Colorful and refreshing, this vegan sweet kale salad is easy to make with a handful of whole food ingredients in only 15 minutes.
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.
- It's sweet and fruity and a unique way to enjoy fresh berries.
- The leftovers hold up well in the refrigerator.
Ingredients and substitutions
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.
I prefer to discard the tough stems and ribs, which a lot of people don't enjoy eating raw. For this reason I don't buy the pre-chopped kale that comes packaged in a bag when I'm going to make this salad. Save them for when you're making a green smoothie or cooked dish.
In addition, you will need avocado, salt, lime juice, pure maple syrup, strawberries, and walnuts. Of course, feel free to make any substitutions you like.
If strawberries aren't in season, I love using blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries in this salad. Or if you don't want to use walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pistachios, or sunflower seeds are great substitutions.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- 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.
This salad pairs well with other dishes as a starter or side. 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.
Storing and freezing
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 easy salad recipes
Looking for more summery salads? Try some of these vegan favorites:
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If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Strawberry Kale Salad with Avocado
- 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.