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Raw Kale Salad

raw kale salad

While the boys were on break during the holidays we got really into kale. My older one prefers his steamed and tops it with ume plum vinegar and toasted sesame oil. The little one, however, joins us in eating my raw kale concoctions.

These raw salads are super healthy, crunchy and quite delicious. We are hooked on them.

Raw Kale Salad


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon celtic sea salt
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 orange, peeled and sliced
  1. Chop the kale into thin ribbons (almost like a chiffonade)
  2. Drizzle the kale with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
  3. Massage the kale with your hands to soften it, then allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes
  4. Add the lime juice, vinegar, onion and orange
  5. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes
  6. Serve

Serves 4

I have made a different kale salad every night for a while now, so there could be a forthcoming kale salad series.  Stay tuned.

posted on January 16, 2009, 22 comments

  1. I love kale steamed AND raw, so that salad is perfect for me :-)

  2. GFE--gluten free easily @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    Wow, this looks great. I have been trying to eat more kale (and many other greens), since I am deficient in Vitamin K. Very interesting on massaging the kale. Would have never thought of it, but it makes sense. Do you cut out the ribs as well? I love red onion in salads. Boy, the combo of all those flavors must be fantastic!

    Elana–Thanks so much for your kind words about my post on spelt, especially sharing the link! Just don’t want anyone who is GF unknowingly eating spelt with its unescapable consequences.


  3. I really like this salad. I´m sad that it´s difficult to find this type of kale here. The variety in Spain is thicker and bigger, and wouldn´t suit this recipe. But I think that I will try it with spinach, maybe.
    Thanks for sharing, I love your blog.

  4. Emily

    It’s funny that dark, scary-looking kale is actually very delicious in so many ways! My favorite raw kale salad is prepared the same way; by massaging the kale with oil and salt, then I add chopped avocado, green onions, cherry toms, fresh squeezed lemon, and raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds! Mmmm! I have not tried your combo here, but I will soon! I like that you’ve incorporated in-season oranges to this dish. My Honeyville almond flour came today! My husband laughed at me as I danced around the kitchen singing about cookies. This will be the first time I have been able to eat a baked cookie in 3 years. I will let you know how it goes, I can’t wait!

  5. juanna

    this recipe looks great… elana, you totally have my vote for the raw kale recipe series!

    i LOVE raw greens & make them a lot…i’ve tried many types of kale, collards, etc…they all work great, it just seems that some of the thicker varieties need a little more time to marinade. after about an hour even a really thick green will break down and absorb flavor.

  6. I love kale, I usually steam it or sautee it with onions and/or some spicy meat-natural sausages.
    I haven’t really tried it raw yet, on your picture it looks like the vinegar somewhat “cooks” or wilts the kale.
    Do you think it’d also work with different vinegars like apple cider vinegar (it boosts the absorption of calcium in greens) or even coconut vinegar (just got some, I haven’t used it yet)?
    Thanks ;).

  7. This looks so tasty! I love the addition of oranges. Beautiful post, as always.

  8. VeggieGirl -Enjoy!

    Shirley -Thanks. I don’t cut out the ribs, I really like the crunch they add to the salad. Thanks again for sharing your spelt info; this is one of my pet peeves (I did a little spelt post a while back).

    cdecocina -If you decide to try this recipe with spinach (or any other green) please let us know how it turns out!

    Emily -Kale is definitely one of our family favorites. It’s so nutritious and tasty just by itself. Your salad sounds SO good with the avocado, lemon and seeds. I hope you enjoy your first baked cookie in 3 years! How exciting!

    juanna -Thanks!

    Alchemille -The vinegar does wilt the kale a little. I think the apple cider vinegar would be ok, I’ve used it in my other kale salads, it just has a completely different flavor. I’m not sure about the coconut vinegar. If you experiment with either one please let me know how it turns out.

    Hayley -Thank you!

  9. gfe--gluten free easily @ glutenfreeeasily.com

    Thanks, Elena, for the info on the ribs. I like the crunch myself in kale, romaine, etc., but your salad just looked so delicate and I had recently read a kale recipe where the ribs had been cut out, so I had to ask. ;-)

    Re: the spelt, just checked out your post. Yes, you’ve definitely “been there”! For folks who keep insisting spelt is safe or saying they eat it without issue, I remind them that 40% of individuals diagnosed with celiac have no symptoms. Then I share the story I shared in my post, Allison’s story (http://www.celiaccentral.org/What_is_Celiac_/Personal_Stories/Allison/135/). Allison’s symptoms would never have been attributed to the fact she was eating spelt, had her mother not read an article about spelt in Gluten-Free Living magazine. I sincerely believe that we must all do our best to dispel the myths that persist for the GF lifestyle … we just might save a life.


  10. Shirely,

    Thanks again. I did follow the link from your site and read Allison’s Story. So sad! Yet so good that they figured it out. There are quite a few myths around celiac/diet and my hope is that with all of our efforts, these will be dispelled.


  11. I just came back from picking up ingredients for your ginger cookies recipe – looked in the fridge to see what I’ve got for a veggie dish tonight and realized I just happen to have some kale, oranges, red onions, and a lime. Weeeird! Guess it’s gonna be an Elana’s Pantry menu tonight. Thanks for the great recipes.

  12. Kim,

    That is tooooo weird. Love those coincidences!

    Thanks for your comment.


  13. I love greens, especially kale (my favorite) sauteed with garlic, olive oil and preserved lemons. Preserved lemons are great fun to make, and also can be a lovely gift for people altering their diets.

    Also, I imagine baby kale is incredible raw in this recipe. I need to look into baby greens more, as we have the garden space this year.

  14. Krista,

    I have been wanting to make preserved lemons for a long time. Your sautéed kale dish sounds amazing. Yum!


  15. Kenzie

    I’ve never had a kale salad before but I was looking for something a little different that I could try… I love the presentation of this one, and everyone seems to love it so I think I’ll try it. Any chance that you can put nuts on the top of it? Gotta love pinenuts on my salads… YUM.
    Propane Burners

  16. yvonne

    I usually juice the kale (my juicer does not like that). The salad sounds great may have to try it next time.

  17. Flora Rouse

    I realized most of my acquaintances and friends don’t know what kale is. They might have eaten it before, but they usually don’t know it was kale, because it is mostly baked into certain kinds of cakes which are popular around my area. I, on the other hand, have realized how common it was a few years ago, and I have been eating it mostly as a side dish with boiled potatoes, and fish. I sometimes top it off with a bit of beluga caviar as well. I think it is delicious, and I of course add balsamic vinegar, because it brings out the naturally sourish taste.

  18. I just tried to make this for my lunch tomorrow but it didn’t make it past the first bite… I ended up eating it all! Delicious!

  19. Rachael

    Thanks for this recipe. My whole family loved it, even my eleven year old son. This salad will be going into our regular rotation for sure.

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