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Kale salad is entirely within my top favorite foods to eat. No, I’m not kidding at all! And this healthy kale salad recipe is a kale favorite for me. Mainly because it includes my other food loves (lemons, parmesan, and yes sometimes I even add chicken!) Kale salad is so versatile and healthy, and it’s so easy to make it delicious. This is my Zesty Italian Kale Salad Recipe, I am working on getting my other Kale variations on my site and have a Salty Greek, a Creamy French and a spicy Mexican all coming to you soon. So be on the lookout for my variations on this. For now, I hope my Zesty Italian Kale Salad will join you for dinner tonight.

Kale Salad Recipe likes to be Massaged!

The trick to delicious kale salad is all in the massage. Yeah, you heard me….massage baby! This is what makes the kale less bitter, softer in texture and scrumptious. You can’t just lightly toss kale with a lil sauce; you gotta get physical with this. After a good massaging the kale wilts down, gets super tender and takes on the sauce flavor like a champ. So if you’ve tried and hated kale before, do yourself a favor and give this recipe a try.

Healthy Kale Salad in under 10 minutes

Another thing I love about Kale salad is that it is such an easy dish to make quickly. I prewash all my kale for the week ahead (or as much as I can get into my big salad spinner) and then I leave it in the salad spinner in my fridge. I find that the kale stays fresh and crisp this way. And when I am ready to eat, I simply massage my sauce into it, throw on my toppings and enjoy.

Are you looking for other Healthy Kale Recipes?

Check out some of my other Kale recipes that might be an easier transition Kale since they use Kale as a cooked ingredient. My Sauteed Kale with Onion + Carrot is a powerhouse of nutrition and deliciousness. Also, give my Kale + Chicken Chili a try, it’s great for anyone who still needs to warm up to Kale. You won’t even taste it, but it packs a serious health punch.

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Lemon Kale Salad

Print Recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 Servings
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The key to delicious Kale salad is all in the massage. It helps the sauce infuse into and softens each leaf. So be sure to give your Kale a good massaging and you'll be enjoying this delicious, versatile superfood all the time...and you'll get your friends hooked on it too.


  • 2-3 bunches Kale
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/3 cup Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pinch/splash Crushed Red Pepper Flakes or Your favorite Hot Sauce, adjust amount for desired spice level
  • 1 pinch Salt, adjust amount for desired seasoning
  • 1 pinch Black Pepper, freshly cracked; adjust amount for desired seasoning
  • Parmigiano, freshly grated; adjust for your desired cheesiness

Toppings (optional, these are just some of my favorites)

  • Carrots, finely shredded
  • Quinoa, left-over quinoa is a great addition especially when the salad is your main dish
  • Chicken, shredded or diced left-over chicken again a super yummy addition to your dinner salad
  • Almonds or Walnuts, Slided or chopped for some crunch
  • Hemp Seeds, Sprinkling over a few hemp seeds gives a nice warm flavor and adds tons of nutrition
  • Oven Roasted Chickpeas


  • Strip the Kale leaves off the stems, then tear or cut them into bite size pieces and wash in a salad spinner rinsing several times until the water runs clear. Spin the salad as dry as possible. The dryer the Kale leaves the better your sauce will stick = maximum yumminess!
  • Transfer washed kale to big bowl or individual serving bowls and let it hang out there while you make the salad sauce.
  • In a mason jar combine lemon juice, olive oil, hot sauce, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Then close with lid and shake, shake, shake!
  • Pour salad sauce over washed kale and massage (yup you read correctly) massage. No need for candlelight or soft music but give that kale a real good rub down. This helps to soften the leaves and really introduces the sauce to it. You should continue to massage the kale until it is soft, and saucy all over and has shrunken to about half its size in the bowl. About 3 minutes of massaging will do it.
  • Top with Parmigiano and give a gentle toss.
  • Top with any other desired ingredients. What I like to do is prepare the salad to this point in a large bowl and then let everyone top with their own desired extra ingredients.