Colorful and refreshing, this vegan massaged avocado kale salad is easy to make with a handful of whole food ingredients in only 15 minutes. Even those who think they don't like raw kale salads enjoy this recipe.
Kale salad may seem like a cliché, but this version has turned many skeptics into fans. Sweet strawberries and creamy avocados elevate the hearty greens into a special seasonal dish.
Why you'll love this recipe
- You can make it in 15 minutes with only 7 ingredients.
- The creamy avocado eliminates the need for olive oil.
- The leftovers hold up well in the refrigerator.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Lime juice
- Pure maple syrup
- Fresh strawberries
Any variety of kale can be used in this recipe. I usually use whatever looks the best at my local market or farm stand.
But if I had to choose, my favorite varieties are Lacinato, also known as Dinosaur or Tuscan, and Russian Red. You can read more about the different types you are likely to find in The Ultimate Guide to Different Types of Kale and How to Use Them.
Since this recipe calls for two bunches of kale, I decided to combine Lacinato and Red. Red actually has purple stems and ribs, as you can see in the photo above.
If strawberries aren't in season, try using blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries in this salad.
In addition, fresh lemon juice can be used in place of lime. And your favorite liquid sweetener can be used in place of the maple syrup.
If you don't have walnuts, pecans, almonds, pine nuts or pistachios all work well.
And for a nut-free version, use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or even add chickpeas.
- Wash and pat dry the kale leaves. To remove the stems and tough ribs, you can either use your knife or tear the leaves with your hands. Then chop or tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
- Add a pinch of salt and half of the avocado. Using your hands, massage the kale with the avocado until it's tender and reduced in volume.
- Toss the massaged kale with a little lime juice and pure maple syrup.
- Top the salad with the remaining avocado, sliced strawberries, and walnuts.
Ever wonder why the plant-based meals you see on Facebook and Instagram look so mouth-watering and inviting while yours are bland and boring?
You need the FREE Instant Flavor guide
This salad pairs well with other dishes as a starter or side. It's also wonderful at brunch.
Or try it as a light meal with some crusty bread like Bread SRSLY vegan gluten-free sourdough from San Francisco. I like to order it online and freeze it.
Leftovers will last up to 3 days days covered in the refrigerator. Toss again before serving.
While any variety can be used, most people enjoy Lacinato (also known as dinosaur, Italian, and Tuscan) kale the best. It has a smoother texture than curly varieties and a mild flavor.
Massaging chopped kale with avocado, an acid like citrus juice or vinegar, and a little salt makes it softer and less bitter. It also helps to add a touch of sweetener like pure maple syrup.
While edible, the stems tend to be too tough and fibrous for salads. But you can save them for cooked dishes. For example, you can saute them with other vegetables.
More salad recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Avocado Kale Salad with Strawberries
- Wash the kale and and remove the tough ribs. Pat dry the leaves with a kitchen towel. Tear or chop them into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl.
- Use your hands to massage the kale with half the avocado and a pinch of salt until the kale is tender and has reduced in size.
- Add the lime juice and maple syrup and toss well to coat.
- Top the kale salad with the remaining avocado, strawberries, and walnuts. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
- If strawberries aren't available, you can blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries instead.
- If you don't want to use walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or sunflower seeds are great substitutions.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.