Strawberry Kale Salad

Strawberry Kale Salad Recipe Video – scroll down for recipe

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Here’s some old news. I’ve been trying to eat more salads. And like everyone else on Planet AMERICA, I haven’t been able to avoid the popculture current of kale salads. And I’m not completely sold on that ticket, I mean, the ticket of kale curing every ailment and making your skin glow with the light of a thousand Viking funerals, but variety is important and I do know there’s more to salads than iceberg or even Romaine. So, kale salad, come on down.

For a more fun way to eat kale, try making this Spicy Thai Kale Chips recipe!

The strawberries add some juiciness to the salad so you don’t need to use as much oil in the dressing. That’s a pretty good trick to remember. I, of course, then turned around and also added nuts and cheese so I’m not sure I’m really saving anything in the calorie department. But I feel like as long as I’m eating my vegetables, what’s the harm in drowning them in oil and/or cheese?

Am I wrong? I might be wrong.

Strawberry Kale Salad Recipe – printable

strawberry kale salad


Strawberry Kale Salad

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4.5 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Hilah Johnson
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 bunch kale (56 ounces) or 5 ounces baby kale
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • drizzle hot chili oil (optional)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup crumbled panela cheese, queso fresco or feta (or another crumbly, salty cheese)


  1. Cut the tough ends off the kale bunch. Slice the rest into 1″ strips. Rinse and drain well. Pat dry with a clean tea towel. (if using baby kale, just start with the next step)
  2. Put kale into a large bowl and sprinkle with salt, lemon juice. Massage kale with your hands for 2-3 minutes until it has wilted slightly. (Baby kale will only need a minute or so.)
  3. Add olive oil, balsamic, honey, pepper and chili oil. Toss with tongs to coat well.
  4. Add strawberries and pecans to kale. (At this point, you can refrigerate the salad for up to 2 hours.)
  5. Add cheese right before serving.


To make salad even farther in advance, massage and dress the kale salad but don’t add strawberries and nuts. Refrigerate up to 8 hours, adding remaining ingredients at serving time.


  • Calories: 230

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The key is to massage your kale. Not like in a dirty, sexualized way, but in a friendly, washing the poor guy’s feet kind of way. You want to rub the salt and lemon juice right into the leaves to soften them up and make them easier to chew than non-massaged kale, which is like chewing grass.

Pre-massage, this kale is tough and leathery and veiny

Pre-massage, this kale is tough and leathery and veiny

Post-massage, this kale is relaxed and ready to get down to the business of making you extra healthy

Post-massage, this kale is relaxed and ready to get down to the business of making you extra healthy


  1. austingreensqueen on May 26, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    I, too, have turned away from the sub sandwich/hamburger frenzy and toward the salad. Greens have always been a favorite of mine but of the cooked variety. Check out my blog for some cool places to get salads and some salad ideas. BTW, I loved the Viking funeral metaphor. So funny!

    • Hilah on May 27, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Summer and salads just complement each other!

  2. Gary on May 26, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    If only salads had more meat 🙂

    • Hilah on May 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Aw, who you kiddin’ Gary! I know you love salad! I see pictures of your dinners all the time. 🙂

  3. Kendra on May 26, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    That is one beautiful salad, Hilah. I’m also not convinced that Kale is curing everything but bee stings, but hey it is very good. Your salad has a few of my favorites including strawberries and pecans. Btw I hope you all have a fun holiday weekend.

    • Hilah on May 27, 2013 at 10:33 am

      Hope you have a great one, too, Kendra!

  4. Nick on June 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    What exactly does kale taste like? The only time I’ve eaten it is in zuppa toscana, and the taste of the sausage and spices kind of drowns out the other flavors. I usually hate salads because I can’t stand the taste or consistency of lettuce, but I do enjoy the occasional spinach salad. Is kale more like lettuce, spinach, or something completely different?

    • Hilah on June 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

      Hi Nick!
      Kale to me is very similar to collard greens, if you’ve had those. It’s nothing like lettuce at all. The texture is tougher and “meatier” than lettuce, not really crisp or watery like lettuce usually is. The flavor is slightly bitter, perhaps like raw broccoli.
      If you have a big salad bar place nearby, they probably have raw kale in one of the bins. That might be a good place to just have a small taste and see what you think before buying a whole bunch. 🙂

  5. Morgan on July 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    I’ve made this salad twice in one week. It’s great as is, but I also love that the simplicity allows you to get creative with it, too. The second time I made it added some crumbled bacon. I think it helped balance the tang of the balsamic and feta.

    Hilah, I love that you blend simple, down-home recipes with the fancy-pants gourmet dishes. Growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money, but my mom was an incredible cook. She made delicious and simple food, but she was always trying new recipes and cuisines. Nowadays my mom, sister, and I are always swapping recipes and learning from each other. Food, for me, is home and your recipes give me that feeling. I can’t wait to see where your talent takes you!

    • Hilah on July 8, 2013 at 3:06 pm

      Thank you, Morgan. You comment just made me smile real big on a hard day. 🙂
      I grew up the same way, not a lot of money but a resourceful mom and grandma that could both make a meal out of any empty pantry and it would be good, too! So happy to hear that you’re playing around with this recipe. Recipes are meant to be changed, in my opinion. Thanks for writing!

  6. BeaTree on August 5, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, Hilah! It will be the appetizer at my birthday dinner tomorrow 😀 I love kale, strawberries, pecans, and feta cheese – so this is the perfect recipe for me. It’s like an early birthday present!

    • Hilah on August 6, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Have a great birthday, Bea!

      • BeaTree on August 7, 2015 at 1:39 pm

        I did – and this salad was the perfect starter. Incredibly delicious! I will definitely be making this one again. Everybody had happy tummies (and taste buds).

  7. Gene Cox on August 15, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    This is in reply to your email: Eat Your Veggies!
    There are several things that I really liked about that article.
    1. The vigorous washing of vegetables. Dirt naturally contains listeria. And vegetables grow in dirt. It is so important to wash them thoroughly to rid them of dirt and to reduce the dirt / listeria level to tolerable limits.
    2. “Now that you have some clean greens waiting for you, don’t hesitate to add them to everything!”. Great idea, have them available and try to think when preparing each meal, “Where can I get away with adding greens.”
    3. Buying Romaine lettuce. As you say, it lasts longer and is the most nutritious.
    Thanks as always for your great tips!

  8. birdman on May 12, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    Yum. I’ve made something similar using baby spinach (or those kale/spinach/arugula mixes that come in a bag), with sunflower seeds instead of nuts. Believe it or not, I got the idea from an amusement park that had it!

    • Hilah on May 12, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Wow! World’s healthiest amusement park food? Sunflower seeds sound great with this salad.

  9. Rachel - The Castejons on May 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Kale is one of our favorite greens to use- I love it in soups and frittatas! I haven’t ventured into the raw kale yet (well, except in smoothies), but this looks delicious. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good strawberry. Saludos!

    • Hilah on May 12, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      Ooh I hope you try this, Rachel! It’s so good! And because kale is so hearty, it keeps well in the fridge unlike a lettuce salad.

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