My Go-To Kale Salad Recipe

So good and so good for you, too…

A yummy kale salad is my love language… I’m seriously obsessed! To me, they are at the tippity-top of my favorite food list. I know it sounds nuts to say that a kale salad is one of your favorite foods, but… that’s just because you’ve never had one of MY kale salads. They are HUGE, tangy, a touch sweet, and FILLING. Plus, there’s nothing like that energy boost post a GIANT bowl of veggies. Trust me, this will make you a kale salad convert!

ashley brooke kale salad

Three Key Tips For The Best Kale Salad:

  • HOMEMADE DRESSING. Okay, I know this sounds like a lot of work, but I promise you it isn’t that bad and it makes a world of difference. If I don’t have time to make a full dressing recipe, I will just squeeze a 1/2 a lemon (get this little $18 gadget—worth every penny!), some olive oil, cracked pepper, salt over the salad and call it a day. But trust me on this, homemade dressing changes everything.
  • MASSAGE THE KALE. This step is crucial, and honestly, massaging the kale changes everything. It’s as simple as it sounds… just mix together the dressing, pour over the kale, and massage it into the leaves. This will turn the kale tender within five minutes and it’s MAGIC. Do NOT skip this step.
  • CHOP IN ADVANCE. This is a meal prep activity— it involves chopping veggies as soon as you get home from the grocery store. I know this may seem like a lot of chopping, but if you just prep it all at once you will be so darn happy with yourself! I’m telling you, turn on an audio book, a podcast, or your favorite show and you’ll be fully prepped in no time. With half the work done, making a salad over a lunch break is a breeze! And you can do this for your proteins, too… more on that below.


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Kale Salad Formula:

In my opinion there *is* a kale salad formula. This might sound crazy, but I promise you it works and it’s hard to mess up. I stick to a handful food groups and make sure I have one (or a few!) of each and voila! The perfect kale salad is served. So let me break it down for you…


A good homemade dressing massaged into the kale is KEY. My favorite is this lemon dressing. It’s definitely the dressing I find myself making the most, and here is a list of my go-to homemade dressings.


The world is your oyster here! Make your favorite protein and have it chopped up in the fridge so it’s easy to add to your salad!

  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Shredded chicken with buffalo sauce
  • Steak
  • Chickpeas
  • Tofu
  • Shrimp

I love to see how many colors I can get into my salads so I really go for it! But just grab a few of your favorites…

  • Purple cabbage
  • Red onion
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Red pepper
  • Green pepper
  • Yellow pepper
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli slaw
  • Shaved brussels sprouts

To keep the salad filling, I like to add about a 1/4 cup of grains… plus, it’s another healthy bonus!

  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Forbidden black rice or basmati rice
  • Roasted beets

This is the fun part! I will say though, I almost always add a scoop of hummus and avocado… it makes the salad so creamy! If you aren’t already putting hummus on your salad, let this be your nudge to start.

  • Avocado
  • Hummus
  • Nuts and seeds (1 Tbs pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, cashews, pistachios, or sunflower seeds)
  • Tortilla chips
  • Herbs (mint, cilantro, or basil)

It’s honestly pretty simple and fun to make. And like I said above, I like to make it a little game to see just how many colors I can fit into one bowl!

Let me know if you make a version of my go-to salad and what you think!


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  1. Hi, I’m excited to try your recipe and tips. Regards the proteins, do you buy those pre-cooked from the grocery store or you make it from scratch? Thanks in advance

  2. Ashley, I’m so inspired to start making kale salads again! I love romaine lettuce salads, but need to mix it up. And I can’t wait to try your lemon dressing recipe. Thanks for the inspiration and meal-prep tips!

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