Kale Salad

The BEST kale salad recipe! It's packed with colorful vegetables, crispy chickpeas, avocado, cranberries, and pepitas. Great for lunch!

Kale salad

Kale salad recipes aren’t as trendy as they used to be, but I’m still making them, and I think you should be too. My case in point is this kale salad recipe, which, if I do say so myself, is one of the most delicious ways to eat kale.

A vibrant carrot ginger dressing coats the tender leafy greens, and roasted chickpeas, colorful veggies, and avocado add lots of contrasting textures. I love to serve it as a side dish because it pairs well with almost any meal, but it’s also hearty enough to pass as a standalone lunch. The sturdy greens hold up for days in the fridge, so it’s perfect for meal prep!

It may not be one of the coolest salads to be making these days, but it’s certainly one of the best. Find the full recipe and my tips for making it below. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Ingredients like dressing, dried cranberries, roasted chickpeas, and avocado

Kale Salad Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what you need to make this kale salad recipe:

  • Kale, of course! Any type of kale will work here. I especially like to use curly kale, but feel free to swap in Tuscan kale (aka lacinato kale) if you prefer.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice – You’ll massage them into the raw kale to help the leaves soften.
  • Roasted chickpeas – They add plant-based protein and crunch.
  • Carrots and beets – I grate these root veggies to add sweet, earthy flavor to the salad.
  • Watermelon radish – Thin slices add crisp texture and bright pops of pink to the salad. If you can’t find a watermelon radish at your market or grocery store, sub in regular red radishes.
  • Avocado – For creamy texture.
  • Dried cranberries – They add sweet-tart flavor.
  • Toasted pepitas and sesame seeds – For nutty crunch.
  • And salt and pepper – To make all the flavors pop!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

Kale Salad Dressing

The guest star of this recipe is the carrot ginger dressing that you see in the photo above. I make it by blending roasted carrots with ginger and tangy rice vinegar. It has a wonderful creamy texture and bright, refreshing flavor. You’ll LOVE it on this kale salad recipe!

Curly kale on marble

How to Make Kale Salad

When it’s not prepared well, a raw kale salad can be tough and bitter—no thanks! The first trick to making yours delicious is to massage the kale so that the leaves become soft and tender. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove the kale leaves from the stems and wash them well. Spread them on kitchen towels to dry, or quickly dry them in a salad spinner.
  2. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Place them in a large bowl and add fresh lemon juice, ½ teaspoon olive oil, and a few pinches of salt.
  4. Use your hands to massage the lemon and oil into the leaves until they become soft and wilted and reduce in the bowl by about half.

That’s it! Add the root veggies, half the avocado, cranberries, pepitas, and more salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Massaging curly kale in salad bowl

Drizzle the salad with the dressing, and toss again. Top with the roasted chickpeas, the remaining avocado, and sesame seeds. Season to taste and serve!

How to Store Kale Salad

Leftover kale salad keeps well for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Because the kale leaves are so sturdy, it holds up well even when it’s dressed!

This recipe is a great one to meal prep for lunch. If you prep it ahead for multiple days, I recommend keeping the avocado separate. Add it to individual portions just before you eat so that it doesn’t brown in the fridge.

Want more meal prep/lunch tips? Check out these 60 Healthy Meal Prep Ideas or these 41 Healthy Lunch Ideas.

Assembling kale salad recipe in large bowl

Salad Variations

Kale salad recipe

More Favorite Salad Recipes

If you love this massaged kale salad recipe, try one of these delicious salads next:

Want more plant-based meal ideas? Check out our 85 Best Vegan Recipes.

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Kale Salad

rate this recipe:
4.97 from 80 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Serves 4
This fresh, hearty 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



  • 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.