Kale Salad Recipe

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A delicious Orange Ginger Dressed Kale Salad recipe from chelseasmessyapron.com
Sriracha orange juice marinated chicken veggie kabobs. A delicious 4-ingredient Sriracha dipping sauce for the kabobs. Recipe from chelseasmessyapron.com

Kale Salad is packed with nutritious ingredients and covered in a delicious white balsamic orange dressing. Massaged kale is topped with ripe, sweet mangoes, crisp red cabbage and red pepper, crunchy carrots, citrus-y cilantro, and salty roasted almonds.

Try some of our other favorite kale salads: this kale and quinoa salad, this kale avocado salad, or this kale couscous salad.

Overhead image of Kale Salad in a bowl, with wooden spoons in it.

A few weeks ago I promised more kale and I’m here to deliver! We’ve been on a major kale kick lately and this has been the perfect side salad to so many of our favorite recipes.

While this Kale Salad recipe is pretty straight forward and easy, I’ll share some tips below for making it. I’m also spilling the “secret” to delicious kale, and after that give some recommendations for prepping this salad in advance. Let’s get started!

Kale Salad tips

  • Truly, a ripe mango makes this salad; it’s far more flavorful and creamy with fully ripe fruit.
  • I highly recommend honey mangoes for this salad (also known as Ataulfo mangoes). They’re sweeter and creamier than regular mangoes and don’t have the typical fibers throughout.
  • Very thinly slice the cabbage, carrots, and red pepper; it allows them to integrate better into the salad. You can also buy pre-shredded carrots for a quicker prep time.
  • Adjust to your preference: We like this salad loaded with toppings (not just a bunch of kale). However, if you’d prefer more kale or less of a certain ingredient, this salad is very forgiving. You may also want less of the dressing (we like lots!), so add slowly and to preference.
  • Use roasted almonds: Buying sliced almonds that have already been roasted saves time and adds flavor. These honey roasted sliced almonds are my favorite! (Not sponsored).

Process shots-- images of the kale being washed and massaged; all the veggies added; dressing being made; then poured over salad; almonds being added;and salad being tossed.

Preparing the kale

Kale gets a bad rap, but when prepared correctly, it’s quite delicious! The secret to great kale? We massage it. I know, this sounds strange, but rubbing the leaves with salt creates friction that breaks down the tough fibers and mellows out the flavor. It’s not an old wives’ tale; there’s real science to it! Read a bit more about it in this article.

Here’s the nitty gritty:

  • Start by removing the thick stems and then very thinly slice (ribbon) the kale. I think the smaller the pieces or shreds of kale, the better it tastes.
  • Once it’s all chopped, put it in a colander (or for a quicker preparation time, use the base of a salad spinner!) and give it a quick rinse.
  • Next, sprinkle some fine sea salt on top and, using your hands, rub and massage the salt into the kale. 
  • Massage the kale for about a minute or until it turns a deep green color; then give it another quick rinse.
  • Allow the kale to dry completely before adding it to the salad (a salad spinner speeds that process quite a bit). If the kale is wet, the dressing won’t adhere as well to this kale salad recipe.

Make ahead

All of the salad ingredients, with the exception of the almonds, can be tossed together in advance and stored in the fridge. The dressing can also be made ahead — in fact, it’s even better when it’s made earlier as the flavors have a chance to intensify and meld together. Store the dressing separately in the fridge.

When you’re ready to serve, simply add in the almonds and dressing and toss the salad.

Kale Salad doesn’t sit well for more than a day (once dressed), as the salad ingredients get soft and even a bit mushy. (The dressing breaks down the ingredients.)

Image of Kale Salad being scooped with wooden spoons, ready to be eaten.

Serve this salad as a main dish

Kale Salad is surprisingly filling and can easily serve as a main dish when you add in a little protein. Here are some of our favorite additions:

  • Chicken: Any leftover cooked chicken works fine; I’m partial to leftover grilled chicken from this chicken marinade recipe.
  • Steak: Grill or pan sear some steak to add right on top of this salad.
  • Grains: Cookquinoa, barley, farro, or even some lentils and, once cooled, toss them in the salad for a protein boost.

Serve Kale Salad alongside:

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Kale Salad

5 from 2 votes
Kale Salad is packed with nutritious ingredients and covered in a delicious white balsamic orange dressing. Massaged kale is topped with ripe, sweet mangoes, crisp red cabbage and red pepper, crunchy carrots, citrus-y cilantro, and salty roasted almonds.
Print Recipe

Kale Salad

5 from 2 votes
Kale Salad is packed with nutritious ingredients and covered in a delicious white balsamic orange dressing. Massaged kale is topped with ripe, sweet mangoes, crisp red cabbage and red pepper, crunchy carrots, citrus-y cilantro, and salty roasted almonds.
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Kale Salad
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 as a side
Calories 215kcal
Cost $7.90

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 packed cups chopped/thinly sliced kale
  • Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 heaping cup chopped mango (~1 large mango or 2 honey mangoes; we like honey mangoes best!)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced red sweet bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup sliced and roasted almonds (See Note 1)

Dressing

  • 2 clementines (1 and 1/2 teaspoons zest and 3 tablespoons juice)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: finely minced ginger and finely minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon EACH: salt and pepper

Instructions

  • KALE: Start by removing the thick stems and then very thinly slice (ribbon) the kale. The smaller the shreds of kale, the better. Once it's all chopped, put it in a colander (or the base of a salad spinner) and give it a quick rinse. Next, sprinkle some fine sea salt on top (about 1/2 to 1 full teaspoon) and, using your hands, rub and massage the salt into the kale. Massage the kale for about a minute and then give it another quick rinse. Allow the kale to dry completely before using in the salad or spin in the salad spinner to quickly dry.
  • SALAD: In a large bowl, toss together the prepared and completely dried kale, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, chopped mango, thinly sliced red bell pepper, and cilantro.
  • DRESSING: For the dressing, add all the ingredients to a mason jar and shake until combined. You may need to use a spoon to stir the bottom if the honey has settled. Taste and adjust as desired with an extra pinch of salt/pepper or drizzle of honey.
  • ENJOY: Pour dressing over prepared salad gradually; you may not want to use all the dressing (we like lots!). Toss until ingredients are well incorporated and dressing coats everything. Sprinkle almonds on top and toss once more.

Recipe Notes

STORAGE: This salad doesn't sit well for more than a day (once dressed) as the salad ingredients get soft and even a bit mushy. (The dressing breaks down the ingredients.)
Note 1: I like to buy honey-roasted salad topper almonds for this salad, but any sliced almonds work. You don't have to toast them, but you can if desired. To toast, add the almonds to a dry nonstick skillet and place over medium high heat. Stir frequently until fragrant and ever so slightly browned; watch carefully they can go from toasted to burned in an instant!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 6serving as a side | Calories: 215kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.2g | Protein: 3.9g | Fat: 15.7g | Sodium: 23.6mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12.6g

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These chicken veggie kabobs are INCREDIBLE! We had them at a bbq this weekend and no one could stop raving about them! So flavorful and delicious!!

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