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Kale Salad

5 from 1 vote

posted: 12/24/20

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Kale Salad is easy to make and absolutely delicious. I love this recipe for lunch, but it also makes the perfect side dish for a weeknight dinner or holiday table.

overhead view of a kale salad in a bowl

My favorite kind of lunch to have at home is a salad. They are easy to make, and I always feel great afterwards. This Kale Salad is perfect for a weekday lunch because it is light but full of flavor, and will travel well to the office.

Made with easy to find ingredients and the addition of my candied walnuts, this would be a great recipe to add to your holiday menu. It rounds out the table well without adding much time to your cooking.

How to Make Kale Salad

  1. Make Candied Walnuts: These give the recipe a great crunch! I suggest making these the day before.
  2. Prepare Kale Leaves: Read more on this below. It is an important step and will make a big difference in how much you enjoy this salad recipe.
  3. Add in the Cranberries and Cheese: This is the flavor combination I love, but you can find substitutions and variations below.
  4. Make the Dressing: The salad dressing for this kale salad recipe comes from a few pantry ingredients that you likely already have. It really pulls the whole salad together.

How to Cut Kale Leaves

I like to chop up my kale pretty small for this salad. To do that, first cut out the rib in the leaf. Then cut the kale leaf in half, and in half again. Now finally chop it from one end of the leaf to the other.

Massaged Kale Salad

One of the key steps to this recipe is massaging the kale. Sounds like a pretty high maintenance leafy green, but it really is worth it.

Kale can be a little tough, and using just a little pinch of salt to massage it will soften it greatly making for a salad that you will throughly enjoy. Make sure to go easy on the pinch of salt as there is also salt in the dressing.

I you are looking to lessen the sodium, you could massage it with a few drops of olive oil or a little lemon juice instead.

image of kale salad dressing being poured onto salad

Kale Salad Dressing

Like any good salad, this one comes with the perfect homemade dressing. This recipe is very similar to my Balsamic Dressing with just a few alterations to make it perfect for this salad. Most of these ingredients are already in your pantry waiting for you.

  • Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Lemon Juice
  • Honey
  • Salt

Variations and Substitutions

One of the things I love most about salads is how easy they are to change up. Since you came here for a Kale Salad, let’s assume you still want kale. But here are some switch ups for everything else.

  • Swap the Candied Walnuts: These can be replaced with other nuts that aren’t candied. Pecans and pine nuts would be great options. Or you can make Candied Pecans instead!
  • Swap the Dried Cranberries: A great replacement for these would be some fresh strawberries or blueberries. Raisins could work here too.
  • Swap the Goat Cheese: Goat cheese is definitely not for everyone. You could replace it with another soft cheese like some feta or blue cheese.
side view of a massaged kale salad

I hope you have the happiest of holidays! If you make his salad recipe leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing from you.

overhead view of a kale salad in a bowl
5 from 1 vote

Kale Salad

Serves: 8 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
This simple Kale Salad is quick to make and big on flavor! Make it as a simple side dish or a perfect lunch for two.


  • 8 cups finely chopped kale
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup candied walnuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 ounces goat cheese (feta would be another great substitute)


  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • This recipe calls for 8 cups finely chopped kale. I like to remove the thick ribs of the kale, then finely chop it with a pairing knife. After that, I add it to the measuring cup to get 8 cups.
  • Add the kale to a salad bowl. Add a small pinch of salt and massage it into the leaves. The leaves will soften quickly.
  • Top with the goat cheese, dried cranberries, and candied walnuts.
  • Add half the dressing, and leave the rest on the side for guests to dress their salad to taste.
Calories: 172kcal (9%) Carbohydrates: 13g (4%) Protein: 4g (8%) Fat: 13g (20%) Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 3mg (1%) Sodium: 225mg (10%) Potassium: 249mg (7%) Fiber: 3g (13%) Sugar: 9g (10%) Vitamin A: 6767IU (135%) Vitamin C: 64mg (78%) Calcium: 185mg (19%) Iron: 1mg (6%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
overhead view of a kale salad in a bowl

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Kale Salad

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Donna Vilogi says

    I made it for Christmas. It was delicious.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy you liked it, Donna!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners