A hearty, veggie-packed kale power salad with massaged kale, grains, shredded cabbage, shaved brussels sprouts, carrots, cucumber, red bell peppers, sunflower seeds, avocado, goat cheese and an herb vinaigrette.
Varieties of Kale and which to use
Curly kale is the most common type of kale that you’ll find in the grocery store, and works great in this recipe! You’ll recognize it by the curly edges, and it’s typically lighter in color than lacinato or dinosaur kale.
I wouldn’t recommend using lacinato kale, only because it’s quite a bit heartier than curly kale and won’t soften the same way. However, it’s a great option for soups!
How to prep the kale for salad
The major KEY to a great kale salad is massaging the kale with the dressing. This softens it and makes it so much more enjoyable to eat! Anyone who says they don’t like kale salads just aren’t making them the right way ;).
In this kale power salad recipe, I suggest actually massaging all of the crunchy greens: the kale, cabbage, carrots and brussels sprouts. This will allow them to soften so that they aren’t as cruciferous and will make them easier to eat. You can do this with either your hands or salad tongs by pouring the dressing over the veggies and then literally massaging it in with your hands. I pretty much just grab handfuls and squeeze! Do this for a few minutes and you’ll notice the kale and other vegetables will get noticeably softer.
choosing a Grain blend
For the grains in this kale power salad, I chose to use the Trader Joe’s Harvest Grain Blend, and it’s so worked perfectly! The blend is a mix of Israeli-style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans and red quinoa. It is really hearty and I love that it has a few different textures. The flavor is nutty and really, really delicious!
If you can’t get your hands on it, using quinoa, couscous or orzo would work perfectly!
other vegetables in the kale power salad
The other vegetables that I used in this recipe are red bell peppers (the best bell peppers in my opinion!), a cucumber, shaved brussels sprouts, shredded cabbage and carrots and avocado.
The important thing to remember with the shredded cabbage, carrots and Brussels sprouts is to make sure that they are finely shredded so that they aren’t too crunchy. I typically prefer to buy the whole Brussels sprouts and shave them myself using a sharp knife or mandolin slicer, because the pre-shaved ones from the store are typically too thick to be eaten raw.
adding the goat cheese
I decided to add crumbled goat cheese to the salad for a creamy element and it was so delicious with the combination of vegetables and the dressing! If you don’t want to use goat cheese, feta would also be perfect. Omit the cheese and this salad is vegan!
how to make the herb vinaigrette dressing
The dressing is very simple and easy to make. I started by mincing 3 garlic cloves very finely and adding them to a mason jar. I then whisked in ¼ cup red wine vinegar and ¾ cup olive oil. For extra flavor, I added 1 tbsp Za’atar seasoning, a pinch of salt and 1 tbsp honey.
If you don’t use all of the dressing in the salad, be sure to store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
storage suggestions for the kale power salad
One of the best things about this salad is that it gets better the longer it sits! It’s great to make ahead of time since the grains and crunchy vegetables can hold up to it and don’t get soggy. It’s also a great meal-prep item because it can be made in the beginning of the week and eaten for days after.
I suggest storing it in an airtight tupperware in the fridge and consuming it within 4 days!
Kale Power Salad
- 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 9 oz. shredded cabbage
- 5 oz. shredded carrots
- 9 oz. shaved Brussels sprouts
- 2 large bell peppers, chopped
- 3 cups cooked (1-1 1/2 cups uncooked) grains
- 1 cucumber, diced
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 avocados, diced
- 3.5 oz. crumbled goat cheese
For the Herb Vinaigrette Dressing:
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive or avocado oil
- 1 tbsp Za'atar
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 1 tbsp honey
- In a large bowl, combine the kale, cabbage, carrots and brussels sprouts.
- In a separate bowl or jar, mix together the Herb Vinaigrette Dressing ingredients.
- Using ¾ of the dressing, pour over the salad and using hands or salad tongs, massage the dressing into the salad base for a few minutes. This will soften the crunchy veggies.
- Cook grain according to instructions.
- When grain is done cooking, add to the salad. Also add the bell peppers, goat cheese, cucumber, sunflower seeds and avocado. Toss to combine.
- If desired, use the rest of the salad dressing or store in fridge for up to 7 days.