Raw Lemon Garlic Marinated Kale Salad

Marinated kale salad with lemon and garlic

The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Marinating Time: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
58 Calories
5g Fat
3g Carbs
1g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 58
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 111mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 3g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 41mg 205%
Calcium 51mg 4%
Iron 1mg 3%
Potassium 173mg 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 salad.

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 be for everyone, but even those who turn their noses up at kale like this recipe.

"A simple kale salad recipe to serve with just about anything. Great for a summer side dish for your BBQ table. I let the kale marinate overnight and all the flavors blended together very well. The result was perfectly tender, zingy and garlicy kale. Feel free to add nuts for extra crunch." —Tara Omidvar

Raw Lemon Garlic Marinated Kale Salad/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 bunch tender young kale

  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • Sea salt, to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make marinated kale salad

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  2. Remove the center rib from the kale. Cut the kale into 1/2-inch-wide crosswise ribbons.

    Pieces of kale on a cutting board with the center ribs removed

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon, garlic, and olive oil. Add the kale and gently toss to combine. Season to taste with salt. Make sure the kale is well coated.

    A bowl of kale tossed with the lemon garlic dressing, topped with salt

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

  4. Let the kale marinate refrigerated for at least 3 hours or up to overnight to tenderize before serving.

    A bowl of kale salad wrapped in plastic wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati


  • 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. Add the dressing when 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, but these veggies have their detractors, too. Collard greens will give the dish a mild, earthy flavor. Bok choy is ​a member of the cabbage family and lends something of a grassy, nutty flavor.
  • Add crunch: Add sliced, toasted almonds for a variation. If you do not follow a strict vegan diet, you can 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. 
  • A touch sweeter: A vegan 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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