This healthy, flavor-packed kale broccoli salad is topped with brussels sprouts, strawberries and goat cheese for the perfect weekday lunch!!
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This Kale Brussels Sprout Salad is a delicious, healthy salad that works as a weekday lunch or a light dinner. It gets a crunch from the addition of some pumpkin seeds and an extra flavor boost from the tangy poppy seed dressing.
Yep, it's the New Year and that means a renewed focus on healthier eating! January often begins with a goal of getting more fruits and veggies in our diet and this salad is a great way to take a step in that direction.
This kale salad is a re-creation of salad from a Chicago restaurant called State in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Some friends raved about the inspiration salad the first time we went there, and since kale has never been my most favorite veggie, I was very interested in what made it so good in that salad. I decided that I was going to use it as the inspiration to create my own version.
This is the perfect recipe to whip up on a busy weekday. Read on to learn more about how to make this Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad, or jump straight to the recipe to start cooking!
The full list of salad ingredients and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
- Curly kale: This is the common kale that you usually find in the grocery store. You can buy either a bunch of it or the pre-bagged kale mixture for this salad
- Strawberries: While not always in season, most grocery stores carry strawberries all year long.
- Broccoli slaw: You should be able to find this bagged mix in the produce section near other bagged salad or slaw mixes.
- Brussels sprouts: You can buy whole brussels and slice them yourself or use a pre-sliced version.
- Goat cheese: The creamy texture and tart flavor of goat cheese add depth to this salad. You'll want to use the crumbled version.
- Dried cranberries: I recommend using unsweetened cranberries if possible but any type of dried cranberry will work.
- Pumpkin seeds: Look for roasted and salted pumpkin seeds in the section where your grocery store has nuts. They are also sometimes found in the bulk food section.
- Shallot: Fresh shallot is the best option for this recipe though freeze-dried will also work.
- Spices: poppy seeds, sea salt, ground pepper
- Pantry staples: Extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar, sugar, dried mustard, avocado oil
Tips for making kale salad
This flavor-packed salad gives you lots of leafy greens and veggies - add in a little extra protein and you've got a complete meal in a bowl.
Prepare the kale. If using a bunch of kale, wash and rinse the kale leaves under cold water, and dry them in a salad spinner. Then use a sharp knife to remove any stems and chop the remaining leaves.
Massage the kale. Add the kale to a large mixing bowl. Mix the avocado oil and sea salt together and pour over the kale. Massage the kale with a kneading motion, like you are kneading bread, tearing the leaves into smaller pieces, for several minutes until the kale turns bright green and begins to soften. This helps to mellow the flavor and texture of the kale. The bonus of doing this is the kale will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several days.
Shave the Brussels sprouts: If using whole sprouts remove their outer leaves. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the sprouts (you can also use a mandoline for this step if you prefer). Once the sprouts are sliced, add them to the bowl with the kale.
Make the dressing. Once you have the kale ready, you'll whip up a quick poppy-seed vinaigrette. Whisk the vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl. Add salt, mustard, shallots and poppy seeds; whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
Assemble the salad. Divide the kale and sprouts mixture between two large salad bowls. Top each with strawberries, broccoli slaw, goat cheese, dried cranberries, and pumpkin seeds. Top with dressing and toss to coat. Season with salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.
Additional notes from the kitchen
Do you need any special tools to make homemade salad dressing?
Homemade salad dressing is super simple to make. While you can use a small mixing bowl and a whisk, I actually think the easiest way to make a salad dressing is in a mason jar. You only have to get one thing dirty and you can store any extra dressing in the mason jar. You can store any homemade vinaigrette in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. When you are ready to use it again, bring the dressing to room temperature and shake the mason jar to re-mix it. Check out the post on making vinegarette for more tips on making homemade salad dressing.
What you'll need for this recipe
Large mixing bowl – I'm a fan of these bowls because the set comes with lids so you can mix and store in the same bowl!
Small mason jar– These little jars are a fantastic addition to any kitchen.
One of my favorite sides for a salad is Homemade Garlic Bread.
More salad recipes
If you are looking for more interesting salads check out these reader favorites:
- Strawberry Chicken Salad. This is another great salad option that serves as the main meal. The balsamic vinaigrette does double duty as dressing and marinade in this salad topped with strawberries, grilled chicken and goat cheese.
- Asian Quinoa Salad. This quick & easy recipe combines the protein power of quinoa with some tangy Asian flavors for a great vegetarian salad. Add some chicken and you've got an even more protein-packed meal! Add this to your weekly meal prep list for an easy packable lunch or a quick & healthy weeknight dinner!
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Brussels Sprouts, Broccoli Slaw and Kale Salad
For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon dried mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced shallot
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- 4 cups kale leaves
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup sliced strawberries
- ½ cup broccoli slaw mix
- ½ cup shaved brussels sprouts
- ⅓ cup crumbled goat cheese
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
- salt & pepper , to taste
For the dressing
- Whisk the vinegar and sugar together in a small bowl. Add salt, mustard, shallots and poppy seeds; whisk until combined. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
For the salad
- Place the kale leaves in a large mixing bowl. Mix avocado oil and sea salt together and pour over the kale. Massage the kale with a kneading motion, like you are kneading bread, tearing the leaves into smaller pieces, for 2-4 minutes until the kale turns bright green and begins to soften.
- Once the kale is softened, divide between two large salad bowls. Top with strawberries, broccoli slaw, shaved brussels spouts, goat cheese, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Top with dressing and toss to coat. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Serve immediately.
This post was originally published in January 2016. It was updated in January 2023 with some new information and photos. A minor change was made to the original recipe.
This salad looks amazing & I love your suggestion to store home-made dressings in the small mason jars. Where can I pick up the jars?
Thanks Nella! The jars are definitely great for storing dressings; you can get them at Sur La Table.
Christine | Vermilion Roots says
Yes massage the kale! Neat trick. Sounds weird but it works! 😀
Kathy Hester says
I need to make some more dressings, so I read your post at exactly the right time. Also I have a few strawberries in the fridge so this is the salad I'm making tonight!
April @ Girl Gone Gourmet says
I agree about massaging the kale - totally weird the first time, but makes it so much better!
Patricia @ Grab a Plate says
What a yummy (and pretty) salad! I love the strawberries for flavor to make this so pretty! Love this. I really need to try avocado oil. I haven't yet!
I *LOVE* kale, and yes, the key is to massage it! I massage while rinsing it and then again with the dressing. it's so tough otherwise. this sounds so flavorful - I will be trying soon!
Megan - The Emotional Baker says
Wow! This salad combo sounds fantastic! I can't wait to try 🙂
Looks so yummy! I love making dressings in mason jars!