Kaua'i Salad

I'm totally into massive, beautiful centerpiece salads right now, and this one is my new favorite. Filled with fruits and veggies that we always find on Kaua'i, Hawaii, this salad is bursting with tropical flavors and colors.

Dave and I spend time on Kaua'i every year, and for the past four years have stayed on an organic farm owned by some really incredible, hardworking friends. They grow a huge range of spectacular produce, including some of the most exceptional avocados we've ever had. We eat an absurd amount of avocados while we're there!

All of the ingredients on this salad are either grown on the farm, or on nearby farms that sell at the Farmers Markets. It's truly a celebration of Kaua'i flavors.

Kale forms the base of this salad, and it becomes so tender and flavorful after a good massage in lime juice and honey (or agave). Then pile on sweet papaya (the papayas on Kaua'i are incredible!), luscious mango, rich avocado, and earthy taro (or purple sweet potato, if you can't find taro).

Don't forget the crunch! Macadamia nuts are an iconic Hawaiian product, and although expensive they're totally divine. A big handful of them gives the salad awesome texture and makes it so much more filling and satisfying.

Oh my gosh, the dressing might be the best part. A blend of avocado, cilantro, lime juice, and a dash of honey (or agave) make for a dressing that's indulgent yet still bright and zippy. Actually, it's so delightful that it would easily work as a dip for all your favorite veggies and chips.

This is such a fun salad, and would certainly make a statement at your next summer BBQ or brunch. Perhaps alongside some tropical cocktails?? Absolutely!

Please share your creation so I can see how you've interpreted the concept! Tag "The Rogue Brussel Sprout" on Facebook or hashtag #theroguebrusselsprout on Instagram. 

Need another epic centerpiece salad? Take a look at this beautiful Grilled and Raw Spring Salad.

Thoughts About Ingredients
(These are all just suggestions, since rogue is more fun than recipe)
For the Salad
  • Kale! One giant bunch, or two smaller ones. I love lacinato.
  • Juice of a lime
  • Drizzle of honey. Or use agave if you're fully plant-based. Bonus points for Kaua'i honey!
  • Salt and pepper
  • Taro or purple sweet potato
  • Papaya. Make sure it's ripe! It should be just the slightest bit tender to the touch, light green to yellow on the outside, and fragrant. Please please don't try to use an under-ripe one, it will taste like soap.
  • Mango. Same as above, it must be ripe!
  • Avocado or two. Ripe!! I like to buy all these ingredients several days in advance and ripen them on my countertop.
  • Macadamia nuts
For the Dressing
  • Avocado
  • Juice of a lime
  • Big handful of cilantro
  • Honey (start with a tsp or two). Again, sub agave if you don't eat honey.
  • Few grinds of black pepper
  • Salt 
  • Dash of cayenne pepper, optional. Personally speaking, I don't like my avocado to be spicy. But if you're the type of person who likes spicy guac, then a bit of heat here might be nice.
Thoughts About Method
(These are all just suggestions, be creative and make it yours)
  1. Prep your kale by stripping the leaves off the stems, then cutting the leaves into thin ribbons. Put the kale in a big mixing bowl with lime juice, a drizzle of honey/agave, salt, and pepper. Give it a very vigorous massage and let it sit while you work on the other ingredients; toss it a few times to make sure it all comes into contact with the lime juice, which will help it tenderize.
  2. Prep your taro (or purple sweet potato). As shown here I just cut mine into medallions and boiled them for ease, but grilling would work nicely too. If you boil, remember to salt the water, it makes a huge difference.
  3. Prep your dressing. Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. You can add a bit of water until you get your desired consistency (i.e. do you want your dressing to be more guacamole-like or more drizzly?). Taste it and adjust as you see fit.
  4. Prep your papaya, mango, and avocado(s). As shown above, I like to have some small pieces for easy eating, and also some larger halves for presentation, but do what works for you. Do the avocado last to avoid browning; you could also dunk the avocado pieces/halves into some lime juice if the salad will be sitting out for a while.
  5. Assemble your salad! Be creative and have fun. Is there anything better than making an epic pile of tropical ingredients?? I think not.
  6. Garnish with macadamia nuts, assuming you haven't eaten them all yet.
  7. Either serve the dressing on the side, or dollop/drizzle it across the salad. I often leave it on the side in a potluck setting so that people can use however much they want, especially since the kale here is already lightly dressed.


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