Kale-Angel Hair Tangle with Orange-Chili Oil and Toasted Almonds

From The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation

3-4 servings

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     Strips of fresh lacinato kale cook on contact with hot noodles, then they marinate together in orange-garlic-chili oil. Fresh orange sections and almonds are introduced at serving time. This salad tastes so exotic that you’ll forget just how straightforward it was to prepare. Even the most labor-intensive preparations (cutting the kale, zesting and removing the orange sections from their membranes) are not difficult and can be done in advance.

I use Lee Kum Kee Chili Garlic Sauce, which is widely available. That said, if you have your own favorite brand on hand, go ahead and use it. The range of orange zest allows you to customize both the labor and the flavor.

However much you decide to use, you will be all the happier for remembering to zest the oranges before you peel and section them. Remove the orange sections from their membranes by first peeling the fruit completely with a serrated knife, and, holding each orange over a bowl, sawing in and out of the membranes with the same knife to release the sections. Squeeze in the juice and discard the membrane left behind. This is a wet, yet worthwhile, procedure. (Just keep a few damp kitchen towels handy.)

This tastes best within 2 hours of being made. It does not need to be all-the-way chilled, and in fact, tastes best at cool room temperature.


  1. 2 tablespoons Chinese chili sauce
  2. 1 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
  3. Up to 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  4. 2 teaspoons agave nectar or sugar
  5. ¼ heaping teaspoon salt, or more to taste
  6. 2 teaspoons cider vinegar or unseasoned rice vinegar
  7. ½ teaspoon soy sauce, or more to taste
  8. ¼ cup grapeseed or peanut oil
  9. 2 large or 4 small bunches very fresh lacinato kale (1 pound total)
  10. 6 ounces angel hair pasta
  11. 2 oranges, peeled, sectioned, and sections removed from membranes (see note)
  12. ½ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
    1. Put on a large pot of water to boil.
    2. Combine the chili sauce, garlic, zest, agave or sugar, salt, vinegar, and ½ teaspoon of the soy sauce in a large bowl. Whisk to blend, then keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil until it is completely incorporated. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
    3. Slice off and discard the larger kale stems, then make a uniform pile of the leaves and roll them tightly into a kale cigar. Make thin slices crosswise with an extremely sharp knife. Transfer to a large colander in the sink. Rinse and drain the kale, then leave the whole setup in the sink to await the hot noodles.
    4. Add the pasta to the boiling water, keeping the heat high. Cook for the amount of time recommended on the package, tasting the pasta toward the end of the suggested time to be sure it is not getting overcooked. When it is just tender enough to bite into comfortably, but not yet mushy (better to err on the al dente side), dump the pasta plus all its water into the kale in the colander. Shake hard a few times to drain, then transfer the pasta and kale, still hot, directly into the bowl of dressing.
    5. Use a fork or tongs to mix all the ingredients, lifting from the bottom of the bowl to distribute the dressing evenly. Let cool to room temperature and then taste to adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
    6. If not serving immediately, cover tightly and let stand at room temperature, or in the refrigerator if your kitchen is too hot and/or you prefer your salad chilled. Serve within 2 hours, ideally in individual bowls, gently mixing in the orange sections and most of the almonds and sprinkling the remaining almonds over the top.
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