How To Make Kale Salad

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A Quick Technique To Reduce Bitterness

How to Make Simple Kale Salad

The bitter taste of kale intensifies with chewing. Thats because inside the cell walls of the vegetable are sulfur-containing compounds called isothiocyanates. The astringent compounds release when breaking down the leaves. To combat this, briefly massage the leaves to bring those undesirable flavors to the surface.

Rinse the chopped pieces thoroughly with cool water to remove the bad-tasting compounds. To further mask the bitterness when eating, the acidic and savory vinaigrette works well to coat the taste buds before the astringent flavors are perceived.

How To Massage Kale For Salads

Kale is naturally a bit tough when its raw, especially curly kale. Massaging kale sounds weird, but it helps to make the kale leaves more tender and more enjoyable to eat.

Once the kale is prepped, transfer it to a large bowl. Youll need a little oil and salt to tenderize and soften the kale. For this simple recipe, you can go ahead and add in the garlic and lemon juice too. I typically massage my kale with extra virgin olive oil because it has the best flavor .

Once the kale is coated in oil, work the leaves with your fingers by pinching and squeezing the kale for a couple of minutes or until the leaves are soft and pliable.

How To Massage Kale

If youve asked yourself how do you soften kale for salads, weve got you covered. After washing and drying your kale, remove the ribs/stem from each kale leaf. Tear or chop the kale into bite-sized pieces, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Next pour a little olive oil in your hands and work your way through the kale, massaging the leaves until they darken in color and tenderize. I swear that a massaged kale salad tastes a million times better we wouldnt prep kale any other way!

Prefer to massage your kale without oil? Try a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice instead!

I do this a lot for my Cilantro Lime Mexican Kale Salad

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How To Make Kale Salad With Cranberries And Fresh Lemon Kale Salad Dressing

This easy peasy kale salad with cranberries is loaded with tasty mix-ins. There are so many kale salad ideas! I chose to add carrots, broccoli, red onion, dried cranberries, cheese, sliced almonds and sunflower seeds, but you could totally get creative here and empty out your crisper drawer!

Raisins would work excellent instead of the cranberries, and if youre not feeling the fruit right now, load your salad up with extra veggies instead! I used cheddar cheese here but feta or goat cheese would work marvelously too. You could even go dairy-free and make this scrumptious salad vegan!

Kale And Cabbage Slaw With Dijon Mustard Vinaigrette

How To Make The Best Kale Salad:A Step

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Switch up your slaw game with this creative salad recipe that adds kale greens to the usual shredded cabbage mix. Enjoy this slaw recipe alongside any barbecue or grilled foods. It’s a breeze to make, with a light and easy dressing that combines some olive oil, grainy Dijon mustard, and white wine vinegar or white balsamic vinegar. Liven up your burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, fish tacos, or barbecued meats with this salad at your outdoor grilling parties.

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How To Make Kale Salad

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Kale salads have been a standard at hip restaurants for several years now. And why not? Kale is full of nutrients. It holds up well to dressings, allowing kale salads to be prepared up to a day in advance. Kale pairs well with a wide variety of ingredients, particularly salty cheeses, raisins, almonds, and thinly sliced raw vegetables.XResearch source Follow these tips to make a variety of tasty kale salads.

How To Make Raw Kale Tender

Here’s the deal. Normally if you dress a lettuce salad with a vinaigrette, the dressing breaks down the cellular walls of the lettuce, and within minutes it will become limpy, which is why we typically dress a salad right before serving. In the case of the kale, kale is tougher than lettuce .

When you cook kale, which is what we do usually, the heat from the cooking breaks down the cellular walls, making the kale more tender to eat. In the absence of cooking, you can achieve much the same tenderizing result with a vinaigrette.

By the way, according to Shirley Corriher in CookWise , although vinegar will cause wilting, it’s the oil and the salt that do the most work to wilt a salad.

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Best Kale Salad Dressing

This is the very BEST kale salad dressing recipe ever. I know that is a big claim, but I’ve been told it so many times and by so many people that it must be true. The honey helps balance kale’s bitter flavor and the two types of vinegar create an irresistible flavor.

I’ve been told that this is the best kale salad dressing recipe ever. When I used to run an underground restaurant, this is the dressing that I would make when I served a kale salad. Each time, guests would rave about it. Even if you don’t think you like kale, try it with this dressing. I bet you’ll fall in love.

Kale Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette

How to Make a Raw Kale Salad


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Easy, healthy, and refreshing kale salad made with simple lemon vinaigrette. It makes the perfect side to go with any meal or light lunch that you can make ahead! Also makes a great salad for your holiday table.

We love this kale salad in particular as its an explosion in flavors and textures! Its sweet, savory, and tangy at the same time, and the different textures of massaged velvety kale with crunchy carrots, sunflower seeds, and chewy cranberries, its just amazing!

Try this kale salad recipe and you will add it to your rotation as its so simple, yet very delicious and loaded with vitamins and goodness! I also love making kale chips every time I buy a bag of fresh kale, so be sure to check out my recipe.

This is one of my go-to salads for Thanksgiving, and I often make a salad or two. This kale salad and my brussels sprouts salad are always on the menu, and everyone loves them!

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Then Slice Through The Roll:

Kale leaves have a natural waxy coating that is great for protecting them from rain. Unfortunately, it also protects them from salad dressing, which does not make for a delicious salad. Rubbing the leaves with oil before dressing them actually removes this waxy coating, so that the leaves better absorb the dressing.

Kale Salad With Fruit

The Spruce / Allyson Kramer

Do you prefer sweet over savory? If so, then this recipe is for you. Raw kale is a versatile green that makes a wonderful base for this delicious, wholesome, sweet fruit salad. You can try this kale salad recipe with so many different fruits, but we recommend including banana for its silky texture and satisfying mouthfeel. Toss in apples, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, mango, or kiwiand don’t forget the cherry on top. Tying it all together is an unexpected dressing of dried shredded coconut and lime juice that you’ll want to steal for salads to come.

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The Ingredients For A Great Kale Salad

The following recipe is one that I adapted from the recipe that my friend Katie gave me, which she adapted from a Dan Barber recipe that appeared in Bon Appetit.

The salad includes fresh raw lacinato kale leaves, cut into thin strips, dried sweetened cranberries, toasted pine nuts, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and a vinegar-rich balsamic vinaigrette, sweetened with a little honey. All together it is a deliciously festive salad, and would make a lovely accompaniment for any meal.

What Is Tuscan Kale

How To Make The Best Kale Salad:A Step

There are a few main types of kale you can find at the grocery store. Most mainstream groceries now carry both Tuscan kale and curly kale, found in large bunches in the produce section. For this kale salad, we recommend using Tuscan kale because the mild flavor is more suited to a salad where youre eating the kale raw.

  • Tuscan kale has darker green, flatter leaves its also sometimes called Lacinato or dinosaur kale. The flavor of Tuscan kale is milder than curly kale.
  • Curly kale is brighter green and very curly! Its raw flavor is a little more bitter and spicy.

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How To Serve Massaged Kale Salad

Once massaged, allow the kale to sit for just a few minutes while preparing any toppings and add-ins. This will allow it to macerate and further tenderize the kale.

For the lemony kale pomegranate salad , I added some fresh pomegranate seeds, flaked almonds, and then topped with some Air Fryer baked cauliflower.

No Need To Massage The Kale

In the case of this salad made with raw kale leaves, instead of dressing and serving immediately, we dress the salad and then let it sit for a while, so the dressing can work its magic on the sturdy kale leaves, softening them up so we can more easily eat them.

Many kale recipes call for massaging kale leaves, but with this recipe you don’t have to. The greens become tender all on their own with a little time. This approach also makes this salad a great make-ahead salad for parties or potlucks.

That said, if you’d like to speed up the tenderizing process, you can massage the kale by rubbing the kale with your fingers to work in the vinaigrette.

What else helps make the kale tender for a salad? Cutting out the tough midribs and cutting the leaves into thin slices also helps tenderize the leaves. Using a more tender variety of kale, such as lacinato kale, make a difference as well.

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Simple Ingredients = Perfect Lemony Kale Salad Recipe

Kale is a member of the brassica family of plants, which means its in the same family as cabbage, radishes, broccoli and cauliflower and means that its extremely good for you. Even among the largely superfood-y brassicas, kale reigns as a particularly healthy green. There are lots of varieties of kalecurly kale is probably the most common, but youve likely heard of and seen Tuscan kale , and its our kale of choice for this kale salad recipe. A bit more tender than curly kale, but not quite as quick-to-wilt as Russian red kale, Tuscan kale hits the just-right spot for this lemony kale salad. In addition to seasoning this salad with a little salt and fresh pepper, youll need:

  • Tuscan kale

  • Fresh parsley

Kitchen Garden Dishes Based On Plant Families

How to Make Vegan Kale Salad Recipe

For this fun kitchen-garden-to-table series with Le Creuset, I created recipes based around plant families.

In my book, Kitchen Garden Revival, you’ll learn how to plant your kitchen garden based on plant families, and most plants in most families grow together in the garden simultaneously. So, it just makes sense to cook these plants together too, don’t you think?

For this recipe, we’ll focus on the Brassica family, aka the “super healthy dark leafy green family.”

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How To Soften Kale For Unforgettable Salads

We show you how to soften kale and make it tender and tasty instead of chewy and bitter. Get all the nutritious benefits of super food kale deliciously.

You have to be living under a rock if you havent noticed how popular kale has become. You will find it in in a smoothie, in a frittata, in pies, in pasta as kale chips, in a salad and the list goes on! Unfortunately, this Supergreen has a tendency to be unpalatable if not prepared correctly.

Chopped Brussels Sprout And Kale Salad With Creamy Tahini

Gluten free

This is the first recipe Ive tried from your site, which Ive visited for several months, and now Im wondering whats taken me so long! This salad is delicious, and the dressing combines ingredients I never would have thought to put together, lending a salty, sweet, umami punch to the greens. Im looking forward to my leftovers at lunch today! Lauren

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How To Make Greek Kale Salad

Making this salad is very easy, just chop up everything and toss it all together with your lemon olive oil dressing which is just a combination of 2 part olive and 1 part fresh lemon juice . You can also add chickpeas, olives, or bell peppers to the mix.

I suggest marinating the salad in the dressing and letting it soak for at least 30 minutes, this will allow the kale to soften slightly and lessen some of its bitterness.

Easy Kale Salad With Lemon Dressing

Easy Kale Salad with Fresh Lemon Dressing

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This Easy Kale Salad recipe is packed full of fresh, hearty kale, tangy, homemade lemon dressing, crunchy nuts and sweet, plump raisins. You can make it ahead and have it ready in less than 10 minutes! This is a quick and easy salad recipe you dont want to miss!

This kale salad has become such a staple in our family. I make it for almost every family gathering as well as those times when we are in a dinner salad rut. Its a close second to this crispy chickpea kale caesar salad that is also pretty popular.

Even people that claim they do not like kale, absolutely LOVE this salad recipe! It has that heartiness from the dark, leafy kale, crunchiness from the pistachios, sweetness from the raisins, and a beautiful pucker from the tangy, bold lemon dressing.

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What To Do Instead Of Massaging To Soften Kale

If the thought of massaging your kale is unappealing then you have three alternatives:

  • You can shred the kale finely or chop into small pieces and let the dressing take care of making it tender. But make sure you make your salad at least an hour or more in advance to allow the kale leaves to soften.
  • You can just mix the raw kale leaves with your dressing, and let them soften overnight in your fridge.
  • You can just make your salad well ahead of serving time and let the citrus and vinegar break down the leaves and make them softer.
  • How To Massage Kale:

    You know the drill! To make those tough kale leaves nice and soft, they need a quick massage before we add the other ingredients. So once you have removed and discarded those tough kale stems , go ahead and roughly chop the kale as finely as you would like. Then add it to a large mixing bowl, drizzle with a few glugs of olive oil, and then get your hands in there and massage the kale just like you would knead dough. I typically massage my kale for 1-2 minutes, so that it doesnt get overly mushy. But just keep massaging until the kale reaches your desired level of crispiness.

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    Easy Kale Salad Tips And Variations

    • You want to make sure to wash the kale really well first since it can hold a lot of dirt and become gritty . Then you want to either add the rinsed kale to a clean kitchen towel, close it up and shake it a little to remove excess moisture or use a salad spinner to do this. This will keep the greens nice and crisp
    • Always massage kale for salads. This will allow the kale to break down and become softer, which makes it easier to eat and digest. See the section above on tips for how to massage kale.
    • You can prep your kale ahead and have it ready to go for making salads all week long. Check out this post on how to store kale for more tips.
    • Not a fan of lemon? Swap the lemon zest and juice with the zest and juice of an orange or switch up the dressing altogether and try this Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette instead.
    • Make this kale salad recipe dairy free and just leave out the parmesan cheese or use vegan parmesan cheese.
    • Mix up the nuts and use pecans, walnuts or pumpkin seeds.

    How To Make The Best Kale Salad With Lemon Dressing

    How to Make Any Kale Salad Taste Good in 3 Steps
  • Make the dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to a bowl or mason jar and mix or shake well to emulsify.
  • Wash and massage the kale. See my comments above on how to do this. It is very easy and so worth the effort.
  • Chop the kale. Use a sharp kitchen or vegetable knife to chop the kale into thin strips. To do this just take a good bunch of the kale, roll it up like a cigar and run your knife through it. Then add it back to the salad bowl.
  • Add the remaining ingredients: Top the sliced kale with the rest of the salad ingredients: Golden raisins, pistachios or pumpkin seeds, parmesan and lemon zest.
  • Dress and toss the salad. Pour the tangy lemon dressing onto the salad and toss well to season all of the ingredients in the incredible lemon dressing and serve.
  • Get full list of ingredients and recipe instructions in the recipe card below.

    It is so unbelievably tasty. The tangy lemon dressing brings this salad to a whole new level.

    This is literally the perfect make and prep easy kale salad ever! I love that you can use this as a super quick meal prep recipe and eat it any day of the week.

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