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 36 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.

 

51 comments

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Coxey
    05.24.2021

    5 stars
    Excellent receipe…my family and I definitely enjoy it.

  2. Nicole
    03.16.2021

    5 stars
    This salad was absolutely beautiful!! It was so bright and flavorful and very satisfying. That dressing is absolutely killer! I’ve still never been able to find watermelon radishes but I am determined to. Red radishes worked great here, too. Thanks for this delicious recipe!

  3. Roberta M
    02.17.2021

    5 stars
    I just had my delivery from Misfits Market and had every ingredient called for in this recipe in my box. This salad was delicious. It did require a fair amount of work to prepare but it was well worth the effort. I did change up the dressing a bit; a added just a touch of grated garlic and a couple of generous drizzles of honey. I did not have pepitas so I substituted with sun flower seeds. I would certainly make this again.

  4. Europa
    02.07.2021

    5 stars
    A wonderful recipe! The dressing is divine and all the flavors and textures come together beautifully.

    I used regular radishes and both pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries. As another user commented, it indeed takes some time to prepare everything, but I roasted the chickpeas and carrots a day before (more than required for this salad – and used them in another dish), which saved some time. I served the salad as a side dish with blini with smoked salmon and caviar. A highly praised dinner by everybody 🙂

  5. Alicia L
    01.31.2021

    For the kale salad with the carrot ginger dressing there is an asterisk behind the shredded beat, but I can’t find it after or in the recipe Is it a variation of the shredded beat and/ or where can I find it?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.31.2021

      Oops, I don’t know why that’s there – any beet shredded will do.

  6. Rosy from rosysunshinepaints.com
    01.31.2021

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!! I made this last night and used the beet tahini dressing recipe. I forgot to add in the chickpeas and used regular radish (sliced with a mandolin). OMG my mouth is watering just remembering it. This recipe made eating a healthy meal easy and scrumptious.

  7. Alicia
    01.23.2021

    This was delicious!

  8. Cher
    01.19.2021

    5 stars
    Possibly the BEST salad I’ve ever made. Total magic. Didn’t have/use pepitas but still plenty of flavor. Not a vegan but this was phenomenal & easy to prep. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      01.20.2021

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

  9. Ali R
    01.12.2021

    5 stars
    Made this tonight with roasted beets instead of raw and it was delicious! The dressing might be one of my new favorites!!!

  10. Kristen
    01.01.2021

    5 stars
    This salad was really delicious. I made it for meal prep and it was the perfect combination of flavors and textures. The carrot ginger dressing was especially tasty.

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.