This Kale Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon and Creamy Avocado Dressing is a nutritional powerhouse with kale, a flavorful homemade salad dressing and the easiest pan-seared salmon. Even if you think you don’t like kale, this salad is for you!Jump to Recipe
Whenever I’m in the mood for a dinner that just makes me feel good- this Kale Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon is the recipe I reach for. Massaging the Creamy Avocado Dressing into the kale turns it into a delicious, tender salad base with so much flavor. The salmon comes together so easily with a quick pan sear for a nutritious, filling meal!
Which Type of Kale to Use for Salad
There are typically a few different types of kale that you’ll find at the grocery store, and it can definitely matter which one you’re choosing- especially if you’re not cooking the kale.
–Common Curly Kale: is the type of kale you’ll most often see in the grocery store. It is lighter in green and has curled edges. Curly kale is perfect for this Kale Salad Recipe and is also great when cooked.
-Tuscan Kale (Lacinato): Tuscan kale is also known as lacinato and dino kale. It’s darker green in color and less curled. It is a bit tougher and is best used in recipes where it will be cooked!
How to Make A Creamy Kale Salad Dressing
Making a homemade salad dressing is so easy and a great way to know what exactly is going in your dressing! Plus, you can pack it full of nutrients and deliciousness.
My favorite way to make a homemade salad dressing is to combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until it’s smooth and creamy.
This Creamy Avocado Dressing has avocado, lemon, garlic cloves, jalapeño and salt for the perfect combination of creaminess and a tiny kick of heat!
If you’re wanting a more mild salad dressing for the Kale Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon, I would recommend starting with just ½ seeded small jalapeño and then adding more if desired.
Removing the seeds from the jalapeño is the best way to control the spice level!
How to: Massaged Kale Salad Recipe
Once you have made the homemade creamy avocado dressing, it’s time to massage it into the kale- yes, massage the kale! It’s important to know how to tenderize kale for salad, because it will make eating raw kale much more enjoyable. Plus, it really infuses the flavor of the dressing into the salad.
Simply chop the kale and remove any pieces of the stem (save them for your compost). Add the kale to a large bowl and pour the dressing over. Using tongs, or your hands, massage the dressing into the kale for a couple minutes until it starts to be absorbed and the kale is broken down.
Making Pan-Seared Salmon
Pan searing salmon is one of my favorite cooking methods because it is so quick and easy. You need to make sure you have a high-quality non-stick skillet (my favorites are GreenPan). If you don’t, I would recommend one of the alternative cooking methods!
To easily pan sear salmon, pat the fillets dry with a paper towel or dish towel and season liberally with seasonings of your choice. My favorites are: adobo seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika or a lemon pepper blend.
Heat your skillet on medium heat for a couple minutes, and then add a few tablespoons of high-heat cooking oil (such as avocado) and a tablespoon of butter.
Add the salmon to the skillet, skin side up, and sear for about 3-4 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.
Flip the salmon and continue to sear on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Alternatives to Searing the Salmon
If pan-searing the salmon is not an option, you can also bake or broil the salmon fillets to cook them.
Follow the same steps of drying and seasoning the salmon, and then place in an oiled baking dish.
To bake salmon: preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 10-15 minutes per 1-inch of thickness of the fillet.
To broil salmon: turn the broil to high and place the baking rack at the top of the oven. Broil the salmon for 7-10 minutes or until the top is browned to your liking and the salmon easily flakes.
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While you’re here, may I suggest a few other easy dinners that I know you’ll love?
Kale Salad with Pan-Seared Salmon and Creamy Avocado Dressing
- 1 bunch curly kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 2 salmon fillets
- 1 tbsp adobo seasoning or sub for your favorite salmon seasoning (garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, etc.)
For the Creamy Avocado Dressing:
- 1 seeded jalapeño if wanting less spice, start with 1/2 small seeded jalapeño
- 1 large avocado
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 juiced lemon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil
- Chop the jalapeño into a few large chunks and add it to the food processor. If more heat is desired, keep some of the jalapeño seeds with the pepper.
- Add the rest of the dressing ingredients to the food processor: 2 large garlic cloves, 1 large avocado, juice of 1 lemon and a pinch of salt.
- Turn the food processor on and drizzle in ¼-½ cup olive oil or until your dressing reaches desired consistency.
- Add your de-stemmed and chopped kale to a salad bowl and pour the Creamy Avocado Dressing over the kale.
- Massage the dressing into the kale using your hands or tongs until well combined and the kale has softened. Set aside in the fridge while you prep the salmon.
- Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel.
- Season the salmon fillets with adobo seasoning or seasonings of your choice: garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, etc.
- Add a couple tablespoons of cooking oil to the skillet and allow to heat for another 30 seconds.
- Place the salmon fillet skin side up in the skillet and sear until the salmon has cooked halfway up the fillet, about 2-3 minutes.
- Flip the salmon fillet and continue to sear for another 2-3 minutes or until the salmon is flaky and cooked through. Searing time will depend on thickness of the salmon.