Kale and Toasted Pumpkin Seed Salad

from Plundering the North

From Chef Shane Chartrand: It’s no accident that I chose pumpkin seeds for this salad. We have been growing Cucurbita, the scientific name for the genus that includes squash, pumpkin, and gourds — along with corn and beans — for thousands of years. This is a vibrant salad, from the bright greens and purples of the kale to the sharp tang of the lemon in the dressing. Frying half of the kale gives it crunch, and blanching the other half tenderizes, providing a nice contrast.



1 lb / 450 g baby kale leaves, divided 

20 Brussels sprout leaves (from about 2 Brussels sprouts)

6 green onions, green parts only, cut into 1.5- to 2-inch / 4- to 5-cm lengths

Neutral-flavoured cooking oil (such as canola), for frying

1/2 tsp / 2.5 mL fleur de sel plus extra for seasoning

2 tbsp / 30 mL unsalted raw pumpkin seeds


2 tbsp / 30 mL cold-pressed canola oil or extra-virgin olive oil

1 tbsp / 15 mL finely grated lemon zest

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp / 1 mL salt


Make the salad

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Prepare an ice water bath (a large bowl filled with cold water and ice cubes).

Submerge about one-quarter of the kale leaves and all of the Brussels sprout leaves and green onions in the boiling water. Cook for about 30 seconds (you want the leaves to be tender but still resilient). Using a wire-mesh scoop or slotted spoon, transfer the blanched greens to the prepared ice water bath and submerge for about 30 seconds. Scoop out the cooled greens, shake off any excess liquid, and pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Set aside.

Preheat a deep-fryer to 350F / 180C or pour about 3 inches / 7.5 cm of oil into a deep pot. (If you have a wire-mesh splatter screen for the top of the pot, it will soon come in handy.) Line a baking sheet with paper towel.

Immerse the remaining kale leaves in the hot oil (make sure the leaves are very dry so the oil won’t splatter too much). At first it will bubble vigorously but as the moisture cooks out, there will be less activity. Fry until the leaves turn medium brown around the edges, about 20 seconds (the leaves should be crunchy but still flexible). Using a wire mesh scoop or slotted spoon, scoop out the leaves and give them a gentle shake over the deep-fryer.

Turn the leaves out onto the prepared baking sheet. Season with the fleur de sel. Set aside.

In a dry cast iron or heavy sauté pan over medium heat, toast the pumpkin seeds just until light golden. Transfer toasted seeds to a plate.

Make the dressing

Whisk together the oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a small bowl.

To serve

Combine the deep-fried kale and your blanched greens in a bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and gently toss to coat all of the greens. Turn out onto a nice platter and top with the toasted pumpkin seeds. Finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sel.

Makes 2 servings.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks: Check out Chef Shane’s other great recipes from his cookbook at https://canadiancookbooks.ca/tawaw-pronounced-ta-wow/ 

A book cover of a plate of food

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Contents and images used with permission by Chef Shane Chartrand, maskêkosihk (Enoch Cree Nation), Treaty 7 Territory https://www.instagram.com/shanemchartrand/?hl=en 
Excerpted from tawâw Progressive Indigenous Cuisine by Shane M. Chartrand with Jennifer Cockrall-King. Copyright © 2019 Shane Mederic Chartrand and Jennifer Cockrall-King. Reproduced with permission from House of Anansi Press Inc., Toronto. All rights reserved. www.houseofanansi.com