This kale citrus salad is delicious, flavorful, tangy, sweet, and so easy to make. Made with kale, citrus, almonds, onions, avocado, and jalapeno, it comes together in less than 15 minutes.
Editor's note: This recipe was originally published on February 18, 2019. Since then, it’s been freshened up with new commentary and made even more delicious.
If you're just starting to add more kale to your diet, you'll love how tasty this kale citrus salad is.
The citrus adds a delicious tanginess to it while the dried cranberry adds some sweetness. The thin slices of jalapeno add a little heat to the salad while the avocado adds the delicious creamy texture.
This salad is a winner in my books and one of my favorites.
Ingredients you'll need
You'll need the following ingredients to make this salad:
- Kale: Remove the ribs of the kale and thinly slice. You should have a big pile of shredded kale.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: The oil helps massage the kale.
- Avocado: Dice the avocado into small pieces.
- Jalapeno: Remove the seeds from the jalapeno and thinly slice. If you don't enjoy spicy ingredients, omit completely.
- Citrus fruit: This could be any citrus fruit of choice, including caracara orange or blood orange.
- Almonds: Roughly chop the almonds. You could also use slivered almonds.
- Red onion: Finely diced or thinly sliced.
- Dried cranberries: Substitute with fresh pomegranate arils, if needed.
- Balsamic vinaigrette
How to make a kale citrus salad
Once you have the ingredients, making the salad takes less than 15 minutes.
1. Prepare the dressing: Prepare the Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing by whisking the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
2. Massage the kale: In a large bowl, combine kale with olive oil. Using your hands, massage the kale for 2 minutes until the kale softens.
3. Add remaining ingredients: Add avocado, jalapeno, citrus, almonds, onions, and cranberries to the massaged kale. Toss with balsamic vinaigrette and serve immediately.
Why massage your kale?
Massaging makes the kale more flavorful, tender, and more enjoyable.
Tips for making ahead of time
If you want to make this kale citrus salad for later, here are some tips:
- Massage the kale without any oil: It still makes the kale tender and easy to
enjoybut will prevent it from getting soggy.
- Store the dressing separately: Add the dressing up to 15 minutes before you're going to enjoy the salad.
- Don't add the avocado until you're ready to enjoy it: If it's too much of a hassle, skip the avocado entirely.
Substitutions and variations
What I love about salads is how you can them based on what you have on hand. While I love to eat this salad as a light lunch, here are some ways to make it more filling and boost the nutrient-level:
- Chickpeas: Add a cup of cooked chickpeas to make this a more filling meal by adding protein.
- Quinoa: Add a cup of cooked grains. Quinoa is my favorite but you could try any other grain as well.
- Seeds: I love adding hemp seeds to this salad.
- Pistachios: If you're craving more fat, pistachios make a delicious addition.
- Pomegranate: Swap out the cranberries with fresh pomegranate seeds or use a mixture of both.
More easy salad recipes
- Italian Potato Salad
- Strawberry Arugula Salad
- Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
- Apple Spinach Salad
- Arugula Persimmon Salad
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
- 1 bunch kale, destemmed and roughly chopped
- 1 avocado, peeled and diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced
- 1 citrus fruit, i.e. caracara orange or blood orange, peeled and sliced
- ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup red onions, thinly sliced or finely diced
- ¼ cup pomegranate, or dried cranberries
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, for massaging the kale
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- pinch of garlic powder
- sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, massage the kale with olive oil and lemon juice until tender, for about a minute or two.
- Add the avocado, jalapeno, citrus fruit, almonds, onions, pomegranate (or cranberries). Drizzle with the vinaigrette and toss gently. Serve immediately.