This Easy Kale Salad recipe is packed full of fresh, hearty kale, tangy, homemade lemon dressing, crunchy nuts and sweet, plump raisins. You can make it ahead and have it ready in less than 10 minutes! This is a quick and easy salad recipe you don’t want to miss!
This kale salad has become such a staple in our family. I make it for almost every family gathering (at the request of my family) as well as those times when we are in a dinner salad rut. It’s a close second to this crispy chickpea kale caesar salad that is also pretty popular.
Even people that claim they do not like kale, absolutely LOVE this salad recipe! It has that heartiness from the dark, leafy kale, crunchiness from the pistachios, sweetness from the raisins, and a beautiful pucker from the tangy, bold lemon dressing.
How to prepare kale for salad
One of the most important things to mention when it comes to prepping raw kale is that you must wash it first and then massage it. Kale can be gritty and full of little bits of dirt, especially curly kale, so it is important to rinse it first.
How to massage kale
Taking the time to massage your kale will help soften those rough leaves and make them easier to eat and digest.
- After you wash the kale place it into a salad bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil or lemon juice, and a pinch of salt.
- Use your fingers to massage it for a few minutes. It will turn beautiful and dark green and delicious right before your eyes. It’s magic! This is a great step for the kids to help out with.
This will get it sweet and tender, and make it easier to work with and digest. Massaging your kale helps to break down the fibers, and it gets so dark and merely gorgeous in my opinion.
Easy Kale Salad Recipe Ingredients
How to make the best kale salad with lemon dressing
- Make the dressing. Add all dressing ingredients to a bowl or mason jar and mix or shake well to emulsify.
- Wash and massage the kale. See my comments above on how to do this. It is very easy and so worth the effort.
- Chop the kale. Use a sharp kitchen or vegetable knife to chop the kale into thin strips. To do this just take a good bunch of the kale, roll it up like a cigar and run your knife through it. Then add it back to the salad bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients: Top the sliced kale with the rest of the salad ingredients: Golden raisins, pistachios or pumpkin seeds, parmesan and lemon zest.
- Dress and toss the salad. Pour the tangy lemon dressing onto the salad and toss well to season all of the ingredients in the incredible lemon dressing and serve.
Get full list of ingredients and recipe instructions in the recipe card below.
It is so unbelievably tasty. The tangy lemon dressing brings this salad to a whole new level.
This is literally the perfect make and prep easy kale salad ever! I love that you can use this as a super quick meal prep recipe and eat it any day of the week.
Easy Kale Salad Tips and Variations
- You want to make sure to wash the kale really well first since it can hold a lot of dirt and become gritty (nobody wants that). Then you want to either add the rinsed kale to a clean kitchen towel, close it up and shake it a little to remove excess moisture or use a salad spinner to do this. This will keep the greens nice and crisp
- Always massage kale for salads. This will allow the kale to break down and become softer, which makes it easier to eat and digest. See the section above on tips for how to massage kale.
- You can prep your kale ahead and have it ready to go for making salads all week long. Check out this post on how to store kale for more tips.
- Not a fan of lemon? Swap the lemon zest and juice with the zest and juice of an orange or switch up the dressing altogether and try this Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette instead.
- Make this kale salad recipe dairy free and just leave out the parmesan cheese or use vegan parmesan cheese.
- Mix up the nuts and use pecans, walnuts or pumpkin seeds.
Here are some of my favorite ways to serve this healthy salad.
- Serve it with some protein such as Turkey Burgers, Healthy Turkey Meatloaf, Turkey Chili, or this Veggie Chicken Pizza Bake.
- Enjoy it alongside some Chicken Pad Thai, Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, or Creamy Cauliflower Gnocchi.
- Pair it with a comforting soup such as Creamy Tomato Soup, Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Lentil Soup, or Creamy Asparagus Soup.
More Healthy and Delicious Salad Recipes to try:
If you are looking for more quick and healthy salad recipes, here are some of my favorites that I Make all the time!
- 10 Minute Italian Chopped Salad
- Kale Brussel Sprout Salad With Lemon Shallot Vinaigrette
- Autumn Chopped Kale Salad With Quinoa
- Roasted Beets and Butternut Squash Salad
- Simple Kale and Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
- Easy Salmon Salad
Did you make this recipe? If you did, then please leave a rating and comment below. You can also tag me on Instagram @pinchmegoodfood so I can see your creation.
Update: This recipe was updated with more recipe variations and photos, including an option for those that are too keen on the lemon flavor.