Are you ready for the absolute Best Kale Salad Recipe? Here it is. Featuring massaged kale, dried cranberries, almonds and a creamy lemon parmesan dressing, this salad couldn’t get any better!
If fresh and flavorful salads are your thing, I’ve got you covered with my Mediterranean Salad with Greek Salad Dressing, Smoked Salmon Salad, Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad, and Berry Orzo Spinach Salad, Portillos Chopped Salad.
Why This Recipe Works
Tangy & Savory: The best and most important thing about this kale salad recipe is the flavor. The crunch of the kale and almonds along with the chewy cranberries pair perfectly with the lemony parmesan dressing! The creamy dressing uses mayo and yogurt to achieve the best texture, along with some fresh lemon and red wine vinegar for some tangy goodness!
Easy to Make: There is virtually not an easier salad recipe out there. The work needed for the best kale salad recipe goes into massaging the kale and making the dressing. Everything else is easily tossed together! I simply whisked together the dressing ingredients, but you can also blitz it in the food processor for a smoother dressing!
Good for You: Getting in your greens is important for lots of vitamins, calcium and potassium! You won’t even notice that this salad is good for you, but don’t worry, it is definitely filled with all the good for you nutrients you need!
My best kale salad recipe uses minimal ingredients for a gourmet salad and a homemade dressing! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Kale: I used curly kale and removed the rough stems.
- Flaky Sea Salt: A flaky sea salt or course kosher salt is needed to massage the kale and make it more tender. Plus, this adds a great flavor to the kale.
- Dried Cranberries: I love the flavor of dried cranberries here, but you can use other dried fruit as well!
- Almond Slivers: Almond slivers or shaved almonds add a nice crunchy texture to the salad.
- Parmesan: Shredded parmesan is added to the dressing for a slightly savory flavor.
- Mayo & Yogurt: I used a combo of light mayo and plain yogurt to create the creamy base of the dressing.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: I emphasize the fresh here since there aren’t that many ingredients in the dressing, fresh is best.
- EVOO: Extra Virgin Olive Oil is added to the dressing. Use a high quality EVOO here if possible.
- Red Wine Vinegar: A little bit of red wine vinegar adds a depth of flavor and more tanginess to the dressing.
- Cracked Black Pepper: To taste.
Here’s How to Make It
Step by Step Instructions
Kale salad with cranberries can be made in just two easy steps! Here’s how to make it:
- Massage the Kale: Place the kale with a generous pinch of salt in a large bowl, massaging the salt into the kale until the kale goes soft and dark green, and has stained your fingers a little. The motion is the same one you would use rubbing butter into flour to make pastry. Add the dried cranberries and almond slivers and set aside.
- Make the Dressing & Assemble: To make the kale salad dressing, combine the parmesan, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, and the red wine vinegar and black pepper to taste before stirring into the kale just before serving.
- Be sure to remove the kale stems! Kale stems are rough and chewy so they are difficult to eat when the kale is raw. To easily remove the stems, hold your hand at the bottom of the stem and run your other hand up the leaf to remove the stem. Then, chop the leaves to the desired size.
- Top with some protein! To make a full meal from this kale salad recipe, you can top this salad off with some grilled chicken, steak, fish, or shrimp!
- Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days! Kale holds up with the dressing on it for longer than other types of greens. But after 2 days, it will become soggy.
- You can make this salad ahead by prepping the kale, toppings, and dressing separately and tossing them together when you are ready to serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kale is a fibrous green vegetable that benefits from massaging. By massaging the kale with the salt, you will break down some of those fibers making it easier to eat and digest!
You don’t need to cook kale to add it to a salad. Kale is perfectly safe to eat raw and is actually a super food thanks to all of it’s nutrients! Massaging the kale does make it easier to eat and digest while raw.
More Easy Salad Recipes to Try
- Best Simple Tossed Salad
- Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Salad
- Apple Cranberry Walnut Salad
- Honey Mustard Chicken Cobb Salad
- Best Broccoli Salad Recipe
Did you make this recipe? EXCELLENT. Please rate the recipe below and be sure to tag me on social when you share a photo of your CDLC creation – I love seeing what you’re up to in the kitchen!
Best Kale Salad Recipe
- 4 cups curly kale - chopped with the rough stems removed
- flaky sea salt - to taste
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup almond slivers or shaved almonds - toasted
- ½ cup shredded parmesan
- 2 tbsp light mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
- cracked black pepper - to taste
- Place the kale with a generous pinch of salt in a large bowl, massaging the salt into the kale until the kale goes soft and dark green, and has stained your fingers a little bit. The motion is the same as you would use rubbing butter into flour to make pastry. Add the dried cranberries and almond slivers, and set aside.
- To make the dressing, combine the parmesan, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, and the red wine vinegar and black pepper to taste before stirring into the kale just before serving.
- For a smoother dressing, blitz it in a food processor or bullet blender, or grate the parmesan using a microplane citrus zester, but I like how little pieces of cheese cling to the kale here.
- This salad will keep overnight in the fridge and will happily sit out for a few hours so it is great for a potluck or gathering.