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Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

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(Editor: This Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing copycat recipe post was originally published on March 1, 2013 and was updated October 13, 2020)

Hillstone Emerald Kale Salad Beauty and the Beets

Many years ago, I was introduced me to a restaurant called Houston’s (also known as Hillstone Restaurant in some markets). I ordered a veggie burger and by my Mother’s suggestion, substituted their Emerald Kale Salad in place of French fries. (On the current menu, the Emerald Kale Salad is now served with chicken. If I were to substitute the salad for fries I would order it without the chicken). The Emerald Kale Salad is topped with shaved parmesan and tossed with a peanut vinaigrette.

Beauty and the Beets Houstons Kale Salad twins

A few nights later back at the apartment, my Mom and I decided to try and recreate this. I have to say- we both agreed that it turned out pretty spot on! I love the bitterness of the kale combined with the crunchiness of peanuts and the sweetness of mint. It’s a very tasty combination. Here is the copycat recipe for Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing adapted from a recipe by Cook Forrest Cook.

Kale confetti Beauty and the Beets

I first published this recipe in 2013 and it quickly became one of my most popular posts. Copycat recipes seem to have a bit of a cult following as we all love to recreate and re-experience our favorite restaurant dishes, especially in this era of a pandemic.

Houstons Kale Salad Peanut Vinaigrette Beauty and the Beets

So why is Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing so popular? Well, for one, it’s healthy. Kale is packed with iron, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and Omega-3 fatty acids- a laundry list of essential vitamins and minerals we all need in our diets. It was just a few years ago that kale was all the rage and now it is a mainstream restaurant ingredient.

Kale Salad with Peanut Beauty and the Beets

Secondly, this a super easy salad to make. Hands on time is about 10 minutes and the recipe doesn’t require any cooking or heat. Throw it together and serve. This just proves that salads don’t have to be complicated or boring.

Houstons Kale Salad Peanut Vinaigrette Beauty and the Beets

Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Based on the delicious side at the Houston's restaurant chain.

Ingredients

For the dressing:

For the salad:

  • 2 1/2 cups curly kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 10 mint leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/4 of a bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Combine the ingredients for the dressing together in a jar and shake until blended.
  2. Place the kale, cabbage, mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts in a bowl and toss well with the dressing. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  3. Sprinkle the whole dry roasted peanuts and parmesan cheese just before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Share it on Instagram and mention @beautyandthebeets or tag #beautyandthebeets. I would love to see what you made!

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Houston's Emerald Kale Salad from Beauty and the Beets

You may also like this recipe for Kale and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

Kale and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad Beauty and the Beets

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Skyler

Monday 21st of June 2021

My heart is broken!!! My salad came out soooo bitter. Can anyone tell me why this happened?? I followed the recipe to a tee. ?

Anna-Marie

Monday 28th of June 2021

A lot can depend on the lettuce and the seasons. Lettuce can be more bitter in the summer?

Nudi

Tuesday 16th of March 2021

I am new to making kale salads.... I know. I know. But I love the kale salad from Hillstones and bought all to make this recipe. I’ve read other recipes that indicate to “massage” kale. Do we need to massage here? Lol

Anna-Marie

Tuesday 16th of March 2021

I personally like to massage my kale but the Hillstone version does not require the massaging.

TennesseeJed

Thursday 21st of July 2016

Great job on recreating the Houston's dressing Anna-Marie. You really nailed it! I added a little sriracha (about 1.5-2 tsp) and a bit more honey (about just for my personal taste), traded the garlic powder for 1 large garlic clove, mashed, and omitted the water, but otherwise left it as is. As with most of my dressings, I blend gently with a stick blender on lowest speed to emulsify. Served it with chopped, grilled chicken thighs and mixed it in warm with the salad. Massive hit w/ my entire family, kids and all.

Thanks again! Great job!

Joy

Tuesday 28th of June 2016

I see a bowl with peanut butter, but it's not in the recipe?????

Anna-Marie

Tuesday 28th of June 2016

Wow- great catch Joy! I did not use peanut butter in the dressing so I have no idea why the picture was there- I have removed it. Thank you again for catching that and I hope you enjoy the salad!!

Mo

Tuesday 14th of June 2016

This looks and sounds so good! Think I'm going to try it out tomorrow... Thank you for sharing!

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