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

Updated on January 31, 2019
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Deb thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and is a Search and 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


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