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Kale salad with balsamic dressing recipe

Kale salad with balsamic dressing recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Salad
  • Green salad
  • Kale salad

This kale salad with bacon and sunflower seeds is topped with a homemade balsamic dressing to make a quick and easy meal.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 1 bunch fresh kale, stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 5 slices bacon
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 70g sunflower seeds

MethodPrep:20min ›Extra time:30min marinating › Ready in:50min

  1. Place kale in a resealable plastic food bag; add 1 teaspoon olive oil and salt. Mix thoroughly until leaves are coated. Seal bag and let sit for 30 minutes.
  2. Place bacon in a large pan and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon on kitchen roll; chop into small pieces.
  3. Whisk olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and garlic together in a bowl until dressing is evenly mixed.
  4. Transfer kale to a bowl; add dressing and toss to coat. Top salad with chopped bacon and sunflower seeds.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)

Reviews in English (1)

by Wuurimala

I’m giving this five stars for how easy it was. It is a good but tart salad. I halved the amount of sunflower seeds and added almonds and dried cranberries. We didn’t have any bacon so I omitted it. This might be why it was so tart.-26 Jan 2019

Kale Salad With Balsamic Dressing

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

Some things take convincing, even when they are terribly trendy. When my friend Peg first told me about a fabulous raw kale salad, I smiled politely all the while thinking, "Yeah, right, have fun with that."

I mean it's hard enough to get people to eat their greens, let alone to try something raw that they would normally only eat cooked.

But when my friend Katie brought this kale salad to a dinner party, it was the one dish, among a multitude of fabulous dishes, that I kept going back to. (Oh, I'll have seconds. Uhm, thirds. Okay I've stopped counting, this is good.)

This kale salad has now become a favorite at our house, and one of the most requested sides for holiday meals.

Summer Cookout Salad Recipes

Whether you’re hosting a small backyard barbecue or a big end-of-summer bash, these classic cookout salads are a must. From tried-and-true favorites like potato salad and coleslaw to seasonal sides like grilled corn salad and tomato panzanella — these are our best recipes.

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Old-Fashioned Macaroni Salad

This classic salad goes great with barbecue ribs. Elbow macaroni and ham are mixed with hard-boiled eggs, celery, relish and mayo for a creamy taste of summer.

Summer Squash and Tomato Salad

This light and refreshing salad will help you start your summer right &mdash with all your favorite veggies! It features juicy cherry tomatoes, tender zucchini and sweet yellow squash.

Strawberry, Cucumber and Melon Salad

Sweeten up your greens with chopped fruit and a tasty mustard vinaigrette.

Mesa Grill's Southwestern Potato Salad

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Grilled Corn Salad with Lime, Red Chili and Cotija

Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella

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Giada's Roman Summer Salad

Giada's Tri-Colore Orzo

Every backyard barbecue deserves a bowl of this dressed-up pasta salad.

Tyler's Texas Coleslaw

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Bobby's German Potato Salad

Cucumber, Melon and Farro Salad with Feta

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Creamy Cucumber Salad

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Tomato-Potato Salad with Olive Vinaigrette

You say tomato, we say potato! An olive-and-celery vinaigrette takes the veggies to the next level in this simple summer salad.

Super-Zesty Potato Salad

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Aaron's Classic Potato Salad

Asian Style Slaw

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Summer Wheat Berry Salad with Chimichurri Dressing

The zesty combination of parsley, cilantro and garlic livens up the earthy flavor of wheat berries, while the crisp cucumbers, sweet corn and juicy cherry tomatoes make the whole dish extra refreshing.

Garden Bean Salad

Cucumber Salad

Tomato and Grilled Corn Salad with Almond Vinaigrette

Showcase two seasonal favorites (tomatoes and corn) by dressing them with an almond vinaigrette and topping with crumbled goat cheese.

Peach Salad

Ripe summer peaches are made even better when topped with red onion, candied walnuts, fresh herbs and a honey-mustard vinaigrette.

Bobby's Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous Salad

Melissa's Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon-Scallion Vinaigrette

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Grilled Cabbage Caesar

Fire up the grill for a summery twist on the classic Caesar salad! The hearty cabbage holds up to the creamy Caesar dressing, while the charred bread croutons add some crunch. Serve topped with an extra sprinkle of shaved Parmesan and a generous grind of black pepper for a simple side salad or main dish.

Creamy Vegan Macaroni Salad

Whether you follow a plant-based diet or are just looking for a dairy-free alternative, this creamy macaroni salad is the perfect dish for your next summer BBQ or weeknight meal. We kept the same components of a typical creamy macaroni salad&ndashtender elbow pasta, crunchy celery, sweet bell pepper, a hint of mustard and splash of vinegar&ndashbut swapped in vegan mayonnaise and vegan sour cream. Everybody will go back for seconds.

Creamy Vegan Potato Salad

We took classic, creamy potato salad &mdash a summer-time favorite for picnics and BBQ&rsquos &mdash and transformed it to a vegan-friendly side dish. The splash of vinegar and addition of chopped cornichons add just the right amount of zip and crunch.

Balsamic kale salad

Another recipe that's super simple but also insanely delicious is this recipe from Show Me the Yummy. It utilizes a pretty classic set of flavors and showcases a very pleasing textural contrast.

Start by toasting chopped pecans in the oven until they're crispy, letting them cool while you prep the other ingredients. Next, make your vinaigrette with olive oil, honey, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Then, tear the kale — curly kale with the ribs removed works best here — into bite sized pieces, place into a bowl, then massage until tender. Add in some blackberries, feta, the pecans, and chopped red onion. Finally, pour in the dressing and toss until evenly coated.

Nutritious Kale Salad with Hazelnut-Balsamic Dressing

If you are interested in health (and particularly if you are dairy-free and/or vegan), then you really should know about kale. Whether you like it … well, that is a different story altogether. For years I’ve been trying to enjoy the “kale green smoothie” trend. Many friends swear by it, some saying, “maybe your using too much?” But, even with just one leaf, the bitter and what I call “yucky” flavor of kale shines through.

However, while not all of us will agree that kale should be liquefied, that doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty darn tasty in other forms. In fact, I do enjoy plain raw kale salad, when appropriately dressed with a yummy dressing of course!

So what makes kale so fabulous? Here is a quick lowdown on kale from the World’s Healthiest Foods:

Killer Kale Salad

Fry the bacon bits until slightly crisp. Drain on a paper towel.

Pour out most of the grease and add the butter to the skillet. Add the onions and cook them over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft. Remove them to a plate. Add the mushrooms, stir, then add the wine, and salt and pepper. Turn the heat to medium-high and cook the mushrooms for several minutes, until most of the wine has evaporated and the mushrooms are soft. Remove them from the heat and set them aside.

Add the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper to a mason jar and shake it to combine.

Remove the kale leaves from the stalks, then roll them up in batches and slice very thinly. Place the kale in a bowl. Add half the dressing and toss. Then add mushrooms, onions, and bacon and toss again. Finally, add the goat cheese and more dressing if needed, and toss. (Reserve extra dressing for another use.)

This is the kind of thing you make with your sister after Christmas is over and you look at each other after eating your nine hundredth cinnamon roll of the week and decide you&rsquove simply got to have something green and crunchy before you go berserk.

Or before you go ahead and eat your 901st cinnamon roll&mdashwhichever scenario fits.

First, slice up a few slices of bacon into bits&hellip

And fry it up until it&rsquos just beginning to crisp.

Remove it to a paper towel lined plate and set it aside.

Pour off most of the grease, then add a little bitta butter.

Oh no. Don&rsquot get me started. Betty Botta bought some butter. &ldquoBut,&rdquo she said, &ldquoThis butter&rsquos bitter! If I put it my batter, it will make my batter bitter&hellip&rdquo

As I said, don&rsquot get me started.

Turn the heat to medium-low, and when the butter melts, throw in some sliced red onion.

Cook &rsquoem low and slow, stirring occasionally, until they&rsquore nice and soft and slightly caramelized. This&rsquoll take about 10-15 minutes, so hold yer horses!

Remove the onions to a plate&hellip

Then throw in a bunch of sliced mushrooms! These will shrink quite a bit, so don&rsquot be afraid to totally go for it.

Then pour in some wine. White or red&mdashwhatever your preference, Maynard.

Sprinkle in salt and pepper&hellip

Then just cook the heck out of them over medium to medium-high heat&hellip

Until the mushrooms are nice and tender and the wine is mostly cooked off.

At that point, crank up the heat to high and let the mushrooms brown for 30-45 seconds before flipping them and letting them brown on the other side. Then remove the pan from the heat and set them aside. And whatever you do, don&rsquot eat any! Unless you&rsquore me and have no self control and eat a third of them before the salad&rsquos even ready.

And speaking of salad, let&rsquos make the dressing! Just a simple balsamic vinaigrette: 3 parts olive oil to 1 part balsamic&hellip

Then salt, pepper, and some dried thyme leaves. Put on the lid, shake it up, and that be it!

Now, for the green, just strip the kale off the stalks, roll up a few leaves at a time, and slice them very thin.

You&rsquoll end with a big, beautiful bowl of shaved kale! This is my favorite way to prep kale for salads, because the leaves are hearty and strong and don&rsquot wither easily when tossed in dressing.

The first thing I do is pour in a little dressing and toss the greens to coat them.

Next (this is getting really exciting!), throw in the mushrooms (or what&rsquos left of them after your little incident earlier)&hellip

Kale Salad

We firmly believe in the healing power of a plant-forward diet. After all, the foundation of Clean Cuisine is food in its most natural and nutrient-dense state, with a heavy emphasis on plant-based ingredients. Click here to read more about on what clean eating means to us.

However, we understand that getting in your greens, veggies, and fruit in each day can be a challenge. This is even more difficult with a busy schedule, and not enough time to spend in the kitchen. That’s why we love to eat so many salads! Salads are an easy way to pack in not only tons of greens and veggies all at once, but fruit, nuts, seeds, and other superfoods as well!

So while you are welcome to switch up any of the ingredients in this Kale Salad based on preference, here are the ingredients I chose to use…


As you probably have already guessed, the base of this salad is kale! Kale is incredibly nutrient dense, filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like quercetin, amongst much more!

If you’re not a fan of kale, you definitely should be! With so many different ways to incorporate it into your diet, you don’t have to love the flavor of plain steamed kale to enjoy this powerful veggie.

Mandarin Oranges

Besides mandarin oranges tasting like pure candy, they’re also filled with beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and much more! Perfect as a snack, or to top delicious salads like this one, mandarin oranges are just as healthy as they are delicious!

Looking for more recipes to incorporate mandarins? Try this Creamsicle Drink!


All blueberries are superfoods and full of delicious anti-inflammatory properties, but wild blueberries, pack a much bigger nutrition punch than your typical cultivated blueberry. They even taste better!

So if you have the choice between regular or wild blueberries, we recommend the later for extra nutrition!

Dried Cranberries

Cranberries are a small, tart fruit filled with antioxidants, anthocyanins (studied to be incredibly anti-inflammatory), and are great for gut health! Enjoy them fresh or dried for a diverse flavor and texture.

Hemp seeds

We could go on and on about hemp seeds for days! Hemp seeds are actually an incredibly nutrient-dense “superfruit” that look a little like itty bitty sunflower seeds. They are tiny and roundish with a mellow and slightly nutty flavor but, unlike nuts, they are soft in texture, making them perfect for topping salads, yogurt, smoothies, and much more!

Hemp seeds are an incredible plant based source of biologically available and easily digested protein. Hemp seeds also contain a healthy anti-inflammatory 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fat. In addition, hemp seeds contain an especially beneficial type of omega-6 fat called GLA (gamma linolenic acid). GLA is a direct building block of good anti-inflammatory hormones.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are very small seeds that become gelatinous when exposed to water, making them incredibly versatile! They are full of antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and much more!

Because they’re so diverse, they can easily be incorporated into a variety of recipes.


Almonds are a nutrient-dense tree nut full of vitamin e, magnesium, protein, tons of antioxidants, and much more! They function incredibly well as a grain-free flour, and make a great nut-butter as well! This tiny powerhouses are a great grab-and-go snack to keep you satiated all day long.

Now since we’ve explored all the ingredients of this Kale Salad, let’s get into the recipe!

Winter Harvest Salad with Maple Balsamic Dressing

Kale salad with roasted squash, pomegranate, and a maple balsamic dressing from Lexi's Clean Kitchen.

This beautiful Winter Harvest Salad is from Alexis Kornblum Davidson's new cookbook Lexi's Clean Kitchen: 150 Delicious Paleo-Friendly Recipes to Nourish Your Life. I love the combination of kale salad with winter squash, and pomegranate. Not to mention the easy maple Dijon dressing.

Lexi's Clean Kitchen---named for Lexi's blog---includes healthy versions of everything from breakfasts to main courses to drinks to desserts. I bookmarked the Classic Baked Chicken Nuggets, Pad Thai, and S'mores Pots de Creme to try first. This post includes affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure here.

There are so many creative recipes to choose from (look inside the book and see the table of contents here). And the recipes include allergy and special diet labels so you can see at a glance whether they are dairy-free, nut-free, vegan, and paleo-friendly.

This kale salad is perfect for fall and winter, and would be a great addition to any holiday meal. It's gluten-free, paleo, and vegan to please all of your guests!

Raw Vegan Kale and Orange Salad

Wake up your taste buds at lunch or dinnertime with this amazing kale salad recipe that's a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy, and just the right amount of saltiness. Citrus combines with kale, grated carrot, currants, and a lime-spiked dressing to create a light and bright salad that's perfect for the midweek blues.

Kitchen Tools used for this recipe: (Affiliate Links)

Please let know if you try this recipe. Be sure to comment and leave a review on the blog so I can see what you think. You can also like my Facebook Page, follow me on Pinterest, and catch me on Instagram.


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