Kale slaw

African greens slaw

Kale slaw

Greens, leafy green vegetables, are a big part of African cuisine. Whether it is morogo in Botswana, kontomire in Ghana, muriwo in Zimbabwe or sukuma wiki in Kenya, greens are an essential part of most African diets. Back in the motherland, it is not uncommon to come across greens such as chomolia, covo, pumpkin leaves or rape/rabe. Out in the West, kale is often the number 1 choice.

Greens are typically prepared with onions and tomatoes. Simply saute 1 onion in olive oil and add a chopped tomato once the onion is translucent. Follow by adding 200 grams of kale and 100 to 200 mls of chicken or vegetable stock, less liquid if the leaves are young and tender (no liquid if using baby spinach). There are variations to this dish. Some would prefer to use only onions and the greens with a little salt and butter. Perhaps some carrots would be added for colour. Others will add a tablespoon or two of peanut butter before adding the tomatoes and leaves.

If we stick with the basic ingredients, kale, onion, a little carrot and remove the heat factor from this process, we are left with our beloved greens turned raw. How about a little bit of kale slaw?

I remember my mother, a lovely Ghanaian woman with a hearty appetite and knack for delectable cooking, would make coleslaw and include raisins and grated apples at times. I have used memories of her recipe as inspiration for my kale slaw.


150g kale
2 carrots
1/2 red onion or 1 small shallot
1 crunchy apple
handful of raisins
small handful of curly leaf parsley

For the dressing:

5 tablespoons reduced fat salad cream
5 tablespoons Greek yoghurt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
juice and zest of 1/2 clementine (or small orange)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1. Finely shred the kale leaves and add to bowl. Kale is commonly available from most supermarkets in a pre washed, pre chopped packet. This kale is sometimes tough, so pick out the thick bits of centre stalk before shredding.

2. Grate the carrots and apple. Finely chop the red onion and parsley.  Add these plus the raisins to the kale.

3. Whisk together the salad cream, yoghurt, white wine vinegar, juice, zest, salt and pepper. Mix into the slaw ingredients. The result is a luscious, creamy and refreshingly crunchy combination.

Serve chilled. If you prefer, add a tablespoon of Dijon mustard to the dressing.

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  • Reply
    January 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    I have trouble with kale – i found it a bit sour – how do you get rid of that bittery taste? Or am I just doing it wrong!

    • Reply
      January 27, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      Hi trixfred30! I have been thinking about your comment for a while. Honestly, I think it is the stalks. I hate them, they are so thick that I cannot even chew them. I have been looking in so many supermarkets for fresh unbagged, unchopped kale, and have found none. Not even in organic stores. The downside as well is having to chop off all those thick pieces of stalk, more work! But I would try this first to see if it gets rid of the bitter taste.

  • Reply
    African Food
    October 4, 2013 at 12:01 am

    I love kale! They make great veggie chips with a smidge of salt and a hot oven. The bitter taste is stronger in some varieties of kale. Curly kale is generally milder, easy to eat raw, and would be great in this recipe. Others, like dino kale, are best cooked. The stalks do generally need more cooking to get the bitter taste out, it’s true. To rib the kale quickly, lay the leaf down flat on the cutting board and run a knife along either side of the stalk to separate it from the leaf. Pretty quick.

    • Reply
      October 5, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Hi there! You didn’t leave your name but thanks for stopping by and dropping a few tips. Great site you’ve got.

      • Reply
        African Food
        October 6, 2013 at 11:35 pm

        Thanks so much 🙂 My name is Justina, but there is a great team running the whole site. Glad you like it!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Does Ghana carry kale vegetable?

    • Reply
      May 7, 2014 at 9:43 pm

      Hi J! I am not entirely sure. Kale is like a very dark leafed cabbage.

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