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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”

  1. WONDERFUL!!!  Made it for Christmas and it was a hit!  Would be great with grilled chicken or salmon.  

    • We’re so happy this was a hit, Ellen, and yes, we think it would be awesome with some grilled chicken or salmon! :)

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I found it on pinterest a few days ago and it is now my favorite salad! In fact, I have eaten it for lunch every day since I found it! Thank you again!

  3. Yes and it was a hit every Time!

  4. If for a potluck, do you refrigerate the dish to marry flavors ? How long it keep in the refrigerator ?

    • Hi Verne! Yes, we’d maybe do that for a day, but probably no longer. We hope you enjoy!

    • Also love this salad! This is the second time I make it to bring to add to a potluck get together. I make it in the morning, and it is just perfect around dinner time! Sue

  5. This is one of my favorite salads. I definitely put goat cheese on it. I could literally eat this every day! ❤️

  6. I made this for a potluck gathering. It was a big hit. People asked for the recipe. It definitely took more than 10 minutes to prepare. Chopping the kale takes time unless you buy it precut.

    • Thanks for sharing, Carol, we’re so glad to hear it was a hit with folks! :)

  7. I made this today and we loved it. I’ll have to remember to use more kale next time, because after you massage it, it shrinks. That really changes the flavor, for the better. I used goat cheese, it went so well with the sweet sour of the cranberries and dressing . My husband said make this again. I’m blessed my husband will try anything I fix. Thanks for posting.

  8. This is one of my “go to” salad recipes. Always a hit and goes great with grilled steak!

  9. Made this for Thanksgiving and it was fantastic. Could not get enough of the dressing! Very well-developed flavor. Served it (warm!) on the side along with some feta. If bringing to a potluck as I did, I recommend zapping the dressing in the microwave before serving, as the warm dressing is different and delicious.

  10. Thank you for this healthy and delicious salad. I love it.

  11. We made this for Thanksgiving and I made it again this week. So good! This was the solution to help me eat more greens when I don’t want to make smoothies :D

  12. I made this and it was delicious. The sweet tart flavor of the salad dressing was good enough to eat by itself. Which I did with the leftovers. We loved it with the goat cheese. I’ll be making this a lot this summer. I grow kale in the garden. A great way to use it. Thanks for posting it.

  13. This is one of my favorites!!!! It is a 5 star.

  14. Love this salad recipe! So healthy and delicious!

  15. This is a terrific salad. I usually add goat cheese to mine (yum!!). My daughter introduced me to the recipe and it has become a weekly staple and a favorite to bring to potlucks. Many a kale-salad-wary individual has been converted after tasting this salad, usually requesting the recipe. It can be made ahead and keeps well in the frig for another meal the next day. I use two bunches of fresh lacinato kale while my daughter buys the already washed, chopped and bagged kale from Trader Joe’s. Both work great. Chopping the kale takes a while but I recruit my husband to do that part of the job while I prepare the dressing. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe!!

  16. This was a great hit at our Memorial Day cookout

  17. Amazing! Honestly was never a huge fan of kale until I tried this recipe, and not it’s my go-to for potlucks! Always a crowd-pleaser.

  18. Just made this for our annual Fourth of July gathering and it was a big hit! I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for sharing this delicious and nutritious recipe.

  19. Did not use garlic (husband can’t eat it right now) and did not have any cheese (but would like to try this next time), but it still turned out quite delicious. Will certainly try it again.

  20. I made this for a work luncheon and it was the belle of the ball! My favorite kale salad by far!

  21. Absolutely delicious! I have never liked Kale till I made this salad! ❤️❤️❤️

  22. I made this tonight for dinner with grilled chicken and brown rice. It was a hit! My partner does not like eating vegetables let alone kale! I just recently was able to get him to eat steamed broccoli and sauteed green beans. I made the kale salad and he had THIRDS! So good. Thanks for the recipe! I know that this will be my go-to dish when I am asked to bring a dish to the next potluck.

  23. Deeeeeelish! I could eat this salad every day!

  24. Brought this to a Friendsgiving with a bunch of picky college students and people were begging me for the recipe. It’s so simple but so good

  25. I loved this salad! I sub. the sliced almonds (had to save those for xmas pies) for pine nuts – fantastic !

  26. I am obsessed with this recipe. I tell everyone about it. It’s so delicious! Thank you!!

  27. This is the best kale salad I’ve ever tasted. All of the components go so well together – just delicious! And a snap to put together. Great recipe!

  28. Thank you for this recipe. I love it!

  29. Superb enhancement to my old kale salad recipe! Adding onion and the vinegar/honey dressing along with replacing my expensive pine nuts for almonds was a home run. Delish!

  30. Love it and definitely will make it again 5 star rating

  31. This was a hit at a party! So good. I’ll make this again for sure!

  32. This was delicious! Thanks for this great recipe. It’s a keeper!

  33. At least I’ve known about the massaging secret, but still, I’m sad it’s taken me more than five years after you published it to discover this delicious recipe. I think the warm dressing is key. Immediately pinned to my Food Favorites board!

  34. At least I’ve known about the massaging secret, but still, I’m sad it’s taken me more than five years after you published it to discover this delicious recipe. I think the warm dressing is key. Immediately pinned to my Food Favorites board!

  35. I did make it, added diced cooked beets. The dressing is fantastic! Thanks for the great suggestion!!

  36. Awesome recipe! Added some nutritional yeast powder on top for “cheesiness”, perfection!

  37. Delicious! Thank you!

  38. I have made this recipe numerous times and everyone loves it! I have used feta instead of goat cheese on occasion – also very good!

  39. Great recipe – I have made it numerous times and everyone loves it. Important step is to massage the kale! I have also used feta instead of goat cheese – equally delicious!

  40. Tried this recipe last night and LOVED it. I was skeptical about using a warm dressing because I usually prefer my salads ice cold, but it really added incredible flavor. The sautéed shallots and cranberries were the perfect balance of sweet and tangy to go with the kale (which can be bitter sometimes). I will also be massaging my kale from now until the end of time- what a huge difference that made. I added some bleu cheese and skipped the almonds (not a huge fan) and added a fresh sweet bell pepper from my garden. Everyone loved this and I will be making again and again and again and …

  41. Best kale salad I’ve ever made or ate!!!! Yummy

  42. This salad is awesome! A little bit of sweet and salty.
    And so easy to make!
    Tall Texan

  43. Just made this salad. Tastes great! Dressing is delicious! Followed the recipe but I substituted cranberries for chopped apples and shredded carrots. Added pomegranate seeds and goat cheese. Such a good recipe! Thanks a lot!

  44. This salad is amazing! My new favourite!

  45. Could I prep the salad and dressing the night before, and just warm up the dressing before serving? I want to make it for Christmas but I’m travelling in town with it.

    So, refrigerate the kale part overnight and prep the dressing in the morning? And warm it up before serving? Do you think that would work?

  46. I love this recipe! I have made it at least once a month since I first tried it. Sometimes I use balsamic vinegar rather than wine vinegar. It is good the next day too. Love the leftovers!

  47. Great stuff! Like it!