Kale Salad with Cranberries & Almonds

Kale Salad with Cranberries & Almonds

When I stayed at the Grand Hyatt in New York City last winter, I had my first ever kale salad. It was AMAZING. So amazing, in fact, that I ordered it two more times during our trip. I love braised kale and kale chips, but I couldn’t imagine eating raw kale until I had that salad.

Since then, I’ve had kale salad several times at restaurants and enjoyed it, but I’ve been afraid to make my own because kale is so tough. I couldn’t imagine what sort of magic those chefs worked on their kale, but I figured there had to be some sort of trade secret.

Then I was chatting with Colleen, and she told me about massaging the kale.

Yes, I said massaging the kale.

The secret to a fabulous kale salad, evidently, is massaging the salad. That extra 2-minute step makes all the difference. Check out Colleen’s Instagram video demonstrating how to massage your kale and make it into a fantastic salad.

She added dried cranberries, shredded carrots, and slivered almonds to make those gorgeous concoction. Then she made a simple balsamic lemon vinaigrette. The best part is, you can let it sit for a while and it doesn’t get wilted and gross like ordinary lettuce salads. With kale salad, you can even enjoy the leftovers the next day.

Kale Salad with Cranberries & Almonds: The secret to making this gorgeous kale salad delicious is massaging the kale. See how in this post.

This easy to make kale salad isn’t just delicious; it also has great nutritional benefits. It’s loaded with Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Vitamin K and so much more. This is the perfect salad for summer lunch at the pool, the beach, your favorite picnic spot, or work.

Here’s a printable recipe for your convenience.

Kale Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Colleen Kennedy
Prep time:
Total time:
This easy to make kale salad isn’t just delicious; it also has great nutritional benefits. It’s loaded with Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Vitamin K and so much more. This is the perfect salad for summer lunch at the pool, the beach, your favorite picnic spot, or work.
  • 1 head of kale
  • 1 1/2 TBS grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • Salt & pepper
  • [b]Balsamic Lemon Vinaigrette[/b]
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (or honey)
  1. Wash and dry your kale. (Simply blot dry with paper towels, or use a salad spinner.)
  2. Slice the green leaves from the stems. Discard the stems, which are too tough to enjoy. Chop kale into bite-sized pieces/ribbons and place in a large bowl.
  3. Drizzle 1-1/2 TBS oil over the kale and massage the kale for 60-90 seconds. Season with a sprinkle of salt & pepper and set aside.
  4. In a lidded jar, combine the vinaigrette ingredients – vinegar, oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper & sugar. Shake vigorously until emulsified. Taste and adjust to your preference, if necessary. Set aside.
  5. Grab your bowl of massaged kale, add in the cranberries, carrots & almonds. Drizzle with vinaigrette and toss well.
This salad is just as delicious the next day if kept refrigerated in a sealed container. Kale holds up way better than lettuce once its is dressed.

Here are a few more delicious kale recipes for your enjoyment.

how to make kale chips

Kale Chips

Kale Mash: Easy Weeknight Dinner Recipe and healthy too! Trust me, your kids won't even TASTE the kale.

Kale Mash


Sausage Kale Soup

Join The Conversation

18 Responses

  1. This looks amazing! I never knew about massaging kale! I will definitely try this. Ina Garten has a delicious recipe that mixes kale and brussels sprouts. I actually think it’s more of a slaw.

  2. So that’s the secret to enjoying kale salad! I tried a recipe in the past few months and it said nothing about massaging the kale with oil and it was just so awful. Now, I’m going to try again using the yummy looking recipe you posted. Thanks!

  3. I’ve never heard of massaging kale before, and never thought about having it raw either. I’m going to try this for lunch one day this week – thanks for the recipe and tip!

  4. I just love this Kale and Cranberry Salad, it looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing this awesome recipe with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  5. This kale salad is definitely a keeper! The flavours are fabulous and it’s delicious! It was just as good with dinner as it was for lunch the next day. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Amazing!!! Thank you so much Jo-Lynne. The massaging the kale step is brilliant. I can know enjoy my favorite vegetable without having to steam it, and still enjoy all of its nutrients. This will definitely allow me to make healthier meals for myself and my family. The toughness of the kale was always the biggest drawback and obstacle from my daughters trying it. I can’t thank you enough!!! You have a new twitter follower.

  7. Thanks Jo-Lynne. Isn’t it just the craziest thing? You’d think it would bruise it and make it gross. I’ve heard about massaging it before. A friend of mine made a Kale salad this summer with “Dino” kale and it was de-licious. I’d never heard of that and finally found it this week at Whole Foods. ????????

  8. Made this and thought it was excellent.  Careful on the amount of oil depending on how much kale you use.

  9. I’ve been searching for a good Kale Salad and finally found it! Thanks for the tip on massaging the kale with olive oil. My family loves this salad!!

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