SIGN UP TO RECEIVE MY 6 TIPS FOR STARTING A PLANT-BASED DIET.

Kale Salad with cranberries on a white plate
30 min or less, Easy, Fall Favorites, Gluten Free, Lunch, Nut free, Salads, Under 400 calories, Vegan Recipes

Kale Cranberry Salad (15 minutes)

Last Updated on

This 15-Minute Kale Cranberry Salad is sweetened with dried cranberries and a sweet tahini dressing, and loaded with crunchy bites of sunflower seeds and sliced almonds.

Kale Cranberry Salad in a white bowl with a fork.

Kale is a special kind of green, but if you don’t prepare it correctly, it can taste bitter and too chewy. It’s naturally tough and fibrous so it’s really an important step to massage the kale before eating it. If you massage it a bit with your hands (and some olive oil and/or lemon juice), it relaxes and becomes much easier to chew.

And if you haven’t heard the news yet, kale is insanely good for you! It’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, meaning it’s high in nutrients but low in calories.

This makes it a true superfood, and a green we should get in our bodies on a regular (or at least semi-regular) basis.

I love eating kale in salads of course, like my favorite Kale Quinoa Salad, but it also goes great in a myriad of other dishes such as this Simple Kale Quinoa, pesto, or even tacos.

And mixing kale together with sweet ingredients like cranberries (and other nuts and seeds) makes an amazing combination. This Kale Salad Recipe is:

  • Sweet with a slight kick of cayenne to give it extra flavor.
  • Crunchy from red cabbage, sunflower seeds and sliced almonds.
  • Packed with 9 grams of protein per serving.
  • Under 300 calories.
  • A great side dish or even main meal.
Kale salad with cranberries, sliced almonds, cabbage, sunflower seeds.

How to make this Kale Cranberry Salad:

First, prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the tough stems (discard the stems). Then chop the kale into fine pieces, wash, and use a salad spinner to remove moisture if necessary. Add the kale to a large bowl.

Drizzle the kale with the olive oil, and then add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt and pepper. Note: if oil-free, you can omit the oil. Using your hands, massage the kale for a couple minutes to break down the texture. Set aside. 

A bowl of finely chopped kale massaged with lemon juice and olive oil.

Next, make the Sweet Tahini Dressing by mixing all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Stir with a small whisk until blended. Set aside to thicken. 

A small bowl of sweet tahini dressing.

To the large bowl of chopped kale, add the dried cranberries, can of chickpeas (drained), sliced almonds, sliced red cabbage, chopped parsley and sunflower seeds.

A bowl of chopped kale, cranberries, red cabbage, sliced almonds, sunflower seeds and chickpeas.

Then add the dressing to the bowl.

A bowl of veggies being drizzled with sweet tahini dressing.

Stir until combined using large salad servers, or even tongs. Let sit for a few minutes so the kale can absorb the flavors. Serve.

A bowl of kale salad with cranberries, chickpeas, red cabbage, nuts and seeds.

Because kale is a tougher green, this will last in the fridge for a couple days with the dressing mixed in.

But if you plan to make ahead of time, I recommend (for best flavor/taste), to keep the salad and dressing separate, and add the dressing immediately before serving. Serves 6.

Suggestions/Tips:

  • For a nut-free option, omit the almonds and add additional sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
  • I prefer curly kale for this recipe, but other varieties will work.
  • The tahini dressing will thicken as it sits. If the dressing it too thick for your liking, you can add warm water in 1 tablespoon increments until it’s at your desired consistency. 
A bowl of kale cranberry salad on a wood backdrop

Helpful Tools:

  • Lemon Squeezer– I like this one. It’s super durable.
  • Salad Spinner– I use this for removing the moisture from lettuce, kale or any type of green.
  • Santoku Knife–  This is my favorite all-purpose ceramic knife.
  • Small Whisk– This is my favorite tool for whisking sauces.
  • Salad Servers– I use these for mixing together and serving the salad.

Looking for more healthy salad recipes? Try one of these:

If you try this Kale Salad with Cranberries recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your photo with #veggie__chick on Instagram. I just love to see my recipes being made in YOUR kitchen!

Print

Kale Cranberry Salad (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Kale Cranberry Salad on a white plate

This 15-Minute Kale Cranberry Salad is sweetened with dried cranberries and a sweet tahini dressing, and loaded with crunchy bites of sunflower seeds and sliced almonds.

  • Author: Christin McKamey
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: No-Cook
  • Cuisine: Healthy
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 medium bunch curly kale*, washed, stems removed and finely chopped (about 6 cups)- organic preferred
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (can omit if oil-free)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/4 freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds (see notes for nut-free option)
  • 1 cup finely chopped red cabbage
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds

Sweet Tahini Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 medium lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon organic maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/3 cup warm water

Instructions

  1. Prepare the kale by removing the leaves from the tough stems (discard the hard stems). Chop the kale into fine pieces, wash then add to a salad spinner to remove moisture if necessary. Then add the chopped kale to a large bowl.
  2. Drizzle the kale with the olive oil, and then add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, salt and pepper. Note: if oil-free, you can omit the oil. Using your hands, massage the kale for a couple minutes to break down the texture. Set aside.
  3. Next make the Sweet Tahini Dressing by mixing all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Stir with a small whisk until blended. Set aside to thicken. 
  4. To the large bowl of chopped kale, add the dried cranberries, can of chickpeas (drained), sliced almonds, sliced red cabbage, chopped parsley and sunflower seeds. Then add the dressing and stir until combined, using salad servers or even tongs. Let sit for a few minutes so the kale can absorb the flavors. Serve. 
  5. Because kale is a tougher green, this will last in the fridge (in an airtight container) for a couple days with the dressing mixed in. But if you plan to make ahead of time, I recommend (for best flavor/taste), to keep the salad and dressing separate, and add the dressing immediately before serving. Serves 6.

Notes

  • For nut free, omit the almonds and add additional sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
  • I prefer curly kale for this recipe, but other varieties will work.
  • The tahini dressing will thicken as it sits. If the dressing it too thick for your liking, you can add warm water in 1 tablespoon increments until it’s at your desired consistency.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: about 1 1/4 cup
  • Calories: 288
  • Sugar: 18
  • Sodium: 323.9
  • Fat: 13.9
  • Carbohydrates: 37.4
  • Protein: 9.1

Keywords: kale salad with cranberries, kale cranberry salad, kale tahini salad

Hi, I'm Christin- thanks for stopping by my happy place! Here you will find healthy, original meat-free recipes. No matter where you are in your health journey, I hope I can help and inspire you. Read more...

Write a comment

Free PDF

Subscribe to receive my
{FREE} 6 Tips for Starting a Plant-Based Diet + 
recipes direct to your inbox.