12 Kale Salads that Prove Kale is Here to Stay

December  3, 2014

We see you; stop rolling your eyes. Kale salads?! So 2011. We know.

But then lunch comes around, and we know you're thinking: a kale salad would be pretty good right now. Or: hmm, I could really use a kale salad. Or: alright, fine; I really, actually, truly, with all of my heart, need a kale salad.

It's Winter 2014, and guess what? We're still eating kale salads. Every day. And you should, too -- because they're good. They're the rare type of salad that stands up well to being dressed ahead, yet are still dainty enough to eat in the raw. You can make them virtuous; you can put three kinds of cheese on them. So try one for lunch today, or as your antidote to holiday festivities. Kale might not be the new ramen burger, but guess what? You'll probably want some afterwards.

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Northern Spy's Kale Salad by Genius Recipes 

Genius Kale Salad from Food52


Kale, Cabbage, and Brussels Sprout Chopped Salad by Kenzi Wilbur


Caesar-Style Kale Salad with Roasted Onions and Ricotta Salata by cookinginvictoria


Kale and Anchovy Salad by Amanda Hesser

Kale Salad from Food52


Raw Kale Salad with Lentils and Sweet Apricot Vinaigrette by Gena Hamshaw

Kale Salad from Food52


Kale Salad with Apples and Hazelnuts by Amanda Hesser

Kale Salad from Food52


Roasted Grape and Butternut Squash Salad with Kale and Parmesan by Elizabeth Stark


Farro with Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale, and Pomegranate Seeds by Ann S 

Kale Salad from Food52 


Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Bacon, Meyer Lemon, and Tart Dried Cherries by Elizabeth Stark


Kale Tabbouleh by lisina

Kale Tabbouleh from Food52


Triple Surprise Kale Salad by QueenSashy


Hearty Kale Salad with Kabocha Squash, Pomegranate Seeds, and Toasted Hazelnuts by Gena Hamshaw

Kale Salad from Food52

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  • Ninette Challenger-Bird
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Brette Warshaw

Written by: Brette Warshaw

I'm a reader, eater, culinary thrill-seeker, and food nerd.


Ninette C. February 6, 2015
Thanks for having me as an admirer of your cooking and styles and taste.Both My Husband and I cook. I must say I am more of Caribbean Style Cook and he is an experimenter. Either way , we both love eating good food as much as we can . And I must add we love kale . grew some last year and will again . I will also try some of the recipes listed .
mizerychik December 7, 2014
Northern Spy's kale salad is still the best. It's simple and easy, but magnificent.
Jessica December 3, 2014
You said it, sista – because classic never goes out of style!! Your tone in this article had me laughing Looks yummy, I may have to venture deeper into the kale world. Intriguing insights from Lynne, too!
aargersi December 3, 2014
ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY KALE, or Kale to the Yeah!
lynne September 3, 2014
I bet a little crispy pancetta paired with a soft cheese and/or some peaches would be yummy too with (blanched!) kale.
Judith R. September 3, 2014
Okay. How come, except for the recipe with anchovies, none of these have ANY meat in them? Spanish chorizo or some good smoked ham, browned bacon lardons or even turkey, smoked or not, rock in combination with raw kale.
lynne June 20, 2014
Much as I like the taste and crunch of raw kale, it's not good for you when eaten raw. According to Oregon State U Micronutrient Info site: "Very high intakes of cruciferous vegetables…have been found to cause hypothyroidism... Two mechanisms have been identified to explain this effect. The hydrolysis of some glucosinolates found in cruciferous vegetables (e.g., progoitrin) may yield a compound known as goitrin, which has been found to interfere with thyroid hormone synthesis. The hydrolysis of another class of glucosinolates, known as indole glucosinolates, results in the release of thiocyanate ions, which can compete with iodine for uptake by the thyroid gland. " See also, Jeffrey Steingarten, The Man Who Ate Everything, Chapter "Salad: The Silent Killer" for an explanation of why raw veggies have toxins and raw fruits do not. Steingarten argues that vegetables have evolved a “complex system of chemical warfare” over time to stave off predators. Most of these defense mechanisms are thwarted with the simple act of cooking. He goes on to say:

"Generally speaking, there are four categories of chemical weaponry the salad deploys against its human predators: nutrition blockers, toxins, mutagens (which alter genetic material), and carcinogens (p. 178)."

Buy the book or check it out from your local library to read the full story. Steingarten makes a strong case against raw spinach - which was the IT veg when the book was written.

"Nutrition blockers are chemicals that bind with some desirable vitamin or mineral and prevent your intestines from absorbing it. My favorite is the oxalic acid in raw spinach, a vegetable exalted for its high content of calcium and iron. Oxalic acid, it seems, forms an insoluble complex with calcium and iron—not only the calcium and iron in the spinach itself but other sources of them as well—and renders uncooked spinach a non-nutritious green (p. 179)."

My solution to Kale salads is a quick steam in my pressure cooker (like 1-2 minutes), but blanching in hot water briefly may do the trick. I always blanch my cabbage for 1-2 minutes before making coleslaw too.

Just thought I'd weight in...
Sharon December 14, 2014
Thanks for the post. I couldn't agree more. I've been eating kale for many decades, long before the recent "kale fad" came into vogue. I really can't figure out why anyone would want to eat it raw. I've tried it and it just doesn't make sense. Like spinach, the nutrients in kale become concentrated and are assimilated far more efficiently when cooked. These facts were well established and made public way back in the 70s. Raw kale could also be very difficult for some people to digest. A quick blanch does help, but so does pouring boiling water over it in a colander. Squeeze the water out and chill the greens before using in a salad. Better yet, just cook them. There is simply no better way to enjoy these nutritious greens.
lynne December 14, 2014
Raw food diet fad has people thinking raw food is more nutritious. It's nuts. I do like kale chips, tossed wth olive oil and salt and baked til crisp, about 10 minutes.
Sharon December 14, 2014
Yes, kale chips are a delicious treat.
DenaTBray March 21, 2014
Truly, there can never be too much kale! Here's my recipe:
Tushar January 30, 2014
I love how you use Kale in this - we use it with Citrus fruits, Gorgonzola and Walnuts: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ey5usZmw5Y
Carrie November 4, 2013
This is one of my favorites and is now the most requested by friends for holidays and get togethers. http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale-and-brussels-sprout-salad
katie D. November 3, 2013
I cannot stop making this Kale salad: http://eat-drink-garden.com/2013/10/autumn-kale-salad-vegan/
I even added some julienned persimmons and it added phenomenal color and a lil sweet crunch.
Yazoolulu November 3, 2013
I love this kale salad: http://food52.com/recipes/1558-tuscan-kale-salad-with-currants-pecans-in-a-resonant-dressing. I have made it many times now and with so many variations (fresh pomegranate seeds instead of the raisons are our favorite). We have a raised bed devoted to lacitano kale, just to keep up with the demand for this salad! These others look good too, so I may have to expand our kale horizons.