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Juicy & Crunchy Kale Salad

This salad is the perfect balance of sweet and savoury because I added apples and medjol dates along with celery, carrots and red onion.
Oct 10, 2018 | Joy McCarthy

We eat salads on a daily basis because I literally crave them! When I say "we", I'm also talking about my hubs Walker - he loves salads too. Even though Vienna doesn't get as excited about salads like we do, she loves her veggies and will pick out what she wants to eat from a big salad bowl.

She often drinks the remaining salad dressing out of the bowl too. It's pretty hilarious! Have you seen it on my instagram stories?


Since I love veggies so much, I'm always looking for creative ways to get more of them into my body. Have you tried my Sticky Carrots? Roasted Root Veggies?  Cauliflower Fried Rice? While those are all smashingly delicious and healthy recipes, a salad is usually the quickest and easiest way to get more veggies in when time is limited.

This particular recipe was requested by you! After I posted my Roasted Chicken Thighs with Dijon Marmalade a lot of you were asking me for the kale salad recipe we had with it. Before I get to this recipe, I thought I would answer a question I get a lot:

What is the difference between dino kale (aka tuscan or Lacinto kale) and curly green or curly black/purple kale?

From a culinary perspective, dino kale is the best one for raw salads because it's the most tender, once you remove the inner stem of course. But you still have to chop it A LOT, otherwise it can be tough. Even though I do make salads with curly kale, dino kale is my preference.

When using curly kale, you really need to massage it to tenderize it. Otherwise, curly kale can be the texture of tree bark. This is one of my pet peeves when eating out at a restaurant - tree bark kale. I find that most restaurants still don't know how to deal with curly kale. I wish I could just tell everyone to massage it, haha!


Curly kale is excellent for making kale chips because if you've made a "cheese" sauce or have a lot of seasoning then it can get into every nook and cranny. Whereas dino kale has a smoother surface, as you can see. I think it's called dino kale because the surface looks like the skin of a dinosaur. Dino kale is sweeter than curly which tends to be more bitter and sulfurous. Either are delicious if you're making pesto . 

From a nutrition perspective, there's not much of a difference. It's like comparing a Royal Gala apple to a Pink Lady apple. Each kind of apple will differ slighly in terms of their phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, but not dramatically. Either way, both types of kale are a rich source of glucosinolates which are key for detoxification

Kale is rich in vitamins A, C, K and B6. It is also a fantastic source of antioxidants including quercitin and kaempferol.

These nutrients together have powerful heart-health benefits including blood pressure lowering and anti-inflammatory compounds.

This salad is the perfect balance of sweet and savoury because I added apples and medjol dates along with celery, carrots and red onion. The avocado I used was perfectly ripe, making it lovely next to the crunch of the celery. The salad dressing is simple, yet delicious. You could add some fresh or dried herbs as well. 

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  • 1 head dino (tuscan) kale, washed and de-stemmed, chopped
  • 3 small apples (Macintosh, Royal Gala or Granny Smith), chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated or shaved with a veggie peeler
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/3 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 5-6 medjol dates, pitted and chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, cubed
  • 3 parts extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 part apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Sea salt to taste
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together extra-virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Add garlic and sea salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine kale and remaining salad ingredients.
  3. Toss salad with dressing.
  4. Enjoy right away or refrigerate for a few hours. Consume within 24 hours for maximum nutrition and crunch!


Serves 4-6

This salad serves 4 to 6 people depending on how hungry you are, or two people as a main. I recommend you enjoy this salad with some Sweet Potato Wedges and the Roast Chicken Thighs with Dijon Marmalade ! Or if you don't eat meat, it would also be lovely with the Roasted Acorn Stuffed Squash .

Kale Salad

 I hope you love the crunch of this satisfying salad and it gets you eating more veggies. If you are looking for more yummy recipes to enjoy kale, here are a few of my favourites:

 Roasted Chickpea Kale Salad with Creamy Dressing

 Rustic Kale and Sundried Tomato Galette

 Kale Salad with Creamy Cashew Dressing

Have a joyous rest of your week!


P.S: I made this whole recipe on Facebook the other night. You can watch the replay. I am getting back to a regular routine of doing facebook LIVES so "like" my page if you want to join me!

Oct 10, 2018 BY Joy McCarthy
Alex | BigBlueWaves Wellness   •   October 11, 2018

Thanks a lot for sharing, Joy! Looks delicious and the ingredients are super-healthy! It's one of those "food as medicine" examples :) Kale is also rich in calcium and creates an alkaline environment, which prevents bone demineralization. Older women (and everyone else) will get a much-needed bone protection from this amazing salad. Cheers and keep it up!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 11, 2018

kathy   •   October 16, 2018

Can't wait to try this with those chicken thighs, which by the way were FABULOUS!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 16, 2018
Joy McCarthy   •   October 16, 2018

Sarah   •   October 16, 2018

Hi Joy! Thanks for de-spelling the hesitation around kale. Love this salad! You mention massaging is key in your intro but I don't see it mentioned in it both kinds of kale and literally folded in a towel and rubbed? Thanks!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 16, 2018

Sarah   •   October 16, 2018



Diane   •   October 19, 2018

YUM! This was so good and exactly what I was craving!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 20, 2018

Ashley Chaplin   •   October 20, 2018

Made this last night - OMG!!! I did add some raw pumpkin seeds and it was glorious!! Hubby loved it and the kiddies picked out the apples πŸ˜‹. Will absolutely make again!!

Joy McCarthy   •   October 20, 2018

Kristen   •   October 28, 2018

This looks amazing! We've been making a kale and beet salad recipe of yours for a few years now and everyone always loves it :-)

Joy McCarthy   •   October 29, 2018

Tara Lynne Franco   •   April 13, 2019

Tried it and was fantastic. Substituted fresh figs for the dates and added yellow pepper!

Joy McCarthy   •   April 14, 2019

Nicole   •   July 31, 2020

This salad is a family favourite! I love having it with roast chicken and rice for a hearty lunch.

Joy McCarthy   •   August 1, 2020

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