This baby kale salad is an easy and delicious way to get your greens in. It’s perfect for entertaining or as a side salad on a busy weeknight, since it’s so quick and easy to throw together. The sweet balsamic vinaigrette has just the right balance of sweet, tangy, and savoury.
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This salad is simple yet satisfying and has a nice crunch from the walnuts. If you’re not a fan of walnuts, go ahead and substitute pecans, slivered almonds, pine nuts, pistachios or any other nut you prefer. Or if you need to keep this salad nut-free, you could certainly substitute pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for a little crunch.
I wanted to keep this salad simple and elegant with just a few components that give it the balance of sweet and savoury I was going for. I also wanted to keep it refined sugar-free, so I opted to use a couple of tablespoons of date paste to add just the right amount of sweetness.
The savoury component of the sweet balsamic vinaigrette comes from the chives, which give the dressing a mild oniony flavour without overpowering the other flavours in this recipe.
I love chives and (thanks to my mom who planted a bunch for me many years ago) I always have some growing outside on the deck during the warmer months. But if you don’t have chives on hand you could substitute a teaspoon of finely chopped onion or garlic.
I love the flavour and tenderness of baby kale, but you could certainly substitute regular kale. Just give it a quick massage first to tenderize the leaves, then just chop it up. Spinach, baby spinach, arugula or really any other type of greens would work well too.
You can easily turn this baby kale salad into a complete meal by adding some protein. Simply add some baked or sauteed tofu, tempeh, roasted sweet potato chunks, lentils or some crispy roasted chickpeas for extra crunch and protein.
Another way to transform this baby kale salad into a hearty and satisfying meal is to add a grain such as quinoa. Prepare the quinoa according to the package instructions, then add 1 cup of cooked quinoa per person before tossing with the dressing.
More Vegan Salad Ideas
For another tasty salad idea, try this vegan green goddess dressing tossed with some fresh greens. It’s refreshing, zingy, and full of flavour from plenty of fresh herbs.
Or try this easy maple vinaigrette. It has a complex sweetness from the maple syrup which pairs well with all types of greens.
Baby Kale Salad With Sweet Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 6 cups baby kale
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or substitute any other nut or seed)
- 2 tablespoons date paste
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives
- Add the date paste, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and chives to an airtight container and shake until the dressing is well mixed and thickens slightly.
- Toss the baby kale leaves with the dressing, then sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top.
- Makes approximately 6 portions of baby kale salad.
- For a nut-free version of this salad, swap the walnuts for sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds.
- Turn this baby kale salad into a complete meal by adding some roasted sweet potatoes, lentils, tofu, chickpeas, or quinoa.
I’m Jennifer, the author at A Sweet Alternative. I create simple, gluten-free recipes made with nutritious ingredients.