Easy Kale Salad Recipe: Fall In Love With Kale All Over Again

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It’s no secret I love kale. I put it on pizza, turn it into pesto, and add it to just about every salad. Yes, it’s good for you – actually it’s like really, really good for you. But when it’s prepared correctly, it packs in so much flavor, it’s hard not to go back for seconds and thirds.

This easy kale salad recipe is one of my favorites and is so easy to make. It has all the necessary flavors and textures just as every good salad should. Pickled shallots, crunchy homemade breadcrumbs and almonds, and the most amazing tangy dressing. (Pro-tip: double the recipe for the dressing and keep in a mason jar in the fridge for dressing whenever you need it!)

How to Massage Kale

One of the biggest mistakes you can ever make when serving kale is not massaging it beforehand. Massaging kale helps to break down the tough cellular structure which makes it softer and much easier to eat.

Here’s a quick step x step guide on how to prepare your kale.

  1. Rip off the leaves from their stems. The stems are extremely tough. Massaging won’t even help soften this part of the leaf. (Pro-tip: Don’t discard the stems! Freeze them to make vegetable broth!)
  2. Roll your leaves into a small tube and cut into thin ribbons. Add to bowl or plate and massage with a small amount of olive oil for about 3-4 minutes.
easy kale salad recipe

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How to make homemade breadcrumbs

Usually you might find croutons in your salad, but they’re certainly not the only way to achieve that crunch you’re looking for in your salads. These homemade breadcrumbs are SO easy to make in your food processor and add the perfect texture to this dish. If you don’t yet own one, I can’t recommend one enough. Mine has made my life so much easier when it comes to shredding veggies for bolognese sauce, making hummus, and everything in between.

You can make the breadcrumbs with pretty much any bread you have left over in the house. But, here’s a good tip. If you scoop out the middle of your bagels, save the scooped out part and freeze it to blend into crumbs! I even do this with cinnamon raisin bagels and they make the perfect breadcrumbs!

PRO-TIP: If you scoop out the middle of your bagels, save the scooped out part and freeze to blend into crumbs!

Once you’ve pulsed the breadcrumbs to small bits, transfer them into a cast iron pan (one of my favorite kitchen necessities, btw) and toast!

Homemade Salad Dressing

Once you make this homemade salad dressing, it will be hard to go back to store bought. I like to make a ton of it at once, and then store in mason jars in the fridge to have at hand. It’s equal parts sweet and tangy and would be great on any salad or even as a marinade.

This kale salad recipe comes together extremely quick so it’s perfect for any night of the week or to bring to a summer bbq. I can’t wait for you to make it!

Once you do, please let me know what you think by posting a photo and tagging me on Instagram (KrispxKristin).

Easy Kale Salad Recipe

Easy Kale Salad Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 shallots 
  • 5 tbsp of rice vinegar 
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 8 tbsp of olive oil, divided 
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika, divided 
  • salt  and pepper for taste 
  • 1/2 cup of bread (see notes for bagel tip!)
  • 1/4 cup of almonds
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • a sprinkle of garlic powder
  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale 
  • parmesan cheese
  • mint leaves

Instructions

Make your dressing. Slice your shallots in thin rings and add to a small bowl with the rice vinegar and orange juice. Use a whisk to mix together. Let sit for for about 15 minutes. Then, add your honey, 5 tbsp olive oil, and 1/4 tsp of paprika. Salt and pepper for taste. Whisk together or place in mason jar and shake well.

In the meantime, make your breadcrumbs. Add your bread (or scooped out bagel) to your food processor along with the almonds, oregano, and 1/4 tsp of paprika. Sprinkle in a pinch of garlic powder. Add in 3 tbsp of olive oil. Pulse until bread turns into small crumbs. Heat up a cast iron pan over low/medium heat and toast breadcrumbs until they are browned - about 5 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside.

Build your salad. Roll up each leaf of kale and then thinly slice across the rolled up leaf to make small ribbons. Add kale to a plate and massage it to soften. Top with homemade dressing, sprinkle breadcrumb/almond mixture, and mix in mint and parmesan cheese.

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