My Go-To Kale Salad


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Lately, I’ve had a few requests to blog about some of my favourite quick and easy lunches. This made me laugh at first because many of my lunches involve standing over a stove sampling the recipes I’m testing that day and then inhaling the cold food that’s left on the plate after a long photo shoot. That’s just how many days go around here, but I’ve been making more of an effort to take time out for lunch and make sure I’m eating a balanced, less rushed meal.

This kale salad is something I’ve been enjoying for lunch over the past few weeks. When I get on a certain lunch kick, I’m basically happy eating it every day until I get tired of it and move on. I figured it was time to share my little lunchtime obsession with you today. The beauty of a kale salad is that the leaves don’t wilt (like romaine, for example), making it something you can prepare ahead of time and pack for lunch. Plus, the longer it sits, the softer the leaves get. Win-win. I love to serve it with fruit and/or crackers and hummus.

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Here is my no-brainer “recipe” for making a massaged kale salad.

1 tbsp oil (I love flax, hemp, or avocado oil for dressings) + 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice + 1 tsp pure maple syrup. Massage into the kale leaves. Let this “marinate” while you prep the vegetables.

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While the kale is “marinating”, I get busy chopping up a storm! Whatever veggies I have in the crisper go into my salads. Right now, I’m loving celery, pomegranate, radish, red onion, and avocado. I also love to sprinkle on hemp seeds for extra protein.


Throw it all together and you have one of my favourite kale salads, ready in minutes!

Sharing is optional (and highly discouraged…bahah)


My Go-To Kale Salad

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Yield: 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings


  • 4 cups (packed) torn kale leaves, stems removed
  • 1 tbsp hemp, flax, or avocado oil (or use extra virgin olive oil in a pinch)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • Herbamare (or sea salt) and cayenne pepper, to taste



  • 1 radish, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 large avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red onion, chopped
  • handful pomegranate seeds
  • 1-2 tbsp hemp seeds


1. Tear leaves off kale stems and discard stems. You can save the stems for juicing or blending if you wish. Break leaves into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry thoroughly.

2. Place kale in a large bowl and drizzle on the dressing ingredients (oil, lemon, maple syrup). With your hands, “massage” the dressing into the kale until all leaves are coated. Sprinkle on Herbamare (or sea salt) and a touch of cayenne pepper if desired.

3. While the salad marinates, chop the vegetables. Mix into kale and serve, topped with hemp seeds if you desire.

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{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Niki November 12, 2012

I still can’t get into raw kale, I only have it in smoothies. Does massaging it make a big texture difference?


2 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

Hi Niki, Yes I find it does. When the dressing has time to soak into the kale, it softens up quite a bit. I would try leaving the dressing to soak for at least 15 minutes before trying it. Another good kale salad recipe I love (that is great for non-kale fans) is this one: Goodluck!


3 Monica@Your Model Chef November 16, 2012

I’m with Niki. I have a really hard time just eating raw kale. The taste just gets to me. Maybe your recipe for dressing will help. :)


4 Amanda August 15, 2014

Hi, never used to be able to eat raw kale. I can now, sesame oil is one i find good.


5 Becky March 12, 2013

Now I love it any way it is served but I had the same problem when I first starting eating kale raw – I started chopping it small like you would for a chopped salad and it made such a difference.


6 Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) November 12, 2012

I love your toppings on this – radishes are one of my favorites! My dad and I can eat them like apples. Yum!


7 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table November 12, 2012

I love a marinated kale salad. Its especially good if you pack a lunch for work because you can make it the night before and it’s even better on day 2! My favorite addition to a lime marinade is liquid smoke.


8 amelia November 12, 2012

Mmmmm! I love love kale salads! They are SO versatile. If only everyone loved kale as much as I do. Lately I have been loving cranberries, toasted pecans, avocados, and balsamic vinaigrette among other fall toppings. Roasted acorn squash, eaten cold, is yummy too with a drizzle of maple syrup!


9 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

That sounds amazing. I’ll have to throw on some squash the next time I find myself with leftovers.


10 Shira November 12, 2012

Looks fresh and wonderful Angela! Marinated kale is so amazing and seems to be able to turn everyone onto it! I like to leave mine to marinate in the fridge overnight, a little bit of fore thought but it keeps all week that way (if it lasts which it never does!). Gorgeous colors in this salad!


11 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

I love the idea of making it the night before – I should make a big batch of it this week.


12 Shira November 12, 2012

Totally – that way never an excuse not to eat our greens! :)


13 Jaclyn November 12, 2012

HI Angela! I love kale and this salad looks great, though the purpose of my comment is to draw attention to your beautiful photos and tasteful place setting. I love the burlap – it reflects how down to earth and simple the dish is!


14 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

Aw thank you Jaclyn! It was an easy subject. ;)


15 Alex @ Raw Recovery November 12, 2012

This looks like a good breakfast food! (I say that because I haven’t had breakfast yet and this salad is making my mouth water–it looks so tasty and fresh!!)


16 Jessica November 12, 2012

Love the look of your kale salad! I mostly buy it to make kale chips, but I haven’t been brave enough to make it into a salad yet. A lot of the kale I buy is a little on the bitter side, so I was wondering where is the best place you pick up your kale? Superstore? Whole Foods? I’m just curious! :)


17 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

Hey Jessica, Without a doubt the best kale I’ve found is from Whole Foods. The bunch is huge too compared to the tiny bunches I’ve bought at other stores. It’s also in season now so it’s a good time to try it out in a salad!


18 Kerry Anita November 12, 2012

I love that you included pomegranate seeds in this salad. I like pomegranate seeds a lot, but always seem to have trouble finding dishes to add them to!


19 Matti November 12, 2012

This looks great! I will add this to my rotation for sure. Last night, I made a huge batch of your Fall Detox Salad for lunches this week. I am enjoying my first round of it now and it is amazing!


20 Erica @ Coffee & Quinoa November 12, 2012

Beautiful salad! And I also love how well kale salads keep – perfect for making ahead for weekday lunches. Thanks for sharing what you’ve been eating lately :)


21 Addy @ Six-Kick Switch November 12, 2012

Mmm, this looks delicious! We have been eating kale salads nonstop around here, and I am always looking for new recipes. The salads totally beat sauteed kale!


22 Susannah November 12, 2012

There is a vegan “fast food” restaurant chain in Los Angeles called Veggie Grill that makes the most amazing kale salad EVER. Whenever I am in town, I always make VG one of my stops.

And the CEO actually shared the recipe! (Scroll to the bottom of the page)

They have a “blackened tempeh” add-on that I always do — not featured in the recipe but it really adds flavor and protein.


23 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

looks yummy! Thanks for sharing.


24 Faith November 12, 2012

This salad looks delicious! Quick question- I noticed you used half an avocado. How do you save the other half? I find mine always go brown very quickly, no matter what tricks I’ve tried. I appreciate any insight you might have on how to save unused avocado! Thanks!!


25 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

I usually leave the pit in the avocado, rub flesh with a touch of lemon juice, and then wrap tightly with saran wrap. Still browns a bit, so I eat it by the next day and it’s fine


26 Nini November 12, 2012

This looks delicious, but does this wind up being enough protein for your lunch?


27 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2012

with the hemp seeds, avocado, and other veggies it winds up being pretty decent for protein actually. I usually pair it with hummus and crackers as well.


28 Ranelle November 12, 2012

Too funny… I’ve been thinking lately that I need new lunch ideas. I basically have everything on hand but the kale, so I’ll pick some up tonight. Thanks for such a beautiful looking salad!


29 Averie @ Averie Cooks November 12, 2012

The bright green leaves, the sunlight hitting them, the crunchy looking veggies – now if this doesn’t make someone want to dive into a big salad, nothing will. Beautiful images, Angela!


30 Cassandra @ TheScienceofFood November 12, 2012

I agree 100% these picture are really appetizing. My usual go to salad is spinach with whatever veggies, legumes, seeds, and nuts I have on hand but I’m seriously considering stopping off on the way home to pick up some kale instead.


31 Lia November 12, 2012

Yumm! I love the idea of putting pomegranate into the salad. I’m going to do this tomorrow in fact! I’ve been trying out breakfast salads, so I think this is a great one I’ll be eating :D


32 Mary November 12, 2012

I’ve always been a bit shy of raw kale – but I haven’t tried giving it a massage, either. I’m heading off to the farmer’s market in a bit and I think I’ll have to pick up a bunch of kale to try this. And also a pomegranate – that’s really speaking to me today!



33 Willow November 12, 2012

Haha, I’m with you… most of my lunches, and sometimes dinners, consist of gobbling up the cold scraps of whatever I’ve been working on all day. I love salads, though, especially really simple massaged kale like this. I never have radishes on hand, though… they make it look so fresh and inviting! Will have to give that a try next time. :)


34 Andrea @ Vegvacious November 12, 2012

I just LOVE marinated kale salads too! They’re a great way to use up veggies that are on the ‘edge’; that either use me or lose me state! I’ve been really loving the combo of dried cherries/avocado in my salads lately. I’m going to have to remember to throw in a handful of hemp seeds next time!!!


35 Lisa November 12, 2012

Love it. Kale was my favorite veg before people even knew what it was.


36 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

I wish I could say the same! haha. It took me a long time to love kale!


37 Karen November 12, 2012

Organic Girl brand has a baby kale/greens mix that I go to for salads.


38 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 12, 2012

This is SO gorgeous Ange! Your photos are looking absolutely beautiful these days. I love massaged kale salads as well, and wish I was at home for lunch more often so I could make them more ‘fresh’ (as opposed to making them the night before and packaging them up). Yours sounds delicious!


39 Stephanie November 12, 2012

Looks delicious! I’m going to try the “marinating”…nice.


40 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin November 12, 2012

I love massaged kale salads! I actually just did a demonstration for how to make one for one of my nutrition classes last week! :D


41 Anna November 12, 2012

This looks amazing! I still have a ton of kale from my CSA — I should make it into a raw salad. The Boyfriend doesn’t care for them typically, but I think massaging / marinating would probably make a difference — thanks for the tip!


42 Ashley November 12, 2012

I need this in my life! I’ve started to become sick of salads lately and need to branch out. I just bought cranberries so I can make your cranberry orange salad dressing. LOVED that last year. :)


43 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

That would be really good on this salad too I bet :) I know all about salad ruts…I was in one for a long time and didnt even want to look at salads. heh.


44 JeanieMK November 12, 2012

It’s like you’re psychic – I’ve had a huge bunch of kale in my fridge for most of the last week! This salad was perfect. I used honeycrisp apples instead of radishes (ie, what I had in the fridge), and it was delish. Thinking about adding chickpeas for protein and heft…


45 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

Yes chickpeas work too (I did that last week with some leftovers!), beans, lentils…etc would all work. Glad you enjoyed it!


46 Cynthia November 12, 2012

I’m very excited about this not having garlic & knowing it will still taste awesome. :D YAY! Just what I was looking for today!


47 Julia November 12, 2012

This salad looks delicious. I love POM seeds! Can’t wait to try it out.


48 Michee November 13, 2012

After having tried this I completely understand why it’s your “go-to” salad!!!
The photo of the salad is beautiful.


49 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

Glad you enjoyed it! :)


50 Running On Juice November 13, 2012

I am on Day 5 of a Juice Fast/Cleanse/Detox and looking for good meals to break the fast, looks like this could be it! Thank you!


51 Ann November 13, 2012

Thanks for this! This is what I love so much about your blog, simple ideas for healthy eating, that you actually do! I love going back to your older posts when you would just talk about what you ate that day. It really informs and inspires me, I can’t tell you how often I think, “what would Angela eat?”


52 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

You are so sweet Ann! Maybe I should bring back more of those posts once and a while.


53 Brooke Melikidse November 13, 2012

I just wanted to compliment you on having the most beautiful photography, recipes and website. I recently started a Julie/Julia project with Crazy Sexy Kitchen. I have quickly realized how hard photography is. You are amazing! Seriously you rock!


54 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

Hi Brooke, Thank you for the encouragement!!


55 Taylor November 13, 2012

Yum! I had planned to make your lemon tahini dressing for my kale salad last night and after seeing this post tried it out for a change. Definitely a winner. I love my lemon tahini dressing, but I eat it at least once a week so the switch up was welcome. I topped my kale off with chickpeas, red onion, avocado, peppers and cherry tomatoes.


56 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2012

Glad to hear you enjoyed it! The tahini lemon dressing will always be my fav I think…


57 Sharla November 13, 2012

i have never tried “massaged” kale, but this sounds delicious. I always buy too much kale and it wilts before I can use it all!


58 Vanessa November 13, 2012

Whew. I needed this recipe! So healthy!


59 Tami November 13, 2012

Just made the salad and it was AWESOME!!!! Thanks so much for the recipe :)


60 Anna @ The Guiltless Life November 13, 2012

I always appreciate good recipes for kale as I’m not a huge fan of it raw. I like it blended into smoothies and I love kale chips, and I’ve had awesome kale salads at vegan restaurants, but when I try and make it myself it just tastes bitter and too rough. I can’t wait to try this one!


61 Rachel November 13, 2012

Some of my favourite ingredients in all in one bowl. I love how there’s still local kale around too! I’ve been eating it like a rabbit but like this flavour combo. Will try!


62 Stefanie @ Thin Vegetarian November 13, 2012

I am not a fan of raw kale, or salads with lettuce for that reason…maybe I should give this a try.


63 Joanna @ Running Places November 13, 2012

I especially love the quick “dressing” recipe. I always find myself blanking on that lately. I will remember this!


64 kaity @ kaityscooking November 13, 2012

i love kale but never had it raw so i followed your recipe to a T just left out radishes bc i dont really like them but it was AMAZING! im addicted thank you!


65 Brooke Melikidse November 14, 2012

Again your photos are amazing!! What would you suggest as the top 3 things anyone could do to improve their photography? Books to read? Help:)


66 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 14, 2012

Thank you Brooke!

I’m assuming you mean food photography so here are some of my tips….1) turn off all indoor lighting (make photos yellow) and shoot by a window with diffused light, 2) colourful foods look the best so keep that in mind when making recipes, try to add a couple props to the photo to add interest, such as a serving utensil, mug of tea, fresh herbs…whatever you think enhances the food itself. have fun!


67 Brooke Melikidse November 14, 2012

No indoor lighting! Wow I had no idea. Thanks for all the great tips!


68 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 14, 2012

I know right? I never knew about it until I did some reading on it a while back. Turning off the indoor lights really takes the yellow out of photos. Natural lighting all the way!


69 Carole November 14, 2012

Made your kale salad tonight for dinner with some grilled steelhead trout. It was fabulous. Thank you!! Can’t wait to try more recipes!


70 Full Flavored Life November 14, 2012

I made this tonight! It was very fresh and delicious!


71 Cookie and Kate November 15, 2012

One can never have too many kale salad recipes and this looks like an absolute winner. Beautiful, Angela!


72 Miron Alexandru November 17, 2012

That avocado comes with a lot of good fats :)


73 Christiane November 24, 2012

Absolutely incredible salad! I just made it and it’s super healthy, tasty and fresh!
Thank you for sharing :)


74 Angela (Oh She Glows) November 25, 2012

I’m so glad you enjoyed it!


75 Radhika Sarohia November 26, 2012

This kale salad looks delicious
I think avocado tastes amazing and spectacular on salads

I’m lazy and make my kale salads exactly like I make my spinach salads, with tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, onions and then tons of vegan parmesan and vegan dressing from Whole Foods (vegan ranch or this other creamy vegan white one they have.)


76 cheale November 28, 2012

Love the salad’tude! Gorgeous array of colors … makes me crave it! Thank you for sharing!


77 Melissa May 29, 2013

I have a question. I have been trying to incorporate more greens into my diet. I know kale is by far one of the best vegetables to eat because its so nutritious and healthy. I tried a kale salad and found it incredibly bitter. I couldn’t finish the salad. Do you have any pointers on how to make kale edible for someone who can’t tolerate kale? I’ll definitely try your recipes though. I’m looking forward to it. I’m a huge an of your blog and your recipes. :)


78 Angela (Oh She Glows) May 29, 2013

hey Melissa, I used to think that about kale too and then it grew on me with time. That said, I recommend this kale salad for beginners:


79 Shannon June 16, 2013

Hi Angela,
I just linked to this recipe in my latest post on inspiring ways to incorporate greens. Thanks for making delectable meals that make it easy to stay on track!


80 Katherine July 4, 2013

This recipe is so yummy! I made some modifications though: Added a clove of minced garlic, fresh chopped parsley, thinly sliced carrots, lemon zest and white wine vinegar.


81 Bridgeen January 22, 2014

Sometimes for breakfast I steam kale ( not for long just abound two minutes) then I make a breakfast bowl with craisins, diced apples and hemp seeds ( or crushed almonds instead of hemp for a crunch) . It’s delicious


82 michelle March 7, 2014

I made this tonight with extra vegetables for a potluck dinner. So delicious!


83 Lynn December 28, 2015

Thank you for the massaged kale recipe! I made mine with mushrooms, oranges and pecans.


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