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Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette

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Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

In honor of my month of healthy eating on the blog, I of course felt obligated to throw a token bunch of kale into my cart at the grocery store. No arm twisting necessary — kale is one of my favorite greens, and still seems to be oh-so-trendy at the moment. So I was ready to experiment with some new kale chips, or a fancy kale pasta, or some sort of kale soup. But as tends to happen, the kale got a little buried in my refrigerator, and wasn’t discovered until a few hours before I left town for Sundance. Oops!

So at the last second, I decided to whip up a healthy salad before leaving for the airport. And as seems to be a growing trend whenever I cook and photograph a recipe in a big hurry, it somehow miraculously turned out to be really good and really pretty. Go figure!

I’ve been on a kale and cranberry kick lately, so I went the “warm” route and sauted up some shallots and garlic and cranberries for a sweet and savory vinaigrette, then topped it all with some sliced almonds. I meant to also crumble on some cheese, but it turned out that the salad was great (and arguably a little healthier) without it. Soooo good, friends!!

So whether this is your first time making a kale salad or your 100th, you’ve gotta check out the recipe for this one.

Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

The key to a good kale salad is taking an extra minute or two to massage the kale and soften it. Awkward sounding? Yes. Essential to soft, delicious greens? Yes.

It’s easy. Anytime you make a kale salad, just toss the kale with a little salt and oil and rub it in for a minute until the kale turns nice and soft and darkens slightly. So worth it.

Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

Besides that, the rest of the salad is a breeze as well! Here’s the quick how-to:

Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

First, get those two main ingredients ready to go — some good fresh kale, and dried cranberries.

Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

Heat some oil in a large skillet, then saute up the shallots, garlic, cranberries, lemon juice, vinegar, and a bit of honey for the vinaigrette. The cranberries will plump up just a bit while cooking, and will be extra sweet and juicy. Mmmm.

Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

Then spoon the mixture on top of your (massaged) kale, give it a good toss, then sprinkle it with some toasted almonds.

Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

And voila! In just 10 minutes or so, this gorgeous kale salad is ready to go.

Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

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Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Almond Vinaigrette

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 63 reviews
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 -4 servings 1x


This healthy kale salad is topped with a warm cranberry almond vinaigrette.


  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bunch kale, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • (optional) 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese or goat cheese


  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add shallot and saute for at least 5 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Then add cranberries, red wine vinegar, honey and lemon juice and zest, and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the kale with olive oil and an extra pinch of salt, and massage kale with your fingers for 1 minute until tender. Add in the cranberry/shallot mixture and almonds, and toss to combine. Serve topped with crumbled cheese if desired.

Kale Cranberry Salad Recipe |

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167 comments on “Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette”

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  1. I love the warm dressing and the idea of massaging the kale a little before tossing!

  2. Massaging the kale…what a great idea! I usually avoid kale salads because I don’t like how firm the Kale is! Gotta try this! This salad is gorgeous and that warm dressing sounds divine!

  3. I can’t get enough kale, this salad looks divine!

  4. This sounds delicious. I usually just use plain old vinaigrette in my kale salads. They are always good but this sounds great…maybe some blue cheese on top?

  5. I’m huge on kale salads right now and my fave of the moment features a lemon dressing, but I love the idea of this one! Trying soon!

  6. Dried cranberries sound like a great ingredient for salad and with toasted almonds on top looks just irresistible.

  7. Love that the dressing is warm, and kale is fantastic right now!

  8. Your Kale Salad with Warm Cranberry Vinaigrette looks delicious!
    Thank you for all that you do!

  9. Mmm … ridiculously, I haven’t tried kale yet … ever! You made this sound incredibly tasty for something so simple. Love fruit and nuts in salads. Love your colourful photos, too!

  10. I am just trying kale for the first time and this looks great. Did you massage with oil and then chop it up? I am not familiar with the right way to “prep” kale. Thanks!

    • You can massage it with oil either before or after chopping. I find it easiest to massage the kale after chopping. Good luck! :)

  11. This was delicious! I boiled a sweet potato cubed it and tossed in the salad perfect!

  12. Delicious salad,
    Tastes just like cheesecake factory’s version

  13. I made this salad today and it was absolutely delicious! It’s the first time I’ve eaten kale raw and actually enjoyed it, so thank you for sharing. I just started a blog called “healthy, fit and happy” on WordPress, and I just had to share your recipe. I also shared the link to your page to give you the credit :)

  14. I made this for dinner last night and it was wonderful! I don’t know how, but we had some leftovers, and they made a wonderful cold lunch. The kale was even still crispy.

    A repeat for sure and probably my go-to pot luck recipe this summer. Thanks Ali!

  15. How much honey? You mentioned it in your text but not in the recipe.

  16. This salad is amazing! I eat it at least once a week.

  17. This salad is amazing! I eat it at least once a week.

  18. How long would this last in the fridge? Does it go soggy or get better?

  19. This is so easy and tastes great. I added some cubed avocado and it tuned out to be an awesome addition. So creamy.

  20. Loved it! Massaging the kale was new to me and made a big difference! Tossed with goat cheese made a nice contrast to the sweet cranberries. YUMMY!

  21. I loved this salad! I’m always looking for healthy yummy ways to eat kale and this fit the bill! So delicious, thanks for sharing it:)

  22. Did you use sweetened dried cranberries (like Ocean Spray) or dried unsweetened cranberries? And if you used unsweetened cranberries, where do you buy it?

  23. I made this salad last night with a little apprehension of eating kale that wasn’t braised or cooked. Let me just say that it was fantastic! I think the massaging of the kale really made a huge difference.

  24. This was delicious!  I made it, but as I was the only one to eat it, I only prepared as much kale as I would eat.  I put some of the dressing on and refrigerated the rest.   I got 4 servings out of it.  I warmed the dressing a bit each time I ate it.  

  25. I absolutely love using kale in a salad, it’s so much more flavorful than lettuce and super more nutritious too. I’ve made Kale salads before but I’ve never heard of ”massaging” the kale, LOL!!, sounds like fun and it makes sense. I will make this salad for dinner tonight, so glad I found it on Pinterest. Thank you for sharing.

  26. This looks and sounds heavenly! My best friend and co-blogger, Kate, just recently introduced me to the amazing-ness that Kale is. I CANNOT wait to try this (with maybe a little Goat Cheese too?!). Thank you for sharing this!

  27. I made this last night with your egg drop soup for a quick, light dinner, and both were fabulous and so simple to make! Thanks for the delish recipes! ❤️

  28. I couldn’t stop eating this!!!! YUMMY!!!!

  29. Made this Kale salad yesterday. Was out of almonds so substituted pecans, absolutely delicious. Making a double batch fir a party next weekend. Thanks

  30. Loved this recipe. And learned how good it is to massage kale with olive oil and salt to soften it. Looking forward to eating the leftover tomorrow!

  31. I tried a kale salad recipe tonight that was supposed to be a Whole Foods knockoff. It wasn’t or wasn’t like what I had eaten there.  I want to try yours. Both recipes have called for “a bunch of kale.”  I had bought a 12 oz. bag of organic kale already torn up, because it was the smallest amt. I could find.  (I’m the only one who eats it here.).  Guess I’m asking how much is a bunch, if it’s already torn and bagged?

  32. Turned out great! Thanks! Remember to make sure there are no stems in the salad (duh) ;)

  33. I tried this salad over the weekend, it was GREAT!  My sister also had some and loved it.  I cannot eat nuts so I just used some croutons for crunch.

  34. Hi! I just wanted to stop by and let you know I made your kale salad for a cookout pot-luck I hosted last night. I originally made it because I wanted to have something to help me resist the temptation of eating all the carb heavy and processed junk food that my guests would be bringing. Let me just say, this is by far the best kale salad I’ve ever had (and I’ve had many!). What I thought was going to be a “healthy” side dish just for me quickly became a huge hit that all of my guests devoured. Making it again today to take to the beach with family this weekend. So delicious! Thank you for sharing :) 


  35. Just tried this tonight. Wonderful!

  36. how many calories is this dish

    • Hi Tay! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  37. i always end up witha bag of kale sitting around in the fridge because I never know what to do with it. The massaging tip sounds great, never heard it before. Will make it easier to finish the kale!

  38. made it 2 days in a row! Ate it 2 days in a row! Enjoying it more everyday! Simply DELICIOUS!!!

  39. This salad was wonderful.  My husband loved it so much he’s going to make it for his executives tomorrow.   Thanks!

    • Thanks Katie, we’re happy you and your husband enjoyed this! We hope his executives enjoy it as well! :)

  40. Can this travel? I am going to a friend’s house for dinner and wondered if it is still good later and cold? I may be able to prepare there if not.

    • Hi Heidi! This would travel fine, but we’d recommend preparing it at your friends if you can, or at least preparing the vinaigrette there, since we think this salad is best when it’s warm. :) We hope you guys enjoy!

  41. This has become my favourite kale salad. Absolutely delicious.

    • That’s such a nice compliment Wilma, thank you – we’re so happy you enjoy it! :)

  42. This is my go to salad for holidays and any time I want to impress. I never tire of it.

  43. If I wanted to take this for lunch to work, could I make dressing and then warm at work and then put on salad?

    Looks so good – love Kale salads! Traci

    • Hi Traci! Yes, if you want to take this to work, we would suggest exactly what you proposed – we hope you enjoy! :)

  44. I made a huge batch of this salad last night for dinner. I thought it was just an average salad last night, but I had it again for lunch today and it was 10x better. I guess the kale needed to marinate in the vinaigrette a little longer. This will be a staple in my house now! Thanks for the recipe :) 

  45. This was delicious and very easy to make. 

  46. Hi. I have been browsing the Internet to try to find a healthy salad recipe for my mom & I to try. Luckily we came across your page & recreated your kale cranberry salad. It turned out really delicious & of course I had to snap some pics. for facebook. :) Thank you for the delicious easy to make recipe.

    • Thanks for sharing with us Mellissa — we’re happy you and your mom enjoyed it! :D

  47. This was really good! I used red onion because I didn’t have any shallots. I also added a bit more honey because I like my dressing a bit sweet! Thank you!

  48. Made this tonight and was absolutely delicious! Thank you!

  49. This was absolutely delicious!! I tried to pin it so I don’t have to worry about finding in future, but the pin took me to your entire pinterest site.. How do I save JUST the recipe.. Of course, I’m also now following you :-) Can’t wait to make more of what you are cooking!

    • Thanks, Deborah — we’re so glad you enjoyed it! As for the trouble pinning this, thats’ so strange — it’s working fine for us! :( If you’re on the blog and have this recipe opened up, you should be able to hover your mouse over any pic of the salad and pin it (and it should be just this specific salad recipe). Let us know if you’re still having trouble.

  50. This is SO good!! I had to improvise some ingredients (last minute plan). Also, I didn’t think my husband would go for a salad so I tossed the kale into the pan and sautéed it a bit with the dressing ingredients. I can’t wait to make this again according to the recipe. It’s definitely going to become a favorite go to for me.