This easy kale salad features fresh veggies and a super simple homemade lemon dressing, making it perfect as a healthy side dish or light lunch! It is definitely one of my very favorite kale salad recipes!

Here we’re making a quick and easy kale salad recipe, perfect for the weather we’ve been having lately!

It’s fresh, delicious, and totally make-ahead so feel free to prep this bad boy the night before and pack it along in lunches the next day if you’d like! Really, it’s one of the best kale salad recipes around! I mean, who doesn’t like kale salad with cranberries and almonds??

Easy Kale Salad in a big bowl with a salad spoonI love how I can prep ahead of kale quickly over the weekend and know that I’ll have it on hand as a salad green all week long. Instead of simply prepping what I need, I always massage the entire bunch of kale and keep it in a baggie in the fridge, meal-prep style.

Kale Salad IngredientsKale actually makes the ideal prep-ahead salad and sandwich greenery because of its ability to hold up like a champ in the fridge! It stays fresh without wilting long past its leafy counterparts.

Leftover kale can be stirred into pasta, blended into pesto, and even baked into crispy kale chips if the craving strikes! The possibilities are endless. I even love a little kale on my pizza when I have it handy. Is kale good in a salad? It’s so crazy versatile!

I also love using kale to make a tasty Tropical Mango Kale Smoothie– SO GOOD!

How to Massage Kale

If you’ve asked yourself how do you soften kale for salads, we’ve got you covered. After washing and drying your kale, remove the ribs/stem from each kale leaf. Tear or chop the kale into bite-sized pieces, then sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Next pour a little olive oil in your hands and work your way through the kale, massaging the leaves until they darken in color and tenderize. I swear that a massaged kale salad tastes a million times better – we wouldn’t prep kale any other way!

Prefer to massage your kale without oil? Try a little fresh-squeezed lemon juice instead!

I do this a lot for my Cilantro Lime Mexican Kale Salad

Easy Kale Salad with carrots, onions, herbs, cranberries and Salad Dressing

How to Make Kale Salad with Cranberries and Fresh Lemon kale Salad Dressing

This easy peasy kale salad with cranberries is loaded with tasty mix-ins. There are so many kale salad ideas! I chose to add carrots, broccoli, red onion, dried cranberries, cheese, sliced almonds and sunflower seeds, but you could totally get creative here and empty out your crisper drawer!

Raisins would work excellent instead of the cranberries, and if you’re not feeling the fruit right now, load your salad up with extra veggies instead! I used cheddar cheese here (a favorite salad mix-in of mine!) but feta or goat cheese would work marvelously too. You could even go dairy-free and make this scrumptious salad vegan!

Kale Salad in Bowl

Easy Kale Salad in a bowl with a serving spoon
4.94 from 15 votes
Review Recipe

Easy Kale Salad with Fresh Lemon Dressing

Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Jennifer Laughlin
Course Salad
Cuisine American
This easy kale salad features fresh veggies and a super simple homemade lemon dressing, making it perfect as a healthy side dish or light lunch!
Print Pin


  • 5 cups chopped kale
  • 1-2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup cheese optional (cheddar or feta work great here!)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup cranberries
Lemon Dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp honey or sugar adjust + add to taste

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  1. First make your dressing by combining ingredients above in a lidded mason jar then shake well to emulsify. Dip a kale leaf in the dressing and adjust sweetener, salt, and pepper to taste. You can make this dressing as sweet or tart as your heart desires!

  2. Next massage your chopped kale with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Rub with your fingers until leaves begin to darken and tenderize. This makes it taste great and gives the kale a silky texture!

  3. In a large bowl, combine massaged kale, broccoli, almonds, cheese, carrots, onion, sunflower seeds, cranberries. Shake your dressing once more and pour about 1/3 of the dressing over the salad. Toss to coat and add extra dressing, to taste.

Recipe Notes

Optional: I like to add poppy seeds to my salad dressing on occasion to give it a lemon poppyseed vibe - feel free to follow suit!
Nutritional information does not include cheese and other optional ingredients 
Nutrition Information
Calories: 334, Fat: 26g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Sodium: 315mg, Potassium: 744mg, Carbohydrates: 19g, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 9g, Vitamin A: 9985%, Vitamin C: 146.3%, Calcium: 192%, Iron: 2.7%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword Kale Salad

Hungry For More?

  • Broccoli Salad
  • Chickpea Salad
  • Garlic Butter Kale Rice

If you get a chance to try this easy kale salad, let me know in the comments below! xo

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