooked cups of quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice, chickpeas or gluten-free noodles)
1 1/2 cups pure water
Dash of fine ground sea salt or kombu (what’s kombu?)

For Sauce
1/2 cup cashews, soaked
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 clove of garlic
1 cup pure water
1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1-2 tsp fine-ground sea salt (to taste)
1 tbsp tahini (optional)

Let’s Get Started:
Bring 1/2 cup millet, a dash of sea salt and 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, cover saucepan and cook until all water is absorbed into the grain—about 20-25 minutes. Don’t peek (this is why glass lids and glass saucepans are great). You want to keep all that heat/steam inside for fluffy millet.

While your millet is cooking, remove the stems from your kale leaves and wash them well. Roll the leaves and slice them into 1″ strips (a.k.a chiffonade).

Place your sliced kale into a large glass bowl and set aside while you prepare the sauce. In a blender, place all sauce ingredients and blend until smooth. Transfer to a small saucepan, and over low heat, stir for about 2-4 minutes until warm and it starts to thicken.

When your millet is cooked, remove from heat and let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes. Then, fluff with a fork.

Pour your warm sauce over your kale leaves and add warm millet. Mix well.

The heat from the sauce and millet will start to wilt your kale leaves a bit. This makes for extra tasty, vibrant green kale.

Serve right away and/or store for up to one week in an airtight glass container. Feel free to reheat leftovers on the stove over low heat or eat cold. This is a great meal to make for satisfying, healthy lunches to bring to work and it is a delicious way to get a bunch of powerhouse greens in for the day. Prepare for addiction!


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  1. danielle

    wow I just made this with spinach so good!

  2. I just found your site and I am in love!

    question…. what would you use instead of tahini? My son is allergic to seaseme… maybe add another pureed nut?

    oh and how long do you soak the cashews?

    thanks for sharing!


    • 4 Little Men and Girly Twins~
      JUST last night I made this recipe (I did mention that I was addicted, right?) and was out of tahini. I doubled the amount of cashews instead and it was still delish. You may try soaked sunflower seeds too.

      Soak cashews 2-4 hours, but not much longer than that. Here’s a chart with soaking times for many nuts that may be helpful for the future. Let us know how it goes!

  3. OMG cheesy sauce is amazing. Didn’t remember to soak my cashews I’m advance and used straight sesame seeds instead of tahini and it still tastes sinfully yummy! Thanks

  4. Lisa Persico

    hey Heather!

    want to give this puppy a spin! is there another thing you would suggest if someone is allergic to nuts for a replacement of the cashews?
    maybe it just wouldn’t be as creamy?

    • Hey Lisa~
      I think you could leave the cashews out, or try macadamia nuts. Let us know how it goes!

  5. Melissa Bortz

    Wow, this was delicious! I am addicted to kale, in general, and loved this creamy sauce! Thank you for all of your fresh and delicious ideas!

  6. This dish used the last of my summer kale and it was so yummy! The sauce was dreamy & delicious and…you know what, I’m just going to go have some more instead of finishing up this description. Toodles & thanks!

  7. Liz

    Amazingly yummy, loved it!!

  8. I have made this several times since you posted it and I don’t see stopping anytime soon. A classic. It’s the only way by body will ingest the ultra-nutrient-filled Kale (and love doing it).

  9. Debbie

    I think sunflower or pepitas would work for those with tree nut sensitivities – the tahini is also seeds, not nuts.

  10. Robin

    oh wow, i am loving this right now! score 2 for yumuniverse…..

  11. Dani

    OMG this was sooo good! I didn’t have tahini so I substituted 1 large T of raw almond butter ( I read that you can use peanut butter to substitute for Tahini). It was delicious! My husband liked it too. And there were enough left overs to last for lunch a few days. Totally good cold too!

  12. Lisa – avocado would give you creaminess without nuts or seeds but it might taste a little fruity. Try increasing the salt & pepper to offset it.

  13. Amanda

    I love this. I’ve made it four times since discovering the recipe. You’re absolutely right- when I’m not eating this salad, I crave it. I prefer using quinoa and like the color of red kale. Good job!

  14. Holy universal yum! This has been bookmarked for a while now, and now, having finally made it, I understand completely why you crave it when you’re not eating it. I have enough to keep for lunch tomorrow, but I just want to keep eating it. YUM! And THANKS!

  15. One more question, a friend with candidiasis would like some. Obv, the nutritional yeast is no good for her. Any ideas on a replacement there?

    • SL~
      Great question. There are differing opinions on this one, but the main ideas that I find are that candida and nutritional yeast are two different yeasts. Nutritional yeast is grown on a medium (usually mineral rich molasses) and then it is then heated and rendered inactive. As long as your friend is not consuming any of the medium, according to Renegade Health, “it is okay to eat nutritional yeast if you have a candida issue.” Yeast doesn’t eat yeast…yeast eats and thrives on sugar. And nutritional yeast is rendered inactive thanks to processing. It is also a great source of amino acids and complex B vitamins.

      But with that said, she should note that there is a lot of opinion out there about cashews not being recommended for sufferers of Candidiasis too. I would try roasting a spaghetti squash, or a squash that is allowed on her diet, with salt and pepper and coconut oil until soft. Ditching the cashews, possibly the nutritional yeast (based on her comfort level), and mixing about 1 cup of cooked squash in with the tahini and other ingredients that you blend. It will create that yummy, creamy texture without taking her off track. Let me know if that works!

  16. I have only been vegetarian a few weeks now. Had I seen this recipe a few months back I would have laughed.

    I read this recipe this afternoon. So off I trotted to Whole Foods to buy a load of ingredients I had never tried before.

    I cooked it up tonight and love it!! This is a delicious dish!!

    I love this blog, I will now be regular and add it to my reader.

  17. Sonja

    Just made this today. Didn’t have the cashews so I just used a bit more tahini. Also, I bought the kale already chopped and steamed it for about 4 minutes. Sooooo good. Perfect on a chilly January day. Yum. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

  18. Peace, Love & Vegan

    I am literally making this recipe for the first time right now and I was thinking the 2 tsp of salt was way too much but I did most of it anyway. I haven’t mixed everything together yet but the sauce itself tastes way too salty… Has anyone else found that to be true? I might reduce the salt to 1/2 tsp next time 🙂

    • Once you mix the sauce with the kale and quinoa, that amount should be perfect. The sauce alone is always salty. Feel free to make it next time salting to taste at the end, you’ll probably end up putting in 2 tsp! Enjoy.

  19. Hi Heather! I made this recipe tonight and I loved it! I ate half right away, then put the rest in the fridge and gobbled it up several hours later – I think I like it best cold =) I’m going to make the lasagna tomorrow…

    • A bigtime favorite! Try it with a chipotle pepper blended in the sauce next time. Wow.

  20. Heather – this sounds so creamy and delicious! Can’t wait to try it this week. I love kale and am always looking for new and different ways to enjoy this super nutrituous veggie!

  21. Carol

    Looks wow. Has anyone substituted anything for the coconut oil? Can’t have anything coconut and am always looking for good substitutes.

    • Carol, you can try it without the coconut oil, it is still plenty creamy—the coconut oil just gives it a buttery richness. Try stirring in some ground golden flax seed before you dig in for extra creaminess. Enjoy!

    • I used vegetable oil instead of coconut oil and it worked perfectly.

  22. Gina

    Do you think this would work with swiss chard?

    • Gina~ I know it does! I’ve used chard before when I am out of kale. Spinach works as well. Enjoy.

  23. Stephanie

    Can I use almonds instead of cashews? Thanks!

    • Almonds may work for a creamy sauce, but I would use them in almond butter form (try 2 tbs). They won’t taste as buttery/cheesey as cashews (which also thicken when heated), so ultimately I recommend a half and half blend of macadamias and sunflower seeds. Let me know if the almond butter works!

  24. This is absolutely delicious! Made it last night, and told my kids it had a sharp white cheddar sauce…they LOVED it too…and my teenagers aren’t easy to please when it comes to vegan food! (I did come clean about the cheese part afterward).

    Thanks for your amazing recipes!!

  25. We are all CRAZY about this recipe! But we always forget until the last minute to soak the cashews so we end up eating late. Today we tried making it without soaking the nuts and it was just as yummy! Does anyone know why the recipe calls to soak them? Is it just to make the sauce a little smoother?

    • Bee, by all means, make it without soaking if you must! I do it sometimes, too. Soaking the cashews just makes the sauce creamier when blended, that’s all. Enjoy!

  26. Joanne

    Oh my goodness…I could drink this sauce with a straw its so yummy. After trying it room temp, cold and warmed up, I definitely like warmed up the best. Dee-lish!

  27. I ordered nutritional yeast off the internet (wasn’t available locally) for the express purpose of making this recipe. Regrets: zero. In place of the grain, I used a sweet potato and some collard greens I’d cooked the night before. Thanks for the great recipe.

  28. Oh my gosh, this sauce is amazing! I used spinach and quinoa. We still have sauce left over, so we’re having it for dinner with some rice and vegetables.

  29. Michelle Lebling Camp

    My sweet husband made your Millet & Kale salad (with Buckwheat) and we loved it!!! Thanks so much!!!

  30. Jen

    Luckily I had the good sense to double the recipe – it’s great! I discovered it through your 5-day ebook and I’m so glad I did. Not only are your recipes reliably yummy, but everything is presented in such a well-organized and visually appealing manner. Can’t wait for a cookbook! 🙂

  31. Mary Beth

    This was incredible!! I have made cashew sauce before but the addition of the coconut oil and tahini took this to another level. I can see how you’d be craving it all the time- and now I am!

    • Heather Crosby

      Thanks Mary Beth! I’m so glad you like it as much as I do 🙂 H

  32. Danielle

    This was INCREDIBLE! I could hardly believe it was vegan, and I did all the cooking 🙂 I think this might be the ticket to break away from cheese.

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