Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

This happy, feel-good kale salad recipe is packed with colorful vegetables, crispy chickpeas, avocado, cranberries, and pepitas. Great for lunch!

Rainbow Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

Is it just me, or does it seem like the kale salad has gone out of style? For a while there, the internet was a kale-crazy place to be, but it seems to have fallen out of favor due to Brussels sprouts salads, roasted squash salads, and even pasta salads. While I was pondering this important life issue, I realized that it had not only been a while since I’d posted a kale recipe – it had been a while since I’d even made a kale salad for myself… so I thought – let’s bring it back(!) with this super fresh, colorful, rainbow salad recipe.

Rainbow Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

The guest star of this recipe is the creamy carrot ginger dressing that you see in the photo above. I make it by blending roasted carrots with ginger and tangy rice vinegar. While you’re roasting your carrots, roast some chickpeas too. They add a nice substantial bite to the mix of fresh, raw veggies in this salad.

I feel healthier just looking at all that kale! Oh, how I’ve missed you, kale salad!

Rainbow Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

How to Make A Massaged Kale Salad

The first trick to creating your kale salad is to massage the kale so that the bite-sized leaves become soft and tender. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Place bite-sized kale leaves into a large bowl and drizzle them with lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of olive oil, and a few pinches of salt.
  2. Use your hands to massage the leaves until they become soft and wilted and reduce in the bowl by about half.
  3. That’s it! You’re ready to assemble your kale salad.

Rainbow Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

Assembling Your Kale Salad

I like to build kale salads with a variety of flavors and textures, so I add soft dried cranberries, creamy avocado, crunchy roasted chickpeas, crispy pepitas, and fresh grated & sliced vegetables to this kale salad recipe.

Layer everything in (this is your Insta-worthy moment!) then toss and douse it all with the carrot ginger dressing. Serve the salad right away, or pack it up for lunches throughout the week. It can be stored dressed since kale leaves are so sturdy. If you’re packing this for multiple days, I would keep the avocado separate and add it to the salad before you leave for work. See this post for more of my best meal prep tips and this one for more lunch ideas.

Rainbow Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

Kale Salad Variations

Kale Salad

If you love this kale salad recipe…

Try my broccoli saladbeet salad, watermelon salad, or Greek salad, or any of these 37 favorite salads next!

For more vegan recipes, check out this post!

Kale Salad with Carrot Ginger Dressing

rate this recipe:
5 from 55 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Serves 4
This happy, feel-good kale salad recipe is packed with colorful vegetables, crispy chickpeas, avocado, cranberries, and pepitas. Great for lunch!

Ingredients

Carrot Ginger Dressing (See notes)

  • ½ cup chopped roasted carrots, from 3/4 cup raw carrots
  • 1/3 to ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Salad

  • 1 batch Roasted Chickpeas
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves torn
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1 small red beet, grated*
  • ½ watermelon radish, very thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup pepitas, toasted
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • Sea salt & Freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Make the dressing and roast the chickpeas: Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle with pinches of salt and pepper. Place the carrot pieces for the dressing in their own corner on the baking sheet to roast alongside the chickpeas. Roast for 25 to minutes, or until the chickpeas are browned and crisp and the carrots are soft. Set the roasted chickpeas aside. Transfer the carrots to a blender and add the water, olive oil, rice vinegar, ginger, and salt. Blend the dressing until smooth and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
  • Place the kale leaves into a large bowl and drizzle with the lemon juice, ½ teaspoon of olive oil, and a few pinches of salt. Use your hands to massage the leaves until they become soft and wilted and reduce in the bowl by about half.
  • Add the carrot, beet, watermelon radish, half of the cubed avocado, cranberries, pepitas, a few more good pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and toss. Drizzle generously with the carrot ginger dressing. Top with the remaining avocado, more dressing, the roasted chickpeas and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Season to taste and serve.

Notes

- Make the dressing ahead so it has time to chill in the fridge before adding to the salad.

 

82 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Lisa
    05.31.2022

    5 stars
    This was SO SO good! A great way to use all the kale I’m getting in my CSA…will definitely be making this again! Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      06.03.2022

      Hi Lisa, I’m so glad you loved it!

  2. Maya
    04.23.2022

    Can you use white wine vinegar instead of rice wine vinegar?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.27.2022

      Hi Maya, I think it would be fine, I’d start with less since rice vinegar is more mild.

  3. Marcia
    03.02.2022

    5 stars
    I have made this salad twice and I love it, but for some reason I can’t get the dressing creamy. No matter how long I blend it it is still lumpy. This time I roasted the carrots longer to make sure they were soft but that didn’t seem to make a difference.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.03.2022

      Hi Marcia, oh no, I think it might depend on your blender. If you’re making a lot of these types of creamy vegan recipes a vitamix is a terrific investment.

    • Chef Jason
      05.23.2022

      Puree all ingredients except oil. While still running in the blender slowly pour the olive oil in, this will aid in the emulsification of the dressing for a creamier texture.

  4. Ayla
    03.01.2022

    5 stars
    Loved the flavours very delish

  5. Stephanie Killian
    02.20.2022

    5 stars
    Such a beautiful salad. Thank you very much for the instructions on how to make the kale softer. This really added to the recipe.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.21.2022

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  6. Denise Ciafre
    02.20.2022

    Hello, is the beet cooked or raw?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.21.2022

      Hi Denise, it’s raw here.

  7. Andrea
    02.12.2022

    How long does it take for the kale to wilt enough?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      02.13.2022

      Hi Andrea, just a few minutes.

  8. Carolyn
    12.26.2021

    5 stars
    Made this salad for Christmas lunch and it was a huge hit. Didn’t have rice vinegar and substituted apple cider vinegar. Added some more liquid to the dressing and coated the baked chickpeas in curry powder. It was all a perfect combination of flavours and a great way to use kale. Will definitely be checking out more of your recipes!!! Thank you

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      12.27.2021

      Hi Carolyn, I’m so glad the salad was a hit!

  9. Margarita
    11.22.2021

    5 stars
    That’s it! I trust Love & Lemons with my life.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      11.23.2021

      Ha, I’m glad you loved the recipe!

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.