Kale Salad with Homemade TJ’s Island Soyaki Dressing

October 15, 2012

in Soups, Salads & Sides

Massaged Kale Salad

I am not one of those people who tends to like salad without the dressing. Unless hummus is involved, I personally think the dressing makes the salad.

Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado

I usually do a simple mix of lemon juice, olive oil, agave, and sea salt and call it a day, but I recently discovered the Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki. Have you tried it yet? Technically, it’s a marinade and not a salad dressing, but I’ve essentially been treating it like a food group. On roasted veggies, tofu, tempeh, salads…sometimes I think about taking a swig from the bottle.

Massaged Kale Salad with Island Soyaki

The TJ’s Island Soyaki is a mix of pineapple juice, soy sauce, sugar, garlic powder, canola oil, sesame seeds, and a handful of other ingredients. It has that awesome sweet/salty thing going for it that I can’t resist. It’s also relatively low-calorie (about 40 calories per tablespoon, and a little goes a long way), but I love the challenge of taking store-bought products and creating my own homemade spin. I also love replacing not-so-great ingredients, like processed sugar and cheap oil, with healthier, higher quality options. Thus, my version uses organic, raw agave nectar and hemp oil, and I also simplified it to just six ingredients. There’s no need for preservatives or “natural” flavors when you’re using fresh ingredients and planning to consume it within the day.

Kale Salad with Island Soyaki

Poured over a large bowl of kale, massaged, and then tossed with chopped avocado, hemp seeds, and dulse – this is my new go-to dressing and meal. And not unlike the highly addictive Trader Joe’s Island Soyaki, I just can’t get enough.

Kale Salad with Island Soyaki, Avocado, Hemp Seeds

This salad has so many of my favorite foods in one (extra large) bowl.

Kale Salad with Homemade Trader Joe's Island Soyaki Dressing
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 generously
For the Dressing:
  • 2 Tbs. Pineapple Juice
  • 1½ Tbs. Bragg Liquid Aminos
  • 1 Tbs. Hemp Oil
  • 1 Tbs. White Vinegar
  • 1 Tsp. Agave Nectar (or Maple Syrup)
  • 1-2 Cloves Crushed Garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it)
For the Salad:
  • 1 Bunch Chopped Organic Kale (about 10 oz.)
  • 1 Peeled & Chopped Avocado
  • ¼ C. Shelled Hemp Seeds (or Sesame Seeds)
  • 2 Tbs. Dulse Flakes
  1. Place the chopped kale in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Prepare the dressing by adding the pineapple juice, liquid aminos, hemp oil, vinegar, agave, and crushed garlic to a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
  3. Pour the dressing over the kale, and using your hands, massage the kale for 1-2 minutes until the kale is tender and most of the dressing has been absorbed.
  4. Add the chopped avocado, hemp seeds, and dulse flakes to the large bowl of kale.
  5. Toss to combine and enjoy!
Trader Joe's now sells bags of pre-washed, chopped, organic kale. It's great for when you're short on time or just don't feel like prepping kale. I used one full bag for this recipe.


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Caitlin October 15, 2012 at 9:45 am

that salad dressing sounds delicious!


Amanda October 15, 2012 at 10:21 am

Thanks, Caitlin! Let me know what you think of it if you give it a try!


Yum Girl October 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Awesome! I’m all about homemade dressings and recreating healthier versions of foods at home. If I may, I’d like to invite you to submit your photos to the new YumGoggle, a photo sharing site with the philosophy that if you worked hard to cook it and photograph it, we should show it off! Hope to see you there soon!


Michelle Collins October 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I love TJ’s, so I will have to keep an eye out of this dressing!


Laura S. October 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I’ve never had TJ’s soyaki though it sounds right up my alley. It’s so exciting when recreating something healthier at home and it turns out just as good, or BETTER, than the original! I have kale at home that I need to use up, but for the juice I’m pretty sure I only have OJ not pineapple…oh well, I’m going to try it and see if it works!


Amanda October 15, 2012 at 5:00 pm

I bet orange juice will be great!


Colette October 16, 2012 at 3:03 am

Hemp oil
Dulse flakes
Can’t wait to try these new favors.
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?


Lucy October 16, 2012 at 6:53 am

I love kale – its so nutritious and tasty :)


Julie October 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Love this! Can’t wait to try it…I also use the lemon, olive oil, agave & sea salt as a staple…I add a bit of powdered garlic to mine, as well : )


Amanda October 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I feel like I’ve been adding garlic powder to everything recently – time to start adding it to salad dressing too! Thanks for the idea!


Aldea October 16, 2012 at 4:24 pm

This looks delicious! I have been getting into kale lately and also find it is essential to massage the kale. Just curious, you mentioned sesame seeds in the trader joe’s dressing – did you try yours with sesame seeds or sesame oil at all or does the liquid amino have sesame in it?


Amanda October 16, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I didn’t use sesame seeds because I added hemp seeds to my salad, but you could use them interchangeably. :)


Jenn October 16, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I keep meaning to try kale; this might be just the recipe that gets me started!


Amanda October 16, 2012 at 5:14 pm

You must try kale! It’s one of my favorite foods. I highly recommend it in chip form. ;)


Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning October 16, 2012 at 8:10 pm

The salad looks SOO good. I’ve seen that dressing at TJs many times- but will need to make sure that I pick some up next time!


Amanda October 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

Both the regular soyaki and the island flavor are SO good!


Cinnamon @ eatpraytri October 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm

wow, i haven’t seen this at TJ’s but you better bet that I’m gonna be looking for it on my next trip. It and your version sound amazing. I also love a salad of kale and avocado. Simple yet delicious! Nice work. ;-)


Amanda October 17, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thanks, Cinnamon! It’s hard to go wrong with kale and avocado! :)


colah May 17, 2013 at 7:08 pm

I live 100 miles away from TJ’s (but they’re building one here to open next year…I’ve stalked business journals for intel lol) and for the past week I have been jonesing for some soyaki. I’m sure Whole Foods has a variation but I would rather make it myself for the same reasons you listed. Thanks for the recipe which I will try this weekend!


Amanda May 18, 2013 at 9:14 am

I love Trader Joe’s. Their produce can be hit or miss, but they have so many fun products. :)


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