This kale salad recipe is hearty enough to be a meal on its own. It’s packed with crispy roasted chickpeas and a variety of vegetables. Then it’s finished with creamy cashew dressing.
Plus, kale keeps well for several days in the refrigerator. Perfect for make ahead lunches & dinners!
With roasted chickpeas and a creamy cashew salad dressing, this salad is a full meal on its own. Satiating chickpeas, garlicky dressing, and the vegetables of your choice make it a winner of a lunch or dinner.
Kale is an ideal leafy green for meal planning. Because it’s a hearty green, it doesn’t wilt in the same way that spinach or romaine does. You can even dress it ahead of time.
The roasted chickpeas give the salad an extra boost of staying power.
They are best hot out of the oven or air fryer. But I still enjoy them cold out of the refrigerator too. Keep in mind, though, they won’t have the same crispness and crunch post-refrigeration.
Creamy cashew dressing
For the salad dressing, I recommend creamy cashew salad dressing. It’s a full-bodied dressing that really stands up to the strong flavor of kale.
The dressing is filled with the tastes of garlic and cilantro. But if you’re not a cilantro fan, feel free to leave it out.
How to make a massaged kale salad
Make creamy cashew dressing
Mix the following in a high-speed blender:
- Raw cashews (soaked & softened, if necessary)
- Lemon juice
(If you don’t have a high-speed blender, I have more tips for making it in a standard blender.)
Massage the kale
Put chopped curly kale into a large mixing bowl. Pour a couple Tablespoons of dressing onto the greens.
Then use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves. The kale will soften and reduce in the bowl.
Once the kale looks soft, add your favorite chopped vegetables. Then finish it with more cashew dressing.
Make it your own
You can make this salad your own by adding any of the following:
- Peanuts, cashews, or pistachios
- Coconut bacon
- Non-dairy feta
- Vegan croutons
- Air fryer tortilla strips
Crave-worthy kale salad & roasted chickpeas
- 1 bunch curly kale removed from ribs, roughly chopped
- 1 batch creamy cashew salad dressing
- 1/2 cup each any or all of the following chopped vegetables: red bell pepper, carrots, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, and/or cherry tomatoes
- 1 batch roasted chickpeas
- Additional optional add-ins by the handful: peanuts, pistachios, or coconut bacon
- Put chopped curly kale in a large mixing bowl. Pour on a couple tablespoons of creamy cashew dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale for a couple of minutes. The kale leaves will soften and reduce in bulk.
- Once the kale looks soft, top with any or all of your preferred chopped vegetables.
- Top with fresh-out-of-the-oven roasted chickpeas. Drizzle more creamy cashew dressing onto the salad and toss to evenly coat.
- If using, add a handful of peanuts, pistachios, or coconut bacon as an extra crunchy topping.
Content, recipe, and photos updated May 2020. Originally posted March 2016.