The "kale hater's" kale salad
My sweet fella is an avid kale-hater. You know the type. You might even be one yourself. I've spent the past several years trying to convince him that kale is a wonderful thing that doesn't need to be cooked down in bacon fat or covered in cheese in order to be good (though those are very good things). So when I made him this Creamy Kale Salad with Raspberries and Feta for the first time and packed it in his lunch, I expected some less than enthusiastic feedback. Instead, I got this lunchtime text: "The kale salad is seriously delicious, which is something I thought I would never say."
Lacinato kale is massaged with olive oil and salt until tender, then tossed with red cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a lightly sweet, zippy, and creamy dressing. To finish, the tender greens are treated to a generous sprinkle of crunchy sunflower seeds, fresh sweet raspberries, and salty feta cheese. You can call it by its proper name, or as we affectionately have dubbed it at our house -- "The Kale Hater's Kale Salad." Either way, this salad is bound to turn a few kale haters into kale-lovers!
Tenderize kale by massaging it first
The way you prepare kale completely dictates whether you're going to eat green, leafy cardboard or whether you're going to eat a bowl of super tasty and tender greens worth adding to your dinner plate. The key to taking kale greens from cardboard to delicious is to massage them. I know this sounds a little odd, but trust me, this 2-minute trick will make your greens tender and soft -- perfect for building a super tasty Creamy Kale Salad with Raspberries and Feta.
All you need is a little oil, Kosher salt, and very clean hands. I prefer to use garlic-infused olive oil, but classic olive oil or good neutral avocado oil will work really well too. Simply toss the oil and salt into clean, torn kale greens and start kneading and squeezing those greens! Within a few seconds of doing this, you should notice that the kale has already begun to soften. As you continue to massage, the kale will darken in color and become super tender and perfect for eating raw in a salad.
What to serve this Creamy Kale Salad with Raspberries and Feta with
- Grilled Skirt Steak with Avocado Chimichurri Sauce
- Crispy Oven-Fried Fish
- Greek Lamb Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce
- Pressure Cooker Barbacoa Beef
- Pressure Cooker Boneless Beef Ribs
- Mediterranean Turkey Burgers
- Grilled Chicken Wings with Chipotle Peach BBQ Sauce
What tools do I need to make this recipe?
- A cutting board
- A chef's knife
- A kitchen scale - OR - Measuring cups (for less accurate measurements)
- Measuring spoons
- A large mixing bowl (to toss the salad in)
- A small mixing bowl or mason jar
- A small whisk or a fork
- 2 wooden spoons or spatulas (to toss the salad)
Are you looking to upgrade to your cooking tools or replenish your pantry? Check out my kitchen tools shop page and pantry staples shop page to find my must-have kitchen tools, pantry items, and other Whip & Wander favorites.
Looking for more salad inspiration?
Love this Creamy Kale Salad with Raspberries and Feta? Here are some additional salad recipes to add to your menu:
- Tuna Nicoise Salad
- Radicchio Salad with Green Olives, Blue Cheese, and Candied Walnuts
- Smoked Salmon adn Citrus Salad with Cucumber and Avocado
- Strawberry Peach Summer Salad with Basil Walnut Pesto
- Shaved Brussles Sprouts Salad with Blue Cheese, Cranberries, and Pecans
- Creamy Cucumber Radish Salad
A note for special diets
This Creamy Kale Salad with Raspberries and Feta is friendly for gluten-free diets. If you omit the feta cheese, this salad can also accommodate dairy-free and Paleo diets.Print
Creamy Kale Salad with Raspberries and Feta
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 large salad 1x
- Category: Salads & Dressings
- Method: No-Cook
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
Lacinato kale is massaged with olive oil and salt until tender, then tossed with red cabbage, carrots, and green onions in a lightly sweet, zippy, and creamy dressing. To finish, the tender greens are treated to a generous sprinkle of crunchy sunflower seeds, fresh sweet raspberries, and salty feta cheese.
For the dressing:
- 5 tbsp mayo
- 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
For the salad:
- 2 heads (about 331 g) Lacinato/Italian kale, de-veined and roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (may sub for traditional olive oil, then add 2 cloves minced garlic after greens are massaged)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ½ head red cabbage (about 354 g), thinly chopped
- 111 g (about 1 cup) carrots, shredded
- 32 g (about ¾ cup) green onions, chopped
- 3 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 154 g (about 1 cup) fresh raspberries
- 4 oz (just under a cup) feta cheese, crumbled
For the dressing:
- Add mayo, red wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey to a medium bowl. Whisk until fully combined then reserve to the side.
For the salad:
- In a large mixing bowl, add the chopped kale and top with olive oil and salt. Massage by hand (kneading and gently squeezing the kale) for about 2 minutes. The kale should shrink in volume substantially as it tenderizes and the leaves will darken. If utilizing traditional olive oil instead of the garlic-infused olive oil, you can add the minced garlic in after the kale has been massaged.
- Add red cabbage, carrots, and green onions, and the reserved dressing. Toss to combine.
- Add sunflower seeds, raspberries, and feta cheese and gently fold in.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: ⅙ of salad
- Calories: 266
- Sugar: 8 g
- Sodium: 624 mg
- Fat: 18 g
- Saturated Fat: 4 g
- Carbohydrates: 20 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Cholesterol: 15 mg
Keywords: kale, red cabbage, raspberries, feta cheese, sunflower seeds
I haven't tried kale in salad, only as kale chips, I like you recipe may be I can try it in salad. This is not only colorful looks also delicious too.
I am a lover of all things kale so this salad is right up my taste alley! I have heard about massaging the leaves before but have never tried it, I think you've convinced me to give it a try. Looking forward to making this for my family.
Karyl Henry says
I was definitely on the hate side of brussel sprouts for most of my life, but I like them now! I've always LOVED kale, but rarely eat it raw. I'm loving all the ingredients in this salad! It looks so light and refreshing, and perfect for the warm summer months. I'm going to have to give it a try
WOW! This salad looks as delicious as it is gorgeous. I am not in the kale-hating club so I can honestly say this looks amazing. The flavors sound to-die-for!
Amanda Mason says
YUM! Looks so delish! I'm so making this for lunch this week, but I'm going to put a slice of grilled chicken on top!! Such a classy looking recipe!!
Jessica Pinney says
I'm often a "kale hater", but your recipe here looks like it could change my mind!
Marisa Franca says
Mmmm! I love a good massage -- so relaxing. So if I like it, why shouldn't stiff, uptight kale like it too? I haven't made a kale salad, yet. I have made kale many ways and in low calorie ways. Your salad intrigues me. I like the touch of a sweet berry to it since kale is a bit stronger than say a Romaine. I'm pinning your recipe -- did you say you give massages??
If this gets even the kale haters then I am gonna give this a go on my hubby as well! He is a big anti-kale kind of guy. Ha!
I am starting to love kale and this one is a wonderful addition to my recipes that uses it. Thank you for this! It looks tasty!
Now this is some kale I can eat!!! This looks GREAT!
This looks like such an awesome kale recipe! I love all of the colors in the dish!
I'm all about the kale. I definitely think you have a winner with this salad.
Claudia Lamascolo says
I am always looking for a new salad since I eat them everyday. This one looks like its a winner and I will try this week! thanks
Morgan Eisenberg says
Look how colorful this salad is! And the flavors all sound amazing together. I need to make this one.
I love the colors in your healthy salad - especially the combination with the fiber rich raspberries:)
Emily Hill says
I'm one of those kale haters (except in certain salads) so I definitely need to try this recipe!
I love kale and so doesn't my hubby! I too massage used to massage kale for years (and great tip, btw) but I've been buying baby kale and there isn't a need to anymore. I can't wait to try your delicious recipe with my baby un-massaged kale! 🙂
Whip & Wander says
That sounds like a great swap!
Dominique | Perchance to Cook says
This salad was made for me! I love everything about it from the kale to the feta to the sunflower seeds to the raspberries. All the flavors were meant to be together in salad form. YUM
I 've never been Kale fan. a bit bitter for me. But I can try it one more time and give it a chance. This recipe looks very promising.
Whip & Wander says
The dressing really sweetens everything up. I hope you give it a go!
my husband is a kale hater, but he loves raspberries. I will have to try this out on him -- I don't think I will tell him there is kale in it until after he eats it!