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Kale salad recipe

Kale salad recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Green salad
  • Kale salad

A delicious raw kale salad that pairs well with just about everything!

9 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 120ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced
  • 70g roasted sunflower seeds
  • 60g dried cranberries

MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:10min ›Ready in:20min

  1. Whisk lemon juice, rapeseed oil, olive oil, sugar, salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Add kale, tomato, sunflower seeds and cranberries; toss to combine.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(86)

Reviews in English (71)

by Valerie Metcalf

Simple salad with simple ingredients.I was looking specifically for a salad using kale for nutritional and preferrential reasons and this one fit nicely.Bite size pieces are certainly necessary with this type of lettuce because kale has so much substance. Flavor seemed mile to me but the ruffle of the leaves and the firmness of it all certainly created a salad that made you recognize this was roughage.I think this would be just as tasty served like a spinach salad with strawberries and almonds or a chinese chicken salad and just substituting the kale.-12 Aug 2012

by xerxia

I liked the simplicity of the ingredients; the flavor of the kale is not hidden, but nicely balanced with the rest. I added some toasted sesame seeds instead of sunflower seeds. I also found it a touch too salty, so next time, I would reduce the amount. Drizzled in a bit more olive oil at the end.-07 Jul 2012

by Terry Wyatt

I liked this salad quite well and am looking for recipes to use my newly grown curly leafed kale. Only a couple of changes. I used all extra virgin olive oil and agave nectar instead of sugar. I think some herbs like dill or basil might make it nicer.-07 Jun 2012

Three kale salads to keep in your fridge all summer long

I’m a kale hater. Well, a raw kale hater, specifically. I can eat the cooked stuff if I have to (I’d always prefer a turnip/collard/mustard green or Swiss chard), but raw is downright torturous. It’s exceedingly chlorophyll-y, not to mention, there’s all that chewing.

However, the one preparation where its textural stubbornness is a boon is in cold, marinated salads — the kind where you massage the kale with an acidic vinaigrette first to soften it a bit. These salads are just what I want throughout the summer when temps start to rise again during the day and all I have patience for is reaching into the fridge for a cold, crunchy lunch.

In the kale salad from APL restaurant, Tuscan kale is massaged with salt first, then tossed with radishes and apples and a tart lemon vinaigrette spiked with Dijon mustard and sweetened with honey.

In a more summery iteration, the leaves are massaged with lemon juice until tender and then slicked with walnut oil and topped with chunks of ripe peaches, dates and toasted pepitas.

And finally, a simple pasta salad is bulked up with kale that’s been massaged in lemon juice and copious amounts of garlic until the citrus juice tames both into a refreshing fridge salad dotted with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and smoked almonds.

In all three salads, the hardy kale stands firm against the dressing to hold its shape over days, while acquiescing only so much to retain a much more palatable chew. And in turn, the assertive vinaigrettes flavor the leaves, transforming them into something bearable (for me) to eat any day of summer.

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
  • 1 ½ tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 7 cups stemmed and torn mixed kale, such as lacinato, curly and/or red
  • ½ cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds

Stir shallot and vinegar together in a large bowl let stand for 5 minutes. Whisk in oil, honey, orange zest, orange juice, salt and pepper. Add kale and massage the mixture gently with your hands until the kale is lightly wilted, about 3 minutes. Arrange the salad on a platter sprinkle with cranberries and almonds.

Homemade Kale Crunch Salad

And this crunch kale salad is easily replicated as home, and I have to say, wow, this is a serious winner of a salad. My version of this salad uses Napa cabbage, which I find lighter and more lettuce than regular cabbage, and while almonds are certainly an option, if there are allergies in your house (as there are in mine) then pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) are a terrific option, providing the crunch in the promise of the salad.

Adding a handful of grated Parmesan at the end is optional, but it makes the salad as far as I’m concerned. That and the slightly sweet slightly tangy dressing, and of course the crunchy addition of nuts or seeds.

Kale Crunch Salad: A serious winner of a salad, with kale, Napa cabbage, hulled pumpkin seeds, and an addicting dressing.

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Killer Kale Salad

Fry the bacon bits until slightly crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

Pour out most of the grease and add the butter to the skillet. Add the onions and cook them over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. Remove them to a plate. Add the mushrooms, stir, then add the wine, and salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the mushrooms for several minutes, until most of the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.

Add the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper to a mason jar and shake it to combine.

Remove the kale leaves from the stalks, then roll them up in batches and slice very thinly. Place the kale in a bowl. Add half the dressing and toss. Then add mushrooms, onions, and bacon and toss again. Finally, add the goat cheese and more dressing if needed, and toss. (Reserve extra dressing for another use.)

This is the kind of thing you make with your sister after Christmas is over and you look at each other after eating your nine hundredth cinnamon roll of the week and decide you&rsquove simply got to have something green and crunchy before you go berserk.

Or before you go ahead and eat your 901st cinnamon roll&mdashwhichever scenario fits.

First, slice up a few slices of bacon into bits&hellip

And fry it up until it&rsquos just beginning to crisp.

Remove it to a paper towel lined plate and set it aside.

Pour off most of the grease, then add a little bitta butter.

Oh no. Don&rsquot get me started. Betty Botta bought some butter. &ldquoBut,&rdquo she said, &ldquoThis butter&rsquos bitter! If I put it my batter, it will make my batter bitter&hellip&rdquo

As I said, don&rsquot get me started.

Turn the heat to medium-low, and when the butter melts, throw in some sliced red onion.

Cook &rsquoem low and slow, stirring occasionally, until they&rsquore nice and soft and slightly caramelized. This&rsquoll take about 10-15 minutes, so hold yer horses!

Remove the onions to a plate&hellip

Then throw in a bunch of sliced mushrooms! These will shrink quite a bit, so don&rsquot be afraid to totally go for it.

Then pour in some wine. White or red&mdashwhatever your preference, Maynard.

Sprinkle in salt and pepper&hellip

Then just cook the heck out of them over medium to medium-high heat&hellip

Until the mushrooms are nice and tender and the wine is mostly cooked off.

At that point, crank up the heat to high and let the mushrooms brown for 30-45 seconds before flipping them and letting them brown on the other side. Then remove the pan from the heat and set them aside. And whatever you do, don&rsquot eat any! Unless you&rsquore me and have no self control and eat a third of them before the salad&rsquos even ready.

And speaking of salad, let&rsquos make the dressing! Just a simple balsamic vinaigrette: 3 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic&hellip

Then salt, pepper, and some dried thyme leaves. Put on the lid, shake it up, and that be it!

Now, for the green, just strip the kale off the stalks, roll up a few leaves at a time, and slice them very thin.

You&rsquoll end with a big, beautiful bowl of shaved kale! This is my favorite way to prep kale for salads, because the leaves are hearty and strong and don&rsquot wither easily when tossed in dressing.

The first thing I do is pour in a little dressing and toss the greens to coat them.

Next (this is getting really exciting!), throw in the mushrooms (or what&rsquos left of them after your little incident earlier)&hellip

The Trick to Better Kale Salad Is in Your Hands

Here we are, light years into the age of kale, and still it's possible to come across a bad kale salad. Not just possible, but probable! Everybody's favorite leafy green vegetable can be a bit of a tough customer: One of the things that makes kale good for you—all that fiber—is the very reason it can be chewy and dense. Cooked, that's no problem, but the raw-kale salad is a particularly hazardous form. Who wants to gnaw their way through a tough, chewy kale Caesar?

Kale Salad Like You've Never Seen It Before

This state of affairs is a shame, because rendering kale edible—even delicious—without cooking it is a cinch. Actually there are a number of ways to do this—if you dress your salad and just let it sit around awhile, the vinegar in the dressing will break down the fiber (for this reason, raw-kale salads are excellent make-ahead options for a summer picnic or for work lunch). But say you don't want to wait. Dinner is nigh. What's your strategy now, hungry raw-kale eater?

This is it: a simple rub. Like a literal massage, using your fingers. It takes only about a minute or two. But it turns raw kale into something else altogether: a tender, sweet green that plays great in salad. Here's how to do it:

First, remove the tough stem from your kale, roll it up tightly, and slice into thin strips. This is easiest with lacinato/dinosaur/Tuscan kale, which frankly has a better texture to begin with, but applies to plain old green kale as well.

From here there are diverging schools of thought. Some hold that you dress the salad fully, then massage. That's fine. I prefer just to splash a little oil, a couple drops of vinegar or lemon juice, and a pinch of salt on the greens and massage them like that—just rub the strips between your fingers. You'll feel the kale start to break down almost immediately. Keep going until it's soft and wilted-looking—it loses a bit of volume in this process—and has given off a little juice. Then add the rest of the dressing and whatever else you're putting in the salad.

Oh, and this is a widely applicable technique. Collard greens? Best massaged, if you're serving them raw. Mustard greens, turnip greens, chard? Yes, why not. Everyone likes a massage.

  • 2 bunches kale
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 minced anchovy fillet or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Strip leaves from the stems (discard stems). Wash and dry the leaves. Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, anchovy (if using), pepper and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny. Taste and adjust seasoning with more Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and/or pepper, if desired.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Crunchy Kale Salad FAQs

Which kale is best for salads?

I’ve used curly kale in this salad, and it’s the most common kale, but you can also use lacinato kale or red kale if you have access to those varieties.

Can you eat raw kale in salads?

Yes, raw kale is great in salads! Raw kale can be tough, which is why we massage the dressing into the leaves. It starts to break the kale down and will make the leaves more tender.

Can you make this nut-free?

Yes, simply swap out the almonds for sunflower seeds or extra hemp hearts.

Can you use a different dressing?

Sure! You just need one that contains both oil and an acid (like vinegar or lemon juice) to soften the kale. Zesty Italian dressing would also pair well here.

Easy Massaged Kale Salad (15 Minutes!)

If you’ve ever wondered why some people suggest massaging kale before eating it, you’ve come to the right place.

We’re here to share the how and why of massaging kale, plus our go-to kale salad for hosting. Let’s do this!

This 15-minute, 6-ingredient salad starts with the kale — our favorite variety being curly. Here’s why:

Best Kale for Massaged Kale Salad

Because some kale varieties are more delicate than others, we suggest using curly kale for massaging because it’s quite hearty, fibrous, and benefits from a good massage.

Lacinato kale (also known as dinosaur or Tuscan kale) can be a bit too tender and delicate in our experience, making it not as ideal for massaging.

That being said, lacinato can still be massaged, we just prefer curly!

We love using this quick and simple method for removing the greens from the stem: Simply grab the bottom, stalky end of the stem and run your other hand upward along the stem using a tight hold to remove the greens.

When you do this, the greens break off, usually taking the top 1/2 or 2/3 of the stem with it. That’s okay! We actually love the texture the stem provides, just not the bulkier, larger portion of the stem as it can be quite fibrous and difficult to chew. (The discarded stem can either be composted or used to make DIY vegetable broth.)

Next, give your kale a chop and add it to a mixing or serving bowl.

Why Massage Kale?

The reason it’s often recommended to massage kale is simple: Kale is quite tough and fibrous and can be difficult to chew compared to other greens like romaine lettuce or spinach.

By massaging it for as little as 2-3 minutes with a little oil and/or lemon juice, it becomes more tender, making it easier to chew and digest.

The other reason is to infuse the kale with more flavor before the dressing is added.

How to Massage Kale

Our go-to method: Add chopped kale to a large bowl and top with lemon juice and olive oil. Use clean hands to massage for about 3 minutes to soften the leaves and infuse the leaves with the oil and lemon. A pinch of salt added near the end of massaging adds even more flavor.

You’ll notice in the photo below that by the end of massaging the kale gets quite glossy and is slightly reduced in volume. That’s exactly what you’re going for.

Best Dressing for Kale Salad

In all of our testing, we haven’t found a better dressing for kale than tahini! It’s a match made in salad heaven. See our favorites here:

We hope you LOVE this salad! It’s:

  • Quick & easy
  • Hearty
  • Satisfying
  • Customizable
  • Citrusy
  • & Delicious

This would make the perfect side to just about any main, especially our Easy Grillable Veggie Burgers, Sweet Potato Lasagna, or My Favorite Vegan Pizza! BONUS: We also find that it sautés nicely (even with the dressing and chickpeas) if you’re looking for a cooked version!

More Salad Recipes

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!


My daughter-in-law, Conner, made this salad for our 2019 Thanksgiving feast and my daughter and I both begged for the recipe. Next to the turkey, her Autumn Kale Salad was the star of the event. I "stole" more than my share of the leftovers, and can't wait to make it myself. I always plant kale for my chickens (makes the yolks orange instead of pale yellow, and delicious), but next year, all the extra kale will go into salad for me and my family. YUM!

Love this salad!! It's fabulous and super easy. The dressing is delicious!

Delicious! Loved the roasted squash and roasted garlic in the dressing. Forgot the shaved Parmesan at the end and it was still fabulous

This was amazing! I've never dared to make kale salad before, worried it would be tough. But the instructions were perfect, definitely "massage" the dressing in as they describe. The kale wilts down a bit when you do that so, unless you have a huge bowl, you might need to do it in batches. I made the dressing exactly as written (definitely roast the garlic. yummy!) You'll have lots of leftover dressing FYI. I used sweet potato instead of squash and cranberries instead of raisins. No parmesan for us. Can't wait to go home tonight to have the leftover! (I never save leftover salad but this one I did!)

O My! What a treat this salad is! It's seasonal, it's luscious and the ingredients all sing! I did not change a thing.

This recipe was a hit with the whole family. Lovely colour and balanced flavours. Substituted kuri squash (a variety that also has a thin edible skin) and russian red kale as that is what was in the garden. My step mom suggested craisins as an alternative to raisins for next time. Highly recommend this yummy fall salad!