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How to Make a Kale Salad You’ll Actually Crave

A little fruit will make this kale salad your new fave.

Are you starting to feel so over your go-to salad order? It’s easy to get bored with salad if you eat the same version over and over. But a raw kale salad sprinkled with fruits and nuts and a homemade vinaigrette may be just what you need to change your mind.

Like all vinaigrettes, this one is made with an emulsifier (the garlic and shallot), an acid (lemon juice and champagne vinegar), and olive oil. For even more flavor, Chef Jason Fullilove adds finely chopped basil and chives after whisking together the kale salad dressing. (Here are more tricks for making a homemade vinaigrette.)

For the base of this kale salad, try using baby kale. This variation is much softer and less bitter than full-sized kale leaves. If you do use curly-leaf or dinosaur kale (the most common types found in American grocery stores), try massaging the raw kale to soften it. This technique means exactly what it sounds like: Use your fingers to massage each of the kale leaves using a small drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt until they are softer and less stiff. Watch this video to see how to destem your kale.

For the fruit component, use what’s in season. Strawberry is a popular choice, but if it’s not in season, try pomegranate arils (during the fall and early winter seasons) or citrus segments (which are in season in winter and early spring). Use these tricks to deseed a pomegranate or segment a grapefruit.

A great kale salad also has variation in textures and colors. A perfect pairing with strawberries is cucumber slices and walnuts. Just about any nut or seed can go well in a salad, so consider what would complement your fruit. If you want to save a few dollars, try buying your nuts in bulk. Otherwise, consider using sunflower seeds or sliced almonds. These two toppings are quite a bit cheaper than walnuts, pecans, or pistachios.

Toss the kale salad with your herbed champagne vinaigrette. After plating, you could garnish with cheese if desired. To limit calories and fat, choose a strong-flavored cheese (the potent flavor means you’ll use less of it). Chef Fullilove garnishes his raw kale salad with shaved pecorino cheese, but other possibilities include Parmesan Reggiano, feta, or goat cheese. (Use this technique to make cutting goat cheese a breeze.) To keep it dairy free, you could add avocado slices instead. (This is how to properly cut an avocado.)

As you experiment with different toppings for a sweet kale salad, simply remember to include a variety of colors, textures, and flavors. This balance will keep your taste buds interested. You might even start craving raw kale salad on the reg.

Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 tbs chopped shallot
  • 2 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 dash of black pepper
  • 4 tbs (¼ cup) diced chives
  • 2 cups (5 oz) chopped kale
  • 1 oz of walnuts (handful)
  • 1 oz shaved hard parmesan
  • 1 clove of garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup of lemon juice
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 dash salt
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
  • 4 large whole strawberries, halved
  • 1 cup sliced cucumber


Vinaigrette dressing 1. Combine garlic, shallot, lemon juice and champagne (or white wine) vinegar 2. Whisk in olive oil 3. Add black pepper and salt, whisk. 4. Add chives, basil Greens 1. Add kale, strawberries, walnuts and cucumbers 2. Drizzle vinaigrette dressing 3. Garnish with pecorino, parmesan or hard cheese
Jason Fullilove

This video features Jason Fullilove. Jason Fullilove is the executive chef/owner of Barbara Jean in Los Angeles, a modern take on globally inspired soul food with a focus on nutrition.

Duration: 3:45. Last Updated On: Nov. 8, 2017, 6:14 p.m.
Reviewed by: Preeti Parikh, MD . Review date: March 18, 2017

Nutrition Information

Recipe Serves 2
Nutrition Information Based on a Single Serving
Amount Per Serving% Daily Value*
14% Complete
16% Complete
3% Complete
13% Complete
18% Complete
16% Complete
10% Complete
21% Complete
*Percent Daily Value are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Dietary Needs

Lower Cholesterol
Lower Cholesterol
Lower Sugar
Lower Sugar
Diabetes Diet
Diabetes Diet
Heart Healthy
Heart Healthy
Lower Sodium
Lower Sodium
Lower Carbohydrate
Lower Carbohydrate
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