Kale Fennel Salad with Lemon Basil Pesto Vinaigrette

This salad is full of lemony flavor and crunch!


Today is all about christmas cookies, which I have pushed off to the bitter end.   Robby and I are going to L.A. tomorrow for our friends annual Christmas party.

 I know I won’t be eating the best in the next few days,
so I thought I’d make this salad to balance it out.  If you can’t tell by now, I love kale salads!

The best part about kale is that the leaves are thicker than regular lettuce, therefore it can stand a heavier dressing and
it is even great the next day.


This salad is great with a Verdejo, White Rioja, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir.


Recipe:  4 – 6 Servings


  • 1/2 Cups Lemon Basil
  • 1/4 Cup Pecorino Ramano – finely shredded
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Champagne Vinegar
  • 1 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt


  • 1 Head lacinato Kale – thinly sliced (about 7 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Fennel Bulb – cut in half and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Purple Cabbage – minced
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Basil – roughly chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Pecorino Romano (optional)
  • 2 Heirloom Tomatoes – cut in 8 – 12 wedges

Vinaigrette instructions:

Pick the leaves off the basil stems, finely shred the cheese, measure and put into a food processor.

Squeeze lemon juice, measure along with remaining ingredient, add to food processor and puree until smooth.  Set aside

Salad instructions:

Wash kale and tear off main rib by holding the end of the stem and sliding off the leaves, wash, dry, then chop in to thin strips

Put kale in a large bowl with olive oil and massage the oil in to the kale.

Cut stocks off the fennel bulb, cut bulb in half, then cut out the core of one half.  Slice the half in half and then slice as thin as you can.

Shred cheese and measure along with almonds then add everything to the bowl and mix together.

Lemon Basil Pesto

This is a bright pesto with the fragrance of sweet lemon.


Lemon basil is also known as Thai lemon basil or Lao basil and is used in many Thai, Lao, Indonesian and Middle Eastern Cuisines.

 I love basil in all of its varieties, shapes and sizes.  There is sweet basil, lemon, Genovese, purple ruffles, cinnamon, licorice, holy, clove, Greek bush and African blue basil to name a few.

Lemon-Basil-Pecorino-Pesto This pesto pairs well with a Rosé, white Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Riesling.

Lemon-Basil-Pesto-with-Pecorino- Recipe: Approx. 3 1/2 Cups

  • 2 Cups Lemon Basil
  • 1 Cup Raw Walnuts
  • 1 Cup Pecorino Ramano – finely shredded
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 – 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt


Shred cheese and pick leaves off the basil stems, measure and add to a food processor or blender along with walnuts, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and salt.

Puree until desired texture.

Health benefits:

Fresh Basil has anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.  The herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A and is rich in zea-xanthin an anti-oxidant that helps protect age-related macular disease.  It has a good amount of Iron and also helps to detoxify the liver.  It contains phytochemicals that may lower cortisol, a hormone secreted when you’re stressed that causes weight gain, so add some fresh basil to you water or tea.

Asian Style Peanut Slaw

This slaw is crunchy, creamy and spicy with a hint of tang.  It’s not only extremely delicious, it is also very healthy and satisfying.


It is storming in Northern California and what do I do?  Make a cold salad, HA!  This is one of my favorite salads because when it comes to peanut sauce, I can’t get enough.


This slaw goes nice with a dry Riesling, Pinot Gris, Riesling, sparkling wine and cold Sake.


Recipe: 4 – 6 Servings

  • 3/4 Cup to 1 1/4 Cups (1 Recipe) – Peanut Sauce – (depends on how much you like.  I like a lot!)
  • 4 Cups Savory Cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cups Red Cabbage – thinly sliced
  • 1 Organic Red Bell Pepper – diced – (about 1 cup)
  • 1 Large Carrot – shredded – (about 1 cup)
  • 1/3 Cup Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 2 Scallion Onions – sliced – (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds


Make the peanut sauce. (can be made the day ahead, let it warm up first)

Chop savory and red cabbage into thin slices then put in a large bowl.

Dice red bell peppers into small pieces then add to cabbage.

Shred carrot, roughly chop cilantro, slice scallions, measure everything along with the almonds (can also sprinkle on top individual salads) then add to cabbage and mix in the peanut sauce.


Health benefits:

Cabbage is really low in calories, fat and high in fiber. High in vitamin K helps with brain function. Red cabbage is the highest in vitamin K than other cabbage. It’s high in sulfur keeping your hair, skin and nails healthy. If you have arthritis, rheumatism, skin diseases or gout, cabbage can help with its high vitamin C and sulphur content. Cabbage is higher in vitamin C than oranges and is a natural antioxidant that helps with premature aging and also helps detoxify the blood and liver. Cabbage helps protect bones from becoming brittle with its high potassium, magnesium and calcium content. Potassium is also great for reducing high blood pressure allowing the blood vessels to open and the blood to flow freely. It is also high in beta-carotene need for eye health.  The pigment in purple cabbage helps lower blood sugar levels and boost insulin production. Helps your body fight off cancer with the powerful antioxidant anthocyanin.

Cabbage is good for your heart, blood pressure, brain, nervous system, immune system, digestion, bowels, bones, eyes, skin, hair and nails.

Peanut butter is protein and fiber rich. It has more unsaturated fat than saturated fat, which makes it a great source of healthy fats. Super high in niacin helping with brain health. Helps to lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease with its high potassium content.

Peanut butter is good for the Heart, brain, digestion, lower bowels,

Thai Style Peanut Sauce

This delicious peanut sauce can be used on warm or cold noodles, on sautéed or cold vegetables, as a dip, on rice, on spring rolls, in an Asian slaw, on a salad or anything else you can think of.

I have had a thing for peanut sauce ever since I first discovered it at a Thai restaurant in my teenage years.  It’s one of those sauces I can’t stop eating and this one is no exception!


 Recipe - Approx.  1 1/4 Cup

  • 1 Clove Garlic – minced
  • 1 Serrano Chili – minced
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Ginger – freshly grated
  • 1/2 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk – unsweetened
  • 3/4  Cup Peanut Butter – unsweetened
  • 3 Tablespoons Brown Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Tamari Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt


 Cut the stem off of the serrano, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (de-seed if you want it milder) and add to a food processor along with the garlic and grated ginger.

Turn on until minced.  Scrape the sides at least once.

Add coconut milk and puree while adding peanut butter.

Add the rest of the ingredients and puree until smooth.

Let soften before use if refrigerated.

Health benefits:

Peanut butter is protein and fiber rich. It has more unsaturated fat than saturated fat, which makes it a great source of healthy fats. Super high in niacin helping with brain health. Helps to lowers the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease with its high potassium content.

Peanut butter is good for the Heart, brain, digestion, lower bowels,