If you're craving something healthy, this Chopped Kale Salad is loaded with veggies, topped with chicken and a tangy lemon vinaigrette giving you an easy, tasty meal!
I used to think kale was just about the worst thing in the entire world. Weird tasting, hard to chew….nothing good about it. Then a funny thing happened - I tasted a salad with massaged kale and my whole opinion changed. My first kale salad was this Kale Salad with Broccoli Slaw and as I was trying to get more fit as the weather got warmer that year I started eating kale salads once or twice a week. Now I’m a little bit obsessed. So if you don’t love kale, definitely give this a try - I think it might just change your mind about them!
Besides the fact that it's super tasty, the best part of this salad is it's really easy to make with ingredients you may very well already have in your kitchen. You'll need kale, of course, some roasted or grilled chicken, sliced almonds, red or yellow pepper, red onion, apple, avocado and lemons, lots of lemons!
If you want to make this salad part of your weekly meal prep plan, you can chop the kale, pepper and onion, making the vinaigrette and roast or grill the chicken at the beginning of the week. Then when you are ready to eat you'll assemble the salad by tossing the kale into a large bowl, adding some the dressing and a little bit of salt and pepper. This is where massaging the kale comes in. Basically, I say it's a cross between kneading bread and tossing a salad. You'll do this for 2-3 minutes until the leaves begin to soften and become a little darker and shinier. If you were to massage unchopped kale leaves you'd want to do it for about 5 minutes to get them to the right texture and flavor.
I also like using a lemon vinaigrette with kale as the acid in the lemon helps to break down the leaves and the tanginess of the vinaigrette nicely offsets the kale but doesn't overpower all the other flavors. It all just works together!
If you want to add a little extra protein to the salad you can quickly toast some quinoa and toss it in. And if you want to make this salad vegetarian or vegan, just leave the chicken off. Since it's a kale-based salad it stores pretty well even if you've already added the dressing so don't worry about making the whole recipe even if you just want one salad.
Sometimes you really just need a great, healthy salad and kale gives you the perfect base for that kind of salad. It's really good for you food that's perfect for your weekly menu for both lunch and dinner. Enjoy!
things you may want for this recipe
OXO Mini Measuring Cup – I love to use this mini-sized measuring cup when making dressings. It makes it really easy to measure out all the liquid ingredients.
Handheld Juicer – I love these juicers. They come in three sizes – lime, lemon and orange. I just have the largest one – for oranges, so it works for everything!
Small Ball Canning Jar - I just love these little jars for making salad dressing! You can put all the ingredients in, shake up the dressing and you are ready to go. Then just store any leftovers in the refrigerator and shake again when you are ready to use it. At Whole Foods here in Chicago you can buy single jars instead of having to buy a 12-pack.
Chopped Kale Salad
For the dressing:
- 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
- 1 teaspoon agave
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
For the salad:
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
- 1 bunch kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
- ⅓ cup chopped red or yellow pepper
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- 1 gala or another red apple, chopped
- 4 ounces cooked, chopped chicken
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 avocado, diced
- To make the dressing combine the vinegar, agave and lemon juice in a small jar or bowl. Mix well. Add the olive oil and mix again. Set aside until ready to serve the salad.
- Add almonds to a non-stick pan and heat over medium-low heat. Toast for 6-8 minutes. Watch the almonds closely to be sure they don't start to burn. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Divide the kale between two salad bowls. Top with onion, pepper, apple and chicken. Add the cilantro and lemon juice. Toss to coat. Add the avocado and the dressing. Gently toss again. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve.