I don’t know about you, but we tend to favor sweets around the holidays and winter months. There’s just something about cake or cookies that make a hot beverage like tea so much more cozy and inviting. So, I was craving vegetables and something that felt healthy to balance out our holiday indulgences. And this kale salad recipe is just what I needed.
It’s adapted from a recipe I picked up at Essencia Restaurant in Miami back when kale was a new trend (it still is, I think?). Anyway, I switched out the fruits and nuts from the original recipe to include what is in season at the moment. Feel free to do the same! The secret really is in the kale salad dressing.
TIPS FOR BUYING KALE
I’d encourage you to buy a bundled bunch of fresh kale rather than the pre-chopped bag. The pre-chopped kale is great for smoothies, but the smaller pieces include the stems which I think are a bit unpleasant to chew. (and a bit of a pain to cut and remove from each piece.
When you have whole kale leaves, you can easily remove the tough stems by folding the leaf in half and making one long cut. Then it’s easy to cut the leaves into smaller bite-sized pieces.
KALE SALAD INGREDIENTS
The majority of the kale salad ingredients listed here are for the salad dressing. For the mandarin oranges, you can use fresh mandarins that you peel, or canned, whatever is available to you. Also, feel free to try different fruits, such as diced apple or pear depending on what’s in season.
- mandarin oranges
- pomegranate seeds
- crushed walnuts
- plain greek yogurt
- olive oil
- apple cider vinegar
- whole grain mustard
- Salt and Pepper
KALE SALAD DRESSING
I think what makes this salad so great is the dressing. But fair warning, when you mix up the ingredients for the dressing, it’s going to look like A LOT. Just trust me, it is the right amount. Once you toss the dressing in with the kale and other ingredients, it won’t seem so heavy.
Plus, it’s mostly greek yogurt which is light in calories and heavy in protein, so you don’t have to worry about “too much dressing” on this salad. The yogurt based vinaigrette also helps tenderize the rigid kale leaves, so don’t be tempted to serve it on the side either.
To make the salad, toss the chopped kale leaves with the dressing, using your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves for couple of minutes. This helps tenderize the kale. Once the kale salad dressing is blended in, add your fruit and nuts and it’s ready to serve!
TIP: If you’re bringing this salad to a gathering, hold the fruit and nuts on the side and add them when ready to serve.
Enjoy! It makes a great summer salad with some added protein, or a colorful side dish for holiday gatherings (this recipe is for four servings, so make more if you have a lot of family of friends over). We like to have it as a quick weeknight meal with some grilled chicken on the side.
Kale Salad with Tangy Yogurt Dressing
- 6 - 8 oz Kale, cut into ribbons
- 3 small mandarin oranges (or 2 regular oranges)
- 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/2 cup crush walnuts
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp whole grain mustard
- 2 tbsp honey
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pull or cut the kale leaves from stems, roll leaves and slice thin to make ribbons.
- Add the greek yogurt, olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and honey to a large bowl and whisk together to make the dressing.
- Add the kale and toss until well coated with the dressing.
- Finish the salad by topping with the mandarin slices, pomegranate seeds, and walnuts. Gently mix together and serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 396Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 208mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 9gSugar: 22gProtein: 12g
Nutritional information provided is only an estimate.
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Originally published 2016. Updated 2022.