Nutritious Kale Salad with Hazelnut-Balsamic Dressing


Alisa Fleming ~ If you are interested in health (and particularly if you are dairy-free and/or vegan), then you really should know about kale. Whether you like it … well, that is a different story altogether. For years I’ve been trying to enjoy the “kale green smoothie” trend. Many friends swear by it, some saying, “maybe your using too much?” But, even with just one leaf, the bitter and what I call “yucky” flavor of kale shines through.

However, while not all of us will agree that kale should be liquefied, that doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty darn tasty in other forms. In fact, I do enjoy plain raw kale salad, when appropriately dressed with a yummy dressing of course!

Nutritious Kale Salad with Hazelnut-Balsamic Dressing

So what makes kale so fabulous? Here is a quick lowdown on kale from the World’s Healthiest Foods:

  • Kale is an awesome bone-builder, packing in an amazing amount of vitamin K (a little known nutrient that our bones require) and a good amount of dairy-free calcium that is fairly well-absorbed.
  • Kale has some special cholesterol-lowering benefits, that are most pronounced when you steam the kale (sure, you can steam the kale in this recipe if you wish!), but are still there to a lesser degree in raw kale.
  • Kale reportedly lowers your risk of at least five different types of cancer, including bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate.
  • Kale contains over 45 different flavonoids in kale, combining both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits to help reduce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.
Nutritious Kale Salad with Hazelnut-Balsamic Dressing
Prep time
Total time
Recipe adapted from the Street Eats Recipe Collection.
Serves: 4 servings
  • 4 generous cups chopped kale (see note below)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped, toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, whole leaf
  • ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ cup crushed or ground, toasted hazelnuts
  • ½ cup canola oil
  1. Combine the kale, chopped hazelnuts, cranberries, and parsley in a large salad bowl.
  2. To prepare the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, water, mustard, salt, shallot, garlic, thyme, pepper, and hazelnuts in a medium bowl using an immersion blender.
  3. With the blender running, slowly blend in the canola oil until an emulsion forms.
  4. Alternately, you can prepare this with an upright blender, drizzling the olive oil in through the top as it runs on low.
  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the kale salad, toss gently to coat, and serve.
If you are timid with kale, start by using just 2 cups of kale in the recipe below, and use 2 cups of a milder green, like romaine. Also, I find that this makes more than enough vinaigrette. I would just add half at first, then drizzle in more as desired.

This recipe is Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy free, Egg free, Gluten free, Peanut free, Soy free, Wheat free, and optionally Sugar free.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 generous cup salad
So enjoy this delicious kale salad, for both its taste and its health benefits.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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