Confession: I used to hate eating raw kale.
In fact, raw kale was the bane of my existence!
The only way I could bring myself to eat raw kale was if I put it in a Green Monster, and even then it was always quite bitter. Or I would bake kale chips and cook them so long that you couldn’t even tell it was kale.
But then I learned a couple secrets to preparing raw kale and I never looked back. And it’s a good thing because I have 20 kale plants growing in the garden right now!
My 3 tips for preparing raw kale:
1. Remove the stems when you plan on eating it raw (and some people remove the stems for cooking too-it’s personal preference). The stems are the bitter part of the plant. I used to always use the stems and wonder why my kale salads tasted ridiculously bitter. Now I just use the leaves and it always turns out wonderful to the palate.
2. Massage the dressing into the leaves and let it ‘marinate’ for at least 10-15 minutes. A kale salad tastes best when the dressing has had a chance to soak into the leaves. This also helps soften the leaves which is especially important if you are using the curly variety. You don’t want it scratching your throat!
3. If you really don’t like curly kale, try Dinosaur (Lacinato) kale as it is less bitter.
When I started using these simple tricks, my kale salads went from bitter and hard to swallow to mind-blowing delicious!
Kale is said to be a ‘beauty’ vegetable because it improves skin tone, complexion, and gives you a great glow.
It’s also just as beautiful for your insides too!
Kale is rich in:
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- and more!
My goal for last night’s salad was to create a ‘weekend glow’ kale salad. I always love to feel my best on the weekend, but sometimes too much alcohol and desserts don’t always leave me feeling great come Sunday evening. This kale salad brings a nice balance to the weekend and gives an extra kick to your step!
To make this salad, I gathered some superfoods:
- Cucumber (great for skin!)
- Grape tomatoes
- Red onion
- Raisins & goji berries (antioxidants)
- Walnuts (Rich in omega 3 fatty acids)
- Hemp Seeds (high in protein)
- Carrot (great for eyes and skin)
- Red Pepper
Next, I made the dressing using my favourite tahini-lemon dressing from my Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl. This dressing is addicting! It has such a nice kick to it.
Then, I used about half of a large head of kale, tore the leaves off, rinsed, and dried it in my salad spinner.
Finally, I mixed everything together in a large bowl and let the dressing ‘marinate’ for about 15 minutes in the fridge. It tastes great as soon as you mix it, but it will taste even better after sitting!! Just before serving, I sprinkled on the rest of the hemp seeds and walnuts. The seeds and nuts are really key to this salad because they add protein and healthy fats, along with a great crunchy texture.
I was a bit shocked because this was the best salad I think I’ve ever made, kale or otherwise. Even more shockingly, Eric inhaled this salad! When you can get a man to enjoy a kale salad, you know that you have hit the jackpot.
Weekend Glow Kale Salad
Yield: 4 servings
- 1/2 large head of kale (about 4-6 cups)
- 1 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- 1/2-3/4 cup chopped carrot (2 small carrots)
- 1 English cucumber (2 cups chopped halves)
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1 & 1/4 cup chopped grape tomatoes (or other variety)
- 1/2 cup mixed raisins and Goji berries
- 1/4 cup hemp seed
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- Dressing: 1 batch of Lightened Up tahini-Lemon Dressing (<—click for recipe)
- Your desired fresh or dried herbs
1. Chop vegetables and mix in a large mixing bowl. Reserve hemp seed and walnuts for sprinkling on top.
2. Make your Lightened Up tahini-Lemon Dressing in a food processor and process until smooth.
3. Tear the leaves off of the kale and rip into bite-sized pieces. Wash and dry kale leaves.
4. Mix the vegetables, kale leaves, and full batch of dressing (3/4-1 cup) in large bowl until thoroughly combined.
5. Place in fridge to ‘marinate’ for 10-15 minutes. Serves 4. Keeps in fridge in a sealed container for 1 day.
I picked up some Goji Berries at Bulk Barn for some extra superfood power. Goji berries are very high in Vitamin C and antioxidants. I forgot how much I LOVE Goji berries! They are like an earthier and less sweet raisin. At first I wasn’t a big fan of them, but once I got used to the taste I fell in love with them.
Eric said if you covered them in sugar they would taste just like sour patch kids!
I encourage you to try out this salad if you are a kale skeptic. It completely changed how I think about eating raw kale.
Here’s to a glowing weekend.
So I have already made this salad twice. Once for dinner on Friday for my husband and I and once yesterday for a family get together. My non veg family members raved about it! I love when I make a vegan recipe and even the most serious omnivores enjoy it! Thanks! I’m having leftovers for lunch today!
i LOVE kale salads! this one looks so good, and it’s definitely a glowing recommendation when you say it’s the best salad you’ve ever made! i’ve never dressed kale with anything besides lemon juice, olive oil, avocado, and himilayan pink salt. i love tahini based salad dressings, though. i will definitely be trying this!
My daughter made this recipe (she reads your blog, too) yesterday afternoon and brought me some last night. I’m eating it for my lunch as I type this. It’s so good! Love all the flavors and the CRUNCH!
i printed this recipe on friday KNOWING i would make it soon! i had it for lunch today and i am SO happy! what a great idea and now i plan to eat kale with all salads! thanks for the tips!
I just recently started liking raw kale for the first time too (other than in smoothies)! It wasn’t until I made something with it myself, determined to make myself like it, until I caught on. The key really is to massage the dressing well. I featured a blood orange kale salad a month or so ago, and the sweetness of the oranges really helped too.
Looks ammmaaaazing…I love the idea of quinoa with salad…funny, I hadn`t thought of it before. Doing this next time I have salad…
Yum! Looks like such a fresh, healthy, and delicious recipe. I’m bookmarking it :)
Was at our farmers market this afternoon, saw the fresh organic kale… .wondered what to do with it (other than juicing), and then thought of your recent blog. I was the same about raw kale, couldn’t handle it, until tonight! Followed your suggestions, modified the ingredients a bit, as well as the dressing… and… husband said he would not be having any… until he took a taste, and LOVED it! We will now be regular kale salad eaters, thanks to you! Love all your entries, they inspire me to put more healthy and happiness in my day. Thanks!
Wow that’s amazing!!! :) I too was thrilled when Eric scarfed it down. When I told him it was kale he was so worried but he was surprised :)
Finally catching up on all your amazing posts, from when we were camping. I would like this RIGHT now please!!
Trying to embrace a healthier lifestyle, our first introduction to raw Kale was bitter and something we decided we wouldn’t visit again. We didn’t love it in smoothies either so basically wrote it off as something we wouldn’t incorporate into our diet.
However this post intrigued me and the salad looked delicious; so (taking you at your word that it wouldn’t be bitter) I bought more Kale and made this salad for dinner tonight.
This was very, very good and my sweetheart loved it saying I could feed him Kale any time :-)
Thank you for sharing the salad recipe and tips!!
I made this recipe on the weekend and my kids (age 6, 11 and 14) loved it! These girls are incredibly picky and suspicious about vegetables in general, and especially about anything green and leafy. But they inhaled this raw kale salad! It was crazy. The dressing is just delicious. :)
Angela, I made the salad yesterday and it was delicious! I was vegetable deprived and it hit the spot. I didn’t have the goji berries or raisins, but I subbed dried cranberries and it was still yummy. It was also surprisingly filling which I LOVED! Thanks for another great recipe.
I am happily munching this salad right now, which means I both survived and enjoyed my first foray into raw kale ;-) My modifications were to use your Comfort Food tahini dressing instead (the one with the diced tomatoes) because i LOVE it, and to use craisins and slivered almonds instead of goji berries (don’t have any) and walnuts (don’t much like them). I have to agree with you that the fruit and nuts were essential, the sweet&crunch really made this salad something special.
Also, I discovered that raw kale tastes a lot like raw broccoli, at least to my palate. This excites me because I love cold broccoli salad, the type you get at southern restaurants, and now I want to try adapting them into kale salads. I recently had a broccoli salad with honey mustard dressing and golden raisins and it was AWESOME, I can’t wait to experiment…
I made the Kale Salad—added red peppers and did not add avocado. It is a great salad and i have heated it up and eaten it as a hot vegetable w/ dinner—good stuff!!
I realize this is coming in a while after you wrote this post but I wanted to comment on the kale salad. I’m not trying to be rude but have you tried making your ‘lemon-tahini’ dressing exactly as you have it written? I made it and it was inedible. I realized in retrospect that having a recipe where more than 1/2 of volume is lemon juice is probably why. And the salt is too much as well. I had to throw this salad out. I think you may want to double check your recipe as it is written. It sounds good in theory but it just didn’t deliver for me. sorry.
I made this salad this morning! It is amazing. I doubled the recipe because I thought just half a head of kale wasn’t enough! I doubled the dressing recipe, so I added 1/ 2cup of nutritional yeast which may have been too much! It tasted a bit yucky by itself, but when mixed in with the rest of the salad it is amazing. I am car free so to get to the co-op or an organic grocery store it is about a 30 minute bike ride so I had to omit the goji berries and hemp seeds. I subbed flax seed and dried blueberries, as that is what I had on hand.
Thank you for this recipe!
Made this and it was even better than expected! It was also my first time preparing raw kale, so thanks for helping me skip the bitter experience! My dad kept asking me how caloric it was because he was convinced it was too good to be healthy!
Made your kale salad yesterday and it was so amazing! Love your blog can’t wait to try another recipe tonight.
Thank you so much!!!
I just made this receipe and it’s delicious. I’ve never eaten a Kale salad before and I was looking for a receipe on Pinterest. I didn’t make the salad dressing only because I was lazy. I used lime juice from a whole lime and 1 tbsp of Olive oil and some garlic salt. Still it was amazing.
I came across this kale recipe on chatelaine.com and had to stop by to tell you that this has got to be the most delicious salad I’ve ever eaten. My husband ate it up with glee and so did my food-fussy toddler. It’s a delight to find your other recipes on your site. I can’t wait for your book to come out. Thank you.
Im so glad to hear that, thanks for letting me know!
You’ve taken my usual ho-hum lunch time salads and revved them up to new heights. I’ve always loved my salads but after this, after making the lightened up tahini dressing, I think I may be IN love with salads!!! I’ve seen tahini all over the place in recipes but never bought it, so I finally caved today because I wanted to make your dressing. I am SO glad that I did, my life is changed, my salads will never be dressed in just boring old balsamic ever again! I’m kicking myself for not jumping on the tahini train sooner.
I added red cabbage to mine, and forgot the walnuts, but it was just divine. I might have another salad for dinner, the detox salad and protein goddess bowl are calling my name. LOVE your blog! I even got a friend of mine hooked, she’s been making a ton of your recipes and loving them. :)
I tried this salad this weekend and it was AMAZING! I am detoxing after an indulgent weekend and this is the perfect recipe to cure what ails me. THANK YOU for always providing unique and tasty vegan recipes, I can’t save enough how much I appreciate it.
Thank you Diane, that makes me smile!
This salad is now the best salad I’ve ever made as well! And my man also loved it. Thanks for the recipe!
I absolutely love, love KALE…..I found in my local produce the Baby Kale in the plastic dome container and it is wonderful……it’s my new favorite power food!
I recently starting looking at your blog after a friend suggested it. I found out not to many days after that we are expecting our third child. We have been eating whole foods for the last 7 months(I have lost about 40lbs) and have benefited greatly from it but I was getting really tired of our repetitive menu. Your blog has rejuvenated my healthy eating spirit-I love to cook for my family but I need to sometimes pull motivation from hard places.
With our third and final child on the the way I really want a energetic, healthy pregnancy and to give my baby healthy food while satisfying my taste buds at the same time….I think your blog is going to help out greatly in this area.
This salad was the first I have made from your recipes and I LOVE it. I am very excited to try some other recipes especially the baking…I love to bake and finding healthy alternatives is the so wonderful.
Thank you so much-you are very inspiring!
Sorry for the delayed reply! Thank you so much for your kind words…that means so much to me! I hope you enjoy many recipes to come.
This looks delicious! I can’t get enough kale these days. I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog, so many delicious recipes!
absolutely the best salad i’ve ever had in my life!
That’s awesome, thanks for letting me know!
Delicious! Thank you for your article and recipes, I have a new favorite salad now. I didn’t have all the goodies, so made some substitutions and just cleaned my bowl, looking forward to having more for dinner.
Substitutions I made:
parsley = cucumber
radishes = red pepper
coconut flakes = raisins & berries
green onion & cabbage = red onion
I’ll be making this a ton. : )
Great subs! Thanks for letting me know :)
Angela this salad rocks!!!!! I had made kale salads before but it was kinda bitter & Dino Kale is the way to go for sure. I made a few changes used Parmesan instead of yeast & put a lil cilantro in the dressing as well with a few sprinkles of red chilli. Next time I putting some sliced dates in there as well since the sweet raisins tasted soo good!
I suggest you throw in a handful of blueberries in the salad. Not only in salads, I’ve been adding them to almost dinner I eat even Chinesse, and pasta. It is delicious and like you with raw kale, I don’t like the taste of I don’t of plain blueberries! Only in almost anything then I can’t enough! Thanks for the ideas for kale, which I never had before and the tip of removing the stems. JoAnne
Angela: Thanks for the best raw kale recipe ever! Is anyone else completely in love with the salad & devastated that it only lasts a day? haha If so, this is how I trick it into lasting longer. I put the raisins (still don’t have the gogi berries yet. ;) ) in with the walnut & hemp seed topping. (I personally don’t mind the raisins not plumping up, so that works fine for me!) I use Florida avocados because they seem supernatural in that they don’t brown & hold a beautiful shape without getting mushy. (planning to research the nutrition, though, in case they’re too good to be true!) I reserve the marinade then prep it 15 minutes before I eat. Presto! The beautiful salad I love keeps lots of days longer, and this makes me happy! =)
I just make this salad for the first time and I have to say it great. Added a few things like Radishes,Broccoli Cole Slaw mix for Veggie and Creamy Ranch with Bacon dressing. no Raisins or goji berries, Walnuts ,Hemp Seeds . I never believed Kale Greens could be good an less they were cooked. Will be sharing this with every body. Thanks you very much.
I came across your site a few weeks ago, and I’ve been hooked ever since. This salad…oh my goodness. I never thought I’d be able to stomach raw kale…but my husband and I are obsessed! We have been eating this 3+ times a week (we can’t get enough) and I think it singlehandedly has helped me to get back on track with more healthful choices, by reminding me how great whole foods make me feel. In the past few weeks I’ve cut out most of the junk I’d been in the habit of eating, and I feel SO much happier. As someone who has been really struggling lately to feel good in my body, I can’t thank you enough!
Hi Jane, I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for reading.
Holy cow this salad is amazing – eating it right now and completely addicted to your website.
Great recipe!! Thank you! Next time I’m going to use alittle less lemon in the dressing, though I used 1 1/2 it was still alittle too much. Also used cranberries instead of raisins.
Angela, I just want to send you my thanks, all the way from the Netherlands!
Though I couldn’t survive on a vegan diet (love me my cheeses and meats!) I really like a lot of the recipes you’ve shared.
“Avocado/lemon pasta sause” and “Get your Glow back stirr fry” are my tried and tested favorites. I also love the “Back on track Green Monster” (No Banana’s yeah!)
Usually in the Netherlands we eat Kale through mashed potatoes and with lots of gravy, bacon-bits, and a sausage. This new, healthy recipe has stolen my heart (and tastebuds…)
I’m now a 25 year old student, learning how to cook what I love. The Dutch kitchen is full of meats and potatoes and butter and bread and sugar and carbs and I am trying things a bit more healthy… your recipes are an inspiration!
Thank you, very much, for my ever improving health (and slimming waistline…)
Hey Eleonoor, Thanks for your kind words! I appreciate it :)
This is literally my new favourite salad – I am eating it for lunch as we speak :) I started reading your blog some time ago Angela and have now started delving into your archives for more recipe fun! Spicy tomato and kale soup for dinner tonight I think with the leftover kale :) I know you get this all the time but I am literally feeling the healthiest I ever have thanks to reading your blog. More salads in my diet, lots of lemon water, more running…thanks thanks thanks x
Hey Angela, I love your website! I was wondering if you knew how long you can let kale marinate before it gets soggy. I’ve never made a kale salad before but I know kale has so many benefits for the body. I wasn’t sure if I could leave the marinated kale overnight for the next day or if I should just let it marinate 10 minutes before eating it! Thanks!
Hi Kaitlin, I’m pretty sure it’s fine overnight if I remember correctly! Maybe there is some info online that you can confirm though. Good luck!
Just wanted to say that I just made this salad, and it is outstanding!!! Looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Please post more substantial and filling salad recipes, if you have them! I might make this again for dinner. :-)
This salad was amazing. I’ve made it three times so far and I love it. You were right. This kale salad is great for kale beginners. :) :) I’ve passed on the recipe to my friends.
I can’t wait to try this salad. Loving the blog!
Doing some random jumping around in your recipes today and landed on this one. I love, love, love kale – but had to learn to like it. I first put it in smoothies and then soup. Finally, I used it instead of lettuce on a “burger.” Next up – salad! One of the things I learned is that red curly kale is the best for flavor. It even smells like flowers if it’s fresh and not super cold from the fridge. I’ll use the lacinto kale if I have to, but I ignore plain green curly kale due to how bitter it was to me – and that was in a smoothie! lol
Thanks for all your wonderful recipes!
I have been experimenting cooking with kale quite a bit lately, and I must say I used to dislike it but now I am absolutely loving it! Thank you for your tips. I am enjoying getting to know your wonderful blog!
That salad looks AMAZING!! :P Definitely printing this recipe off! Yum! Have a great weekend!
I’m thinking of using this dressing for thanksgiving… do you think the kale salad and lemon tahini dressing would work well with other more fall like ingredients? i was thinking of sunflower seeds and golden raisins? any other veggie ideas?
oh! thank you for the confession! this feels so good to read! so nice to hear I am in such good company.
I am a closet Kale hater. (feels like a confession of shame *blush*)
I have tried for years, but my inner 5yr old wins out every time.
I buy it with good intentions. I nag myself as soon as I lay a hand on it in the grocery store, and keep it up constantly. Then I let it decompose in my fridge before finally passing it along to the racoon that forages in my compost heap. The guilt! The guilt! I know it is so good for me, but it is just so bitter.
I have bought some this week, and looked up on your site for some courage, and you came through!
thank you for being brave and speaking out loud our collective shame ;)
I will try the leaf vs stem idea tonight… thank you for giving me hope :)
*if this salad doesn’t work I am going to try the smoothy option*
My fingers are crossed that the recipe is a hit, Michele! :)
Angela, this is truly the best salad I’ve ever eaten. If this salad were a person, I’d propose. I’m only half-kidding. I loved it so much I felt a kind of mental shift in my eating patterns: if eating vegan is this good then I would happily move toward a healthier and more socially responsible plant-based diet. I suggested this to my husband yesterday, and initially he was resistant, then said he would support me if I started to introduce these changes at our family dinner table. Thanks for opening my mind to the possibilities through one simple but simply wonderful recipe.
Thanks for your wonderful comment, Dana! I’m so touched you found this recipe so delicious and inspiring. :)
Just dropped by to say that I have been making this salad for YEARS now and still can’t get enough of it. I make it at least twice a week! It’s so, so good. Upon reading the comments a few years back, I took another commenter’s advice and tried the salad with another recipe’s dressing… It’s so good. Like, drop dead good. If you’re new here and you’re on the fence, try it! You won’t regret it! Here’s the link to the other salad dressing if you’d like that, too. Thanks! ❤️❤️