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Simple ingredients and simple instructions (including how to massage kale) make this Kale Salad Recipe an absolute keeper!
Have YOU jumped on the kale bandwagon? I have to admit, I’m a slow convert. It took me forever to get into quinoa, a bit longer to adopt any kind of interest in an instant pot, and now, here I am. Making kale salad, and sharing this great recipe with you!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Kale is super healthy for you and tastes great when you prepare it correctly!
- This recipe includes fresh fruit, dried fruit and cheese. And avocado. And it’s amazing.
- This recipe won’t heat up your house in summer!
How to prepare kale for salad:
Remove stems from kale and chop into bite-sized pieces. Place the chopped kale in a large bowl. Add in sea salt and massage the kale with your hands until it starts to turn a darker green. This will make the kale more tender and easier to eat.
Don’t massage it like bread dough, it’s more like you are taking handfuls of kale and scrunching it in your hands. Do this for about 1-2 minutes or until it turns a darker green. You should see a noticeable difference in texture between the massaged kale and the untouched kale.
FAQs & Kylee’s Notes
Can you eat raw kale in salads?
You do not need to cook kale leaves in order to enjoy them. Kale DOES have a tougher texture and a slightly bitter taste, but I have found that it makes a great salad when you massage the leaves of kale beforehand and cut the kale into thin ribbons.
This way, all the other complementary ingredients can be introduced at the same time, which will offset some of the kale’s bitterness.
What kind of kale to use in salad?
Excellent question. Baby kale, if you can find it is easier to use as you won’t need to massage it, it’s super tender already and they’re small and thinner leaves than curly kale or Tuscan kale. I used curly kale in this recipe!
What can I substitute in my kale salad?
You can add in your favorite salad ingredients depending on your preference. Some substitutions could be:
- Pears: you can use a granny smith or honey crisp apples instead of using a pear.
- Pecans: add in some chopped almonds or walnuts
- Dried cranberries: add in dried cherries, blueberries, or golden raisins
- Feta cheese: use goat cheese, mozzarella balls, or blue cheese.
For extra protein and to make a complete meal, you can also add in:
- Grilled chicken or salmon
- Roasted chickpeas
- Roasted sweet potatoes
- Roasted beets (not so much extra protein, just a really great flavor)
In the dressing – you could use a stone ground mustard, and switch out the honey for maple syrup – or try this mustard vinaigrette recipe.
This kale salad tastes best when eaten fresh on the day that you combine the ingredients, but it will stay for 2-3 days when stored in the refrigerator.
If you just prep the ingredients (and don’t mix them all together), they will last for up to 4-5 days. If you are looking to prepare this kale salad ahead of time, prep the components ahead and then combine them on the day that you need them for the best results.
Kale Salad Recipe (with Honey Dijon Vinaigrette)
- 8 oz curly kale (This will be ½ of a 1 lb bag of chopped kale or 5 cups chopped and packed kale)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup red onion (diced)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup purple cabbage (chopped)
- 1 avocado (diced)
- 1 medium pear (chopped with skin on (I like Bartlett pears))
- ½ cup pecans (chopped)
- ½ cup feta cheese
- Remove stem from kale and chop into bite sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl.
- Add in salt and massage the kale with your hands until it starts to turn a darker green. This will make the kale more tender and easier to eat. Don’t massage it like bread dough, it’s more like you are taking handfuls of kale and scrunching it in your hands. You want to do this for about 1-2 minutes or until it turns a dark green. You should see a noticeable difference in texture between the massaged kale and the untouched kale.
- Add in the rest of the ingredients to the kale salad.
- Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over salad ingredients.
- Toss salad to combine salad and dressing.
- Enjoy right away or let it marinade in the salad dressing for 20-30 minutes before serving for best flavor. Enjoy!
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.