This is a simple, easy kale salad recipe that is tangy, crunchy, and full of incredible lemon flavor. Easy to make-ahead and ready in less than 10 minutes!
This easy kale salad recipe with lemon dressing 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 goes perfectly with anything like chicken, shrimp, casseroles, or even pizza night. This recipe is something you can hand off to the kids to make while you tend to the other meal preparations.
Even people that claim they do not like kale, absolutely LOVE this easy kale salad! 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.
A dressing that is not really made for anyone that doesn’t like lemon. Check out my recipe variations below for my non-lemon lover option which I have tested on my beloved non-lemon lover husband. Haha!
Why is kale good for you?
Kale is considered a superfood since it can boost a range of health problems due to the abundance of nutrients it contains like:
- Vitamins B6, K, and C
- Plant-based protein
All of which help lower blood pressure, fight heart disease and aid in digestion. The list goes on! Plus kale is insanely delicious and easy to add to any meal.
How to use kale
Kale is extremely versatile and can bring a fresh and healthy element to so many types of dishes.
You could use kale in salad recipes (probably the most obvious choice), in patties like these quinoa and kale patties, as a topping on pizza, in buddha bowls, sauces like pesto or even to make crispy healthy kale chips, endless possibilities.
Check out this recipe for “How To Cook Kale” from Delish.com. It comes out perfect every time, and it’s super EASY! One of my faves!
How to prepare kale
One of the most important things to mention when it comes to prepping kale is that you must wash it first and then massage it. Which 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.
So how do you massage kale? It’s effortless. After you wash it place it into a bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil or lemon juice and a pinch of salt and 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!
How to make this Easy Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing
First, as I mentioned, make sure you wash and massage the kale. I like to slice it thin into strips so it’s easier to work with and eat. Then place it into a bowl with the rest of the salad ingredients.
Whip up the lemon dressing by putting all of the dressing ingredients into a mason jar and shake, shake, shake until it all emulsifies and becomes a sweet, creamy dressing. Pour the lemon dressing onto the salad, toss it all up and ENJOY!!!!
It is so incredibly tasty. The tangy lemon dressing brings this salad to a whole new level. I love that you can make this for your weekly meal-prep, store it in the fridge undressed, and then pull it out whenever you need it. Just pour on the dressing, toss, and wallah! Kale salad in minutes!
- You can use any kind of kale for this recipe – I used dark lacinato kale
- If you don’t have golden raisins, simply leave them out or sub in dried cranberries or pomegranate seeds.
- Dairy-free? Replace the parmesan cheese with vegan Parmesan, and you have a delicious vegan version of this Easy Kale Salad.
- Add some protein. You can add chickpeas, grilled chicken or even shrimp to this salad and it would be delicious!
- Not a fan of lemon? Swap the lemon zest and juice with the zest and juice of an orange.
What to serve with this Easy Kale Salad
For the salad
- 2 bunches of Lacinato or curly Kale washed and thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
- 1/2 cup chopped pistachios (or any nuts you have on hand)
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
For the Lemon Dressing
- Juice of 2 lemons (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Add the sliced kale to a medium size mixing bowl or salad bowl, drizzle on a little olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper and lightly massage it for 1 minute to help break it down a little.
- Add the 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, 1/2 cup golden raisins, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, and the zest of 1 lemon to the kale and lightly toss everything together.
- Make the dressing: Add the juice from the 2 lemons, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper to a mason jar with a lid and shake it well until it emulsifies. You can also add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk until it emulsifies.
- Pour the dressing on the kale salad and toss well.
- Serve cold and ENJOY!
- If you are making this ahead, store the salad and the dressing separately in the fridge in an airtight container and when you are ready to eat it, add your dressing to the mixture and enjoy!
- To make this a vegan salad sub the parmesan cheese with vegan parmesan.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 195 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 6mg Sodium: 139mg Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 8g Protein: 6g