Kale doesn't have to be boring and tasteless! This Crunchy Kale Salad with Lemon Tamari Dressing is delicious and healthy - that's a thing! So what are you waiting for?
It's funny that one of my most loved salads is this Crunchy Kale Salad with Lemon Tamari Dressing when I used to HATE kale. Well actually, that's a lie. I tolerated kale in soups and smoothies, but I absolutely despised it in salads.
Eventually I realised the problem wasn't the kale but how it was prepared! You see, you can't just throw some kale in a bowl and hope for the best. First, you need to massage it. Weird, right? But stick with me.
It amazes me how something as simple (and strange) as massaging kale can transform its leaves from bland, bitter and tough to silky and sweet. But it does. And it's 110% worth the effort.
I'm on a mission to ensure no one else has to suffer through a terrible kale salad again! Keep reading below for my guide on how to prepare kale for your best salad yet.
Here's a quick peek at what you'll need to put together this Crunchy Kale Salad and the Lemon Tamari Dressing...
- Red Bell Pepper / Capsicum
- Red Cabbage
- Green Onions
- Chang's Fried Noodles / Ramen Noodles
- Tamari - OR you can use soy sauce instead.
- Sesame Oil
- Rice Wine Vinegar
- Dijon Mustard
- Minced Garlic
How to prepare kale for salad
Kale needs a little TLC to make sure it doesn't feel rough and taste bitter in salads. All you need to do is...
- Remove the stems
- Just pull them off with your hands.
- Tear into bite sized pieces
- You can chop but I mostly just use my hands to tear the leaves into small pieces.
- Season with salt
- Move the kale to a bowl and season with a little salt.
- When I first read about massaging kale my exact thoughts were WTF (and no, not why the face – the other one). But as it turns out, it makes a huge difference! Just grab handfuls of kale and scrunch together, then release and grab another handful. Do this for about 30 seconds and your kale will taste so much better as it turns from rough to silky! Don’t believe me – read this.
HOW TO MAKE THIS CRUNCHY KALE SALAD - STEP BY STEP
- Work the kale - Prepare the kale using the handy tips above.
- Mix the dressing - Make the lemon tamari dressing by mixing together in a small jar and shaking vigorously until combined.
- Toss the salad - Place salad ingredients in a bowl, drizzle dressing over and lightly toss. Serve immediately.
If you are planning on making this salad ahead, leave out the noodles and the dressing until you are ready to serve. If you have leftovers you can store them in the fridge for a day or two, but just be aware that the noodles will lose their crunch. It's still perfectly edible, just a different texture.
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Crunchy Kale Salad with Lemon Tamari Dressing
Kale doesn't have to be boring and tasteless! This crunchy kale salad with lemon tamari dressing is delicious and healthy - that's a thing! So what are you waiting for?
- 2 cups kale
- ½ cup purple cabbage, finely chopped
- ½ red capsicum / red bell pepper, diced
- 1 green onion , sliced
- handful chang's fried noodles or ramen noodles
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Prepare the kale following the instructions in Note 1.
- Make salad dressing by mixing together in a small jar and shaking vigorously until combined.
- Place salad ingredients in a bowl, drizzle dressing over and lightly toss. Serve immediately.
Preparing Kale -
- Remove the stems - Just pull them off with your hands.
- Tear into bite sized pieces - You can chop but I mostly just use my hands to tear the leaves into small pieces.
- Season with salt - Move the kale to a bowl and season with a little salt.
Dressing - The dressing may yield more than 2 serves, so just drizzle over desired amount!
Inspiration - Recipe adapted from Fit Foodie Finds.
Updates - First published August 10, 2017. Last updated January 29, 2019 with new photos & tips. No changes to the recipe.
Nutrition - Nutrition information is a rough estimate based on one serve.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 193Saturated Fat: 2gSodium: 1074mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 7g
Ron Leyba says
This looks really yummy! The colors of this salad adds more "deliciousness" in it. Will try your recipe very soon!
Yeu Doi says
This salad looks so colorful, healthy and well presented! Great idea for family meals and/or BBQ's!
I had no idea that massaging kale was a thing! Seriously though, this recipe sounds really fresh and delicious + the health factor is a big plus!
Thanks dee 🙂
Rachel Catherine says
This looks delicious! I love kale! I actually alwTs keep my stems in whenever I use it. I like the crunch.
There you go!
Susan Minich says
I never knew about massaging kale!
Get on it!
THis looks so delicious. WILL try it for sure. Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.
What a beautiful and bright salad! I have never had tamari before (I don't think anyway), so I would love to give that a try!
It's just soy that is usually gluten-free 🙂
This salad looks amazing! I love how colorful it looks and a tasty non-meat recipe. I would love to feature it in my upcoming 7 Day Challenge for my website. Let me know if you'd like to collaborate.
Emailing you now 🙂
Cindy Ingalls says
Massaging kale is such a great tip. It vastly improves the texture and the taste. I like to use avocado on mine.
Avocado on everything!
Kelly Hutchinson says
Not only is this beautiful, it looks delicious. I love a crunchy kale salad!
Thanks so much Kelly
Debbie Savage says
This salad looks so amazing! Healthy with a great crunch and the dressing recipe including lemon and tamari sounds so delish!
xo Debbie | http://www.tothineownstylebetrue.com
Candy Rachelle says
Take out the tomatoes and I would devour this! But with the tomatoes, it's so pretty!!!
How to Breakfast in Bed Like a Queen
No tomatoes in it Candy 🙂 just red bell peppers
Claudia Krusch says
This crunchy kale salad looks so delicious. The lemon tamari dressing would be really refreshing. I am excited to give it a try.
I love salad! Perfect side dish for just about anything. I'll have to save this recipe and make it for the family.
You'll have to let me know how you go!
Shoshana Sue says
I share your walking zombie feeling. I started a new job and moved to a new house at the same time, two weeks ago. I still haven't finished unpacking.
Now to this deliciously looking Kale salad- it seems so easy to prepare, I would like to try it out once I unpack all my utensils 🙂
Haha love it Shoshana! Can't imagine starting a new job at the same time!! Hope you get a good rest soon lovely (after all the unpacking!)
Jessica Joachim says
This looks delicious! It would be perfect for a quick dinner one night or to make a big batch and eat it for week day lunches!
Definitely falls into the quick dinner category!
jill conyers says
I'm on a kale salad roll right now. Lemon and tahini sounds delicious.
You can do so many things with Kale!
Adriana Lopez Martn says
I love kale is one of my favorite greens. Moistly buy baby kale because it is more tender. Yoru salad looks fabulous very colorful. I need a bowl now =)
Thanks Adriana! I can never find baby kale here in Australia 🙁
Heather Johnson says
Your crunchy kale salad with lemon tamari dressing sounds absolutely amazing! I love all the pretty colors too!
Thanks so much Heather!
liz Cleland says
This looks so delicious! Perfect for our End of Summer party!
All the colours makes it feel very summery when I'm eating it even though it's winter over here wahh!
Nancy Johnson Horn says
Oh, that looks so good. I do love kale, but I always get a little confused about removing stems/massaging. I also love to put kale in my daily juices (I make them in my Vitamix).
Some supermarkets you can get it already pre-prepared which makes it easy! I'd still give it a little massage though 🙂
Nancy Johnson Horn says
I always love finding new healthy and yummy recipes for the summer! This looks delicious.
Definitely a good salad for summer!
Ali || Veggies by Candlelight says
That looks so delicious! I would definitely make this, it looks so delicious and I already love Kale.
Let me know how you go!
AnnMarie John says
I've been enjoying salads lately because I'm trying to get back in shape! I'd love to give this a try as I haven't given kale much attention. I always use it in smoothies but not in salads! Thanks for the recipe, would love to give it a try one of these days.
Thanks AnnMarie - hope you enjoy!
michelle jones mcdowell says
I've been growing kale in my garden this year. Its nice to have a new recipe to try. The dressing sounds really good.
Oh man it's so expensive here in Australia that it would be awesome to be able just to grab some from the garden! My 6 year old nephew keeps telling me he is going to grow a veggie garden that I can pinch from so I'll tell him to plant some kale haha
Wow! Look at that rainbow of color! It just screams give me a fork for a big ole crunchy bite! Yum! I am on the fence about massaging my kale though, lol
Haha! Try it!! It sounds way more tedious (and perhaps unnecessary sensual?) than it is!
Karen Morse says
It looks amazing! I always want color in my food. Honestly though, I didn't know you could massage kale. That's a new concept for me.
It makes a big difference!
tara pittman says
The lemon dressing sounds amazing. I need to make this salad
Hope you enjoy Tara 🙂
Ayana Pitterson says
I don't know if I know what tamari dressing tastes like...but this salad looks too good to eat. I have been adding more kale into my diet and always looking for more recipes. thanks for sharing.
Thanks Ayana! The dressing tastes like soy (which tamari essentially is) and a hint of lemon and sesame!
Carrie & Shannon, YouMeDC.com says
This looks amazing! We can't wait to try it out. We've been looking for new quick/easy/DELICIOUS lunch options for a while!
Carrie & Shannon
Thanks ladies 🙂
Ever since What The Health was released my husband and I have been in search of healthier food options. Going to give this a try!
I haven't watched what the health yet!
JEANNINE DIPPENAAR says
this sounds absolutely amazing, I love Kale, hubby not so much, but sure he will change his mind after tasting this
I wonder sometimes if they don't like kale just because of all the fuss over how healthy it is haha! My man is not a fan either