This massaged kale salad is easy to make and topped with a creamy homemade tahini dressing. It's the perfect make-ahead salad to wow your guests or meal prep for the week.
I love making kale salad. But, the trick to getting the kale to actually taste good is to massage it in oil and top it with a delicious dressing.
This massaged kale salad is just that - a bed of massaged kale, topped with toasted pecans, chopped apple, fresh parsley, sliced onion and a homemade tahini dressing. It's a powerhouse salad that's full of flavor, crunch and a healthy side for any meal.
Healthy Kale Salad
Here's what you need to know about this simple kale salad recipe:
- paleo & whole30 approved
- easily made vegan (swap the honey for maple syrup)
- gluten free & grain free
- dairy free - the dressing is dairy free and this kale salad is made without cheese (although you may add some if you wish)
- easy to make and leftovers are great for a few days
- hearty and delicious
Kale Salad Ingredients
Here's what you need to make this paleo kale salad:
- kale (I used organic red curly kale, but any variety will work)
- olive oil
- fresh parsley
- pecans (my spicy honey glazed pecans are amazing on this kale salad)
- red onion
- green apple (or your favorite tart variety)
- dressing (I used a homemade lemon tahini dressing)
I used red curly kale for this recipe, however green curly kale, lacinato or dinosaur kale will work well too.
Kale Salad Dressing
Many different dressings will work for this kale salad. For instance, honey mustard, ranch, blue cheese or your favorite vinaigrette.
I chose to drizzle this salad in a homemade lemon tahini dressing. Here's what you need to make it:
- lemon juice
- honey (or maple syrup)
The dressing can be thick or thin, depending on how much water you add. The recipe makes a decent amount, so you'll have extra. But not to worry, this tahini dressing goes well with many different meals. Extra is not a bad thing!
What Can I Use Tahini Dressing On?
This lemon tahini dressing pairs perfectly with raw veggies, baked potatoes, salads, soups, spread on toast, drizzled on savory pancakes, dip for chicken tenders, spread on grilled hamburgers, etc.
How Do You Massage Kale?
Massaging kale is actually really easy!
First, prepare the kale by rinsing it in warm water and removing any dirt. Pat the kale dry, then remove the leaves from the stems. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large mixing bowl or salad bowl.
Drizzle olive oil over the kale. Then, use your hands to massage the kale. Meaning, rub, pinch and squeeze the kale for a few minutes. The kale will soften and should have a nice glean to it.
Paleo Salad Variations
There are many different topping options for this massaged kale salad. Here are some paleo friendly alternatives:
- Dried fruit - dried cranberries, raisins, chopped dates, dried apples
- Fresh fruit - sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches
- Veggies: shredded carrots or beets, cucumber, shaved brussels sprouts, radishes, tomatoes, cabbage
- Nuts/Seeds: slivered almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
More Healthy Salad RecipesPrint
This hearty kale salad is made with massaged curly kale and topped with a delicious homemade tahini dressing. Paleo, whole30 and easily made vegan.
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup pecans*
- ⅓ cup chopped green apple
- ¼ cup fresh parsley
- ¼ cup sliced red onion
- ¼ cup tahini
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp raw honey
- pinch of salt
- 3-5 Tbsp water
- Prepare kale by rinsing in warm water to remove any dirt. Pat the kale dry, then remove the leaves from the stem. Tear the kale leaves into bite-sized pieces and place them in a large mixing bowl or salad bowl.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the kale. Use your hands to massage the kale for a few minutes, or until the kale is tender.
- Top the massaged kale with pecans, apple, parsley and onion.
- Make the dressing by combining all dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl. Start with just 3 Tbsp of water and add more as needed to reach the desired consistency. Drizzle desired amount of dressing over the salad (you will have leftover dressing).
*I made my spicy honey glazed pecans, but raw or toasted pecans will work well too.
Keywords: kale salad, paleo kale salad, massaged kale salad, kale salad with tahini, lemon tahini dressing, tahini kale salad, organic kale salad, curly kale salad, kale and apple salad