Kale Salad Recipe

Kale salad

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 2 to 3 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
156 Calories
14g Fat
8g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 2 to 3
Amount per serving
Calories 156
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 228mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 30mg 148%
Calcium 57mg 4%
Iron 1mg 5%
Potassium 211mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Tuscan, black, or dino kale has dark green, deeply curly leaves that are usually cooked—often for a fair amount of time—to soften their firm, fibrous texture. In this recipe, those sometimes tough leaves are simply sliced thin, tossed with a bright dressing, and served raw to great effect.

Is raw kale a bit tough for your taste, even when thinly sliced? Try giving it a hearty massage first. That's right, massage. Grab handfuls of the leaves and rub them - as vigorously as you like - to break down their fibers for a more tender texture. Really get in there and beat those leaves up. It's a great stress reliever if you want to think of it that way, and terribly satisfying to squeeze and rub the leaves, watching as they start to soften and turn a darker shade of green as you go.

Scroll down for variations and additions to build on this simple salad.

"I love raw kale, but honestly, my jaw gets awfully tired from all that chewing! Not any more! Massaging the kale for just a short time really tenderizes it and makes it easy to chew. Expect the bunch of kale to shrink considerably once massaged." —Diana Andrews

Kale Salad (with Variations)/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 small shallot, or garlic clove, minced

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon honey

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 bunch Tuscan, black, or Dino kale

  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan, more to taste, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make a kale salad

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Combine the shallot, vinegar, and honey in a large salad bowl. Whisk in the oil, salt, and pepper.

    A bowl of salad dressing made from shallot, vinegar, honey, oil, salt, and pepper

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Meanwhile, slice or tear the kale leaves from the stems. Discard stems or save for stock.

    Pieces of kale with the stems removed

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Stack the leaves on top of each other. Slice in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/4-inch thick ribbons.

    Thinly sliced ribbons of kale on a cutting board

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  5. Add the kale to the bowl. Massage the kale into the dressing with your fingers until the kale begins to soften, turn dark green, and reduce in size, 1 to 10 minutes or longer (the heartier the green, the more massaging necessary).

    Hands massaging the dressing into the kale

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  6. Add the parmesan, if using. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.

    kale salad topped with parmesan cheese

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations

Try other varieties of hearty greens in place of kale such as collard, mustard, and beet greens.

This is clearly a very simple creation, just dressed kale leaves. If you want a bit more going on, try these suggestions.

Add the following to the dressing before adding and massaging the kale:

  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes in place of black pepper for a spicy kick
  • Half a red onion sliced into thin slivers. Let the onion sit in the dressing for about 15 minutes
  • Mash 1 anchovy filet into the dressing for a deep, umami edge
  • Mince 2 dates into the dressing in place of the honey for an earthy sweet version
  • Add 2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard for tangy flavor and to help the dressing emulsify
  • Finely chop some preserved lemon and add it to the dressing, or use lemon juice in place of red wine vinegar, if you like, for a lemony take

After massaging the kale with the dressing, toss with any of the following:

  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (kale goes great with blue cheese!)
  • Cubed, roasted butternut squash or persimmon for some bright orange contrast
  • Sprinkle on dried cranberries or blueberries for a sweet-tart edge
  • Thinly sliced apple or pear adds sweet crunch
  • Add a handful of toasted chopped nuts—walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, and pecans are particularly good choices

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