Raw Lemon Garlic Marinated Kale Salad

Plate of kale salad and nuts on restaurant table
Lindsay Upson / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 5 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
63 Calories
5g Fat
5g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 63
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 110mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 50mg 252%
Calcium 55mg 4%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 192mg 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.)

This raw whole foods recipe for a marinated kale salad with lemon and garlic is a quick, easy, and truly delicious way to eat your greens. It is especially nice in the summertime when fresh young kale greens are readily available. Choose smaller and younger leaves of kale—it will yield a more tender dish.

Kale is super nutritious. It is particularly rich in vitamins K, A, and C, and it has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Kale is admittedly an acquired taste, particularly raw kale. It can be somewhat bitter and it may not for everyone, but even those who turn their noses up at kale like this recipe.


  • 1 bunch tender young kale

  • 1 lemon, juiced

  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped very fine

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Cut the kale into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

  3. Whisk together the lemon, garlic, and olive oil and gently toss the mixture with the kale. Add seasoning to taste. Make sure the kale is well coated. It should all appear shiny. 

  4. Let the kale marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight to tenderize.

  5. Enjoy.


  • Kale ribbons: Hold the kale firmly in one hand to cut it, then slice it crosswise into ribbons. The strips do not have to be perfect—in fact, the dish is more visually appealing when it is not.
  • Prep work in advance: You can cut the kale as much as a day ahead. Wrap it in paper towels or plastic and refrigerate. Just do not add the dressing until you are ready to marinate. 
  • Salt substitute: You can use Herbamare in place of sea salt. It is sea salt with organic herbs added.

Recipe Variations

  • Instead of kale: You can substitute young collards or bok choy for the kale in this recipe, but these veggies have their detractors, too. Collard greens will give the dish a mild, earthy taste, but some people strongly prefer cooked collards, not raw. Bok choy is ​a member of the cabbage family. It lends something of a grassy, nutty flavor.
  • Add crunch: Add sliced, toasted almonds for a variation. If you do not follow a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, you can also add some Parmesan cheese for a nice touch. For more crunch and texture, add the almonds and cheese after the kale has marinated, just before serving. 
  • Even crunchier: A vegan salad version of this recipe includes a tablespoon of agave nectar in the marinade.
  • Big salad: You can also add tomatoes, avocados, cabbage, or onions for a larger salad version of this dish. Add the other vegetables just before serving and toss well. 

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