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Sweet and Tangy, Crunchy and Chewy Kale Salad: Recipe and Types of Kale

Updated on January 31, 2019
Ramkitten2000 profile image

Deb thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and is a Search & Rescue volunteer and writer living in Flagstaff, AZ.

A Dish that's Nutritious, High in Calcium and beta-Carotene, and...

I could go on touting the various health and dietary benefits of this leafy green (and sometimes purple) form of cabbage, but what I really want to say is that it's yummy, especially when combined with the other ingredients in this recipe. This sweet and tangy salad is my favorite way to eat kale and often a main dish for me.

Kale is a super versatile food, which can be eaten fresh, baked or dehydrated, steamed or stir-fried, boiled, stewed, and so forth in breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert recipes. I've only just scratched the surface of what can be done with kale ... partly because I keep going back to this salad, which I'll show you how to make.

Image credits: I took all the photos on the page as I made my latest batch of this salad (which was promptly eaten).

Gather these Ingredients....

Kale, enough for 4 cups chopped

1/4 cup of sliced almonds

1/4 cup of dried cranberries

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon of maple syrup

Lemon juice

Salt and pepper

Types of Kale You Can Use....

Curly leaf kale
Curly leaf kale

Choose Your Variety

Buy it at the market or grow your own

This leafy green vegetable comes in several different forms, including the curly leafed variety pictured here -- which is the type I prefer for this salad -- as well as plain-leaved, a cross between curly and plain-leaved called "leaf and spear," a black kale (a/k/a cavolo nero or dinosaur kale) which is actually a very deep green, and a hearty variety called rape kale. The curly-leaved type is what I most commonly find in the grocery store.

About growing kale....

One of the heartiest and most disease-resistant vegetables there is, kale is one of those rare veggies that's pretty easy to grow here in the high desert where I live. Flagstaff has a relatively short growing season due to the cold night and early morning temperatures that often last into June and begin again by early September. The nice thing about kale, though, is that the seeds will germinate in soil that's anywhere from about 42 degrees Fahrenheit to as high as 95 degrees, and the plants do well in a variety of soil types, in partial shade or full sun. Rape kale is the only kind that doesn't do well being transplanted, so those seeds should go in the ground, raised bed, or container where they'll remain, spaced about a foot and a half apart.

Kale is a very pretty vegetable, so a lot of people use it purely for ornamental purposes. It looks really pretty mixed in with marigolds and other flowers, and there's no reason you can't harvest leaves for food throughout the season and still have the plants for their looks.

Video: Learn About Growing Kale - With expert grower Klaus Laitenberger

Klaus will show you how to grow this attractive, healthy and tasty vegetable from seed to germination and transplanting, to maintenance and harvest, which can and should be done successively throughout the season. He also goes into pest control and soil treatments.

Grow Your Own

Try seeds of different varieties to plant and eat throughout the year

You really can grow kale during most seasons in most areas, and it lends itself well to container planting if you don't have an outdoor garden or want to grow it on a patio. See the Easy Beginner's Guide to Growing Kale from for tips on growing this hardy veggie in all sorts of conditions.

Making my Favorite Kale Salad

Chopped kale for our salad
Chopped kale for our salad

Preparing the Kale for this Simple Salad

Wash and remove the stems from the kale. For this salad, I chop off the stem just past the lowest, smallest part of each leaf, removing those leafy bits by hand to throw them in the salad.

The stems are perfectly edible, but they can be rather tough when eaten raw. You can always munch on them like celery, juice the stalks, or use them when cooking kale. Some people prefer to remove the entire spine of each leaf completely, but I find the upper, thinner part fine in salad.

Now chop the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces. You can chop it even smaller than I have done here.

You'll need 4 cups.

The Rest of the Ingredients - And toasting the almonds

Kale salad ingredients
Kale salad ingredients

This is the minimum you should use for 4 cups of kale. I'm a little more generous with the almonds, cranberries, and maple syrup...

  • 1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted

  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries

  • 1/4 c. parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 c. olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic (or I use about a teaspoon of minced garlic, which I usually have a large jar of)

  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (I often use light "fake" syrup, I must admit)

  • Lemon juice (I often have the kind in a bottle, so I just guesstimate 2 lemons-worth)

  • Salt and pepper to taste (which for me is several shakes of each)

Toasting the almonds for the kale salad
Toasting the almonds for the kale salad

Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet in a single layer....

....and bake in a 350-degree F. oven for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep them from getting too dark. Remove them when they're golden-brown and set aside to cool.

Then, I just dump everything in with the kale and toss it up. But you can always mix the oil, syrup, lemon juice, and garlic first if you want to make sure it's well blended. Then add that mix and the almonds, cranberries, parmesan, salt & pepper to the kale and toss well.

Chill the salad for at least an hour, but you'll get the best results if you leave it in the fridge overnight.

Then eat, mange, bon apetit!

Then eat, mange, bon apetit!
Then eat, mange, bon apetit!

The Kale Salad Recipe

Kale salad recipe
Kale salad recipe
Cook time: 20 min
Ready in: 20 min
Yields: Up to 4 people as a side dish


  • 4 cups Chopped kale
  • 1/4 c. sliced toasted almonds
  • 1/4 c. dried cranberries
  • 1/4 c. pamesan
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 clove or 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • Juice of two 2 lemons
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Wash and remove stems from the kale, then chop into bite-size pieces
  2. Toast almonds: Spread a single layer of almond slices on an ungreased baking sheet; Heat oven to 350 degrees F. and bake almonds in the center of the oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep them from getting too dark.
  3. Let the almonds cool.
  4. Mix all the ingredients and let the salad "marinate" in the fridge for 1 hour (or more)
Cast your vote for Cranberry-Almond Sweet & Tangy Kale Salad

Want to Try Some Kale Chips?

They're easy to make yourself for a great gluten-free snack.

Try them with a yogurt dip like this one...

  • Combine 6 oz. plain yogurt with
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • and refrigerate for an hour

50 More Kale Recipes - A cookbook that's informative, creative, and funny too....

With recipes written like prose poems, this creative cookbook has been very well received, both for the quality of the recipes and information about kale but also for its humorous parody of the book Fifty Shads of Gray (which I haven't read). A few reviewers grumbled about the parody aspect, some vegans and vegetarians were disappointed that a number of the recipes do include meat and dairy, and a couple wanted just recipes and no babble (but didn't complain about the recipes), but by far most of the more than 100 reviewers really like this cookbook.

If I ever get past my fixation on this particular kale salad I've just made and a couple of other favorite dishes and move on to more kale creations, I'll pick up a copy of this book, myself.

The cookbook is available on Kindle, and in hardcover.

© 2013 Deb Kingsbury

Do You Like Kale? What's your favorite way to prepare it?

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I even got my partner to eat this, miracles will never cease :)

    • weakbond profile image

      Nnadi bonaventure Chima 

      8 years ago from Johanesburg

      Nice nutritious lens , thanks for sharing

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hope to try to use kale rather than lettuce for a change.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      @MarilynThompson: Love kale, and kale salad though I won't put cheese in it.

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      8 years ago from Colorado

      I'm growing my own organic kale this year for most of the reasons you mention here. I know I'm going to love your recipe. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Echo Phoenix 

      8 years ago

      This salad sounds Fab and right up my Health alley:) I love Craisins in my salads, sounds like an excellent flavor combination with the Kale & Almonds, YUM!! thanks for sharing & the tips on growing Kale.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Love kale! I'm going to try that salad

    • LauraHofman profile image

      Laura Hofman 

      8 years ago from Naperville, IL

      This recipes sounds delicious! I will try it soon. Thank you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I Love this salad.

    • Jogalog profile image


      8 years ago

      I always thought you had to cook kale so I'll definitely try it in a salad now. usually I put it in a stew with tomato, chorizo and beans.

    • Cynthia Haltom profile image

      Cynthia Haltom 

      8 years ago from Diamondhead

      I love most greens as long as they are prepared correctly.

    • kimbesa2 profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      We're having a bumper crop of kale soon. And your dressing with maple syrup sounds really good. Kale salad for everyone...thanks!

    • blessedmomto7 profile image


      8 years ago

      I like mine sauteed with a bit of olive oil and garlic. But I am going to try your recipe. I've got Kale in my fridge right now...

    • MarilynThompson profile image

      Marilyn Thompson 

      8 years ago from Washington State

      Love Kale! In salads, sauteed like spinach, chips, in sandwich, soup, . . . . .

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Love kale! It makes a great salad, but I also like to add it to soup. Kale stands up much better to cooking than spinach does.

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 

      8 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      Kale should be elevated to "superfood" status. Mix with some raw spinach and you have a great foundation for a salad.

    • Karli McClane profile image

      Karli McClane 

      8 years ago from USA

      I've only ever eaten kale cooked, never thought to make a salad out of it. Your recipe sounds delicious!

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      8 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Kale is so nutritious! I enjoy it baked into Kale Chips and seasoned with paprika and garlic powder. Your salad looks amazing.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 

      8 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      Kale is so nutritious! I enjoy it baked into Kale Chips and seasoned with paprika and garlic powder. Your salad looks amazing.

    • Elyn MacInnis profile image

      Elyn MacInnis 

      8 years ago from Shanghai, China

      I love baby kale, cooked with ginger. My daughter adds some vinegar. I like it plain. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I seldom use kale, but have some seeds ready to go into my garden. I really like the kale salad with craisins and almonds. I will have to try that.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I was so surprised to learn how many different kale types there are. Here in Croatia (and many parts of Europe) kale is usually in a compact head shape i.e. we call it kale but it's a savoy baggage. It's mostly made as a thick soup i.e. stew with some nice piece of smoked meet in it. Pretty much like kidney-beans, but that's not the proper way of getting the best out of its flavor. It's rarely used raw but I love vegetables and I'm a green smoothie newbie so I know the great value of this terrific plant. I'll have to snoop around our farmers markets here to see it I can get some of these leafy ones :)

    • lesliesinclair profile image


      8 years ago

      I like kale, but I am so accustomed now to putting it into my green smoothies that I seldom made it into a salad. Nice recipes though.

    • JenwithMisty profile image

      Jen withFlash 

      8 years ago

      They used to make a great kale salad at work but no one ate it except me and maybe another person or two so they stopped. It was so good and kind of similar to yours. Cranberries, walnuts, and a honey garlic sauce. Yummy!

    • InfoCoop profile image


      8 years ago

      Looks like an excellent recipe. It will be nice to introduce something besides romaine to my salads.

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      Vikk Simmons 

      8 years ago from Houston

      It's been a long time since I've had Kale. Might have to give it a try again. Thanks.

    • RitaAnne profile image


      8 years ago

      Making them as salad is great! I will definitely try your Cranberry-Almond Sweet & Tangy Kale Salad... Thanks for the recipe :)

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      8 years ago

      You had me at almonds and cranberries. :)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I don't think that I've ever eaten kale before but I would be happy to try it if someone put it in front of me :) Your salad looks delicious.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 

      8 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Looks great and delicious. I haven't seen Kale here in my country as a veggie, but it's in the pre-made salade packages.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      8 years ago from Canada

      I have not cooked up Kale yet but it is something my husband and I have thought about putting into the garden. We usually do swiss char which I have heard is somewhat similar.


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