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 53 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!


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


  • 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


  • 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.


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



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Rate this recipe (after making it)

  1. Toni Glick

    5 stars
    I served this at a girls night dinner and everyone loved it. The only change was that I mixed roasted carrot with Newman’s Own Ginger Thai which is a similar ingredient dressing.

  2. Elsbeth

    5 stars
    This is truly amazing. We grow kale but I have never known how to make it taste really great and so we were talking of stopping growing it. Now will increase it. I honestly would call this life changing, we are now making it weekly.

  3. Jess

    Super tasty!!! I think it’s my favorite salad and I never was a big fan of radish and beets.

  4. KT Mina

    5 stars
    I never tasted kale this good, thank you so much!

  5. Elizabeth Nicol

    5 stars
    Five stars!

  6. Elizabeth Nicol

    I made this for a brunch with friends and it was a huge hit! I had enough left over to put in my daughter’s lunch for tomorrow and she started picking at it and finished it! Lol. Good! I love all of the elements together and the carrot ginger dressing really unified it. This will become a regular in our household. Thank you so much!

  7. June simpson

    I am about to make this adventurous awesume salad..but what is a batch of chickpeas …does that equate to 100 grams…??? Also bunch of kale not use to these terms..thank you..

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi June, it’s one recipe of these roasted chickpeas (made with 1 1/2 cups or 1 can of chickpeas): https://www.loveandlemons.com/roasted-chickpeas/\

      A medium bunch of kale (typically how they’re sold in stores) will be fine, it doesn’t have to be an exact weight.

  8. Stephanie

    5 stars
    Wow – this was amazing. I don’t usually comment on recipes but this is delicious! I enjoy kale salads and like to do a nutritious lunch, and this is perfect!

  9. Michmash

    5 stars
    Hey, just wanted to say THANKYOU for making kale edible for us…. hehe! We get a weekly vege box and get kale in it a fair bit and unfortunately I never use enough of it and it goes to waste- but last night made your salad and it was AMAZING! The massaging really worked. The only other way we know makes kale good is by making chips with salt and vinegar!

  10. Jen

    Would this salad keep for a few days if you don’t finish it right away or does it need to be eaten immediately?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Jen, it keeps really well for a few days since the kale is so sturdy compared to other greens that wilt more.

  11. Coxey

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

  12. Nicole

    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!

  13. Roberta M

    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.

  14. Europa

    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 🙂

  15. Alicia L

    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

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

  16. Rosy from rosysunshinepaints.com

    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.

  17. Alicia

    This was delicious!

  18. Cher

    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

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

  19. Ali R

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

  20. Kristen

    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.