Pimento’s Favorite, World-Famous Kale Salad

A healthy side packed with vitamins, flavor, and colors! But, sadly, Elsa is not included.

Looking for a last minute addition to your Thanksgiving feast that doesn’t contain butter, heavy cream, or cream of mushroom soup? I’ve got you covered!

Aside from my favorite pastime, running, I actually really enjoy cooking. I’ve done quite a bit of reading, researching, trying things out, and as a result I am starting toย get flavors. I don’t usually follow recipes to the letter; instead I read several recipes for the same thing, take note of similarities and differences and then do my own version.

While running this much, I am hungry. All. The. Time. As a result, I try to eat foods that fuel me, fill me, and help me recover. Oh, and foods that are delicious and won’t make me feel guilty for having seconds. Enter stage right, my utterly favorite kale salad. Yes, I am on the kale bandwagon. The quinoa bandwagon, too. Stay with me here; even if you hate kale, I guarantee this might be the salad to convert you … and your cranky stodgy vegetable averse relatives, to boot!

I could eat this two meals a day, seven days a week and not get sick of it. Seriously. So can my two-year-old. This salad keeps well, and gets better after sitting in the fridge a day or two, so make it tomorrow or Wednesday if it’s going to be part of the big day!ย Here’s what you need, and then a step-by-step to show you the glory that is this salad.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

This homemade version is EPIC and easy, but use pre-made if you want to save time.

  • 1 T minced garlic (about two cloves)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (Kosher or pink Himayalan is good, but regular old salt is fine)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper (freshly-ground really is better, but whatever)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil (I like mine with less, but make it to your liking)

Mix everything except the oil, then add the oil slowly while whisking constantly (this incorporates the oil better so it doesn’t separate). You will have more dressing than you need for this salad, but it will keep and it gets yummier the longer it sits.

Kale Salad

  • One bunch of your favorite kale (purple, green, or Italian)
  • Two carrots (I used the rainbow ones because they are lovely)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup feta cheese (reduced-fat or fat-free is fine)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup seeds (sunflower, pepitas, pine nuts, or whatever you have)
  • 1/4-1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • Freshly ground pepper on top
  • Delicious add-ins: 1 cup cooked quinoa or rice (cooled), leftover oven-roasted veggies (butternut squash chunks are fabulous), avocado, grated beets, shredded chicken, or basically any yummy leftover veggie or protein you have!

Step 1: Cut the main stems out of the kale leaves, and then slice into thin ribbons (or chop fairly finely if you have curly kale)

Step 2:ย Add your vinaigrette, then toss well until the kale is well coated and starts to soften.

Step 3: Grate your carrots, then add them to the salad. Toss well; you might want to add some more dressing if needed.

Step 4: Top it with the feta, seeds, and berries, then more freshly ground pepper. I do not toss it before serving- it’ll mix as you dig into it. (I mix quinoa in before I top it, and add more dressing as needed.)


What’s your favorite healthy Thanksgiving side? Share your recipes in the comments!

I'm an elementary P.E. teacher with a long-term, ongoing marathon addiction.The next big goal? Keeping up my BQ streak while aiming for a 3:10! I write about the not-so-glamorous side of running and fitting in serious training with a family while staying sane(ish).

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  1. Looks DELICIOUS! MMMMM! My fave side is throwing a bag of trader joes frozen brussel sprouts ($.99!) in a casserole dish, tossing with a few tbsp of olive oil mixed with a few quirts of sriracha and roasting at 400 for about 40 minutes (brown and crispy). Easy and delicious and no one else will eat them. Win – win – win!

    1. PS I am jealous your 2 yo will eat that. My older daughter *might* and the other two … forget it. My son in particular will eat a total of 5 fruits and veggies and they can’t be mixed with anything. And that’s if you count pickles as a veggie.

      1. Hahahaha! Pickles as a veggie. That’s funny stuff right there.

        Pimento: as someone who has had several BAD kale experiences in the past (and avoided it ever since…) I promise to trust you and give this a shot, despite being afraid of it ๐Ÿ™‚

        1. The trick is to really cut the kale into thin ribbons, mix it with the dressing and then let it sit for a while. Your colon will thank you ๐Ÿ˜‰

      2. She’s on a self-imposed low-carb diet, it’s hard to get her to eat anything bready. Lunch today? Kale salad, raspberries, and salmon patty. She’ll eat an entire red bell pepper and cucumber in one sitting, as well. And hard-boiled egg whites. . .

  2. I LOVE making homemade dressing. Thanks for the new recipe! I’ll be making this one for sure… And eating it all by myself! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Because my family hates greens LOL.

  3. This looks and sounds so good! Would it be TOO small if you chopped the kale in food processor (I use my food processor for everything because I get annoyed cutting/chopping things sometimes)?

  4. Made this yesterday and it unfortunately there weren’t any leftovers! Thanks for a great recipe!!! Oh and I used bagged TJ’s kale and made it the night before and it was perfect!

  5. UPDATE: made a new dressing recipe for this salad tonight off the top of my head… yummy! Substituted freshly squeezed lemon juice for the Balsamic and white sugar instead of brown, kept everything else the same.