THIS SALAD. It’s crunchy, it’s creamy, it’s sweet & salty and it’s truly the perfect way to use your summer produce. We’ve been loving adding giant, fresh salads to our menu lately and this summer kale salad was absolutely perfect.
I’m calling it the “summer glow” strawberry kale salad because it will have you glowing from the inside out. All of those gorgeous veggies and fruits are tossed with my famous cilantro lime dressing for a wonderful meal prep lunch or side dish for your next BBQ.
Options to customize with your fav proteins, other veggies, and more below. Enjoy!
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Everything you’ll need to make this summer kale salad
If you’re growing fresh produce or are a regular at your farmer’s market, this salad is the perfect way to use up all of the goods. You’ll need:
- Kale: the base of this summery salad is, of course, kale! See below for our best tips for enjoying kale in salads.
- Strawberries: juicy strawberries give the kale salad the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Avocado: a little creaminess and heart-healthy fats.
- Corn: feel free to use raw, grilled or sauteed corn in the salad! I love adding raw or grilled corn. Learn the best way to grill corn here!
- Feta cheese: add some savory saltiness in every bite.
- Red onion: zippy red onion pulls the whole salad together.
- Pistachios: I love the crunch that roasted, salted pistachios add!
- For the dressing: we’re using my famous cilantro lime dressing that has the perfect kick of heat.
Make this chopped kale salad your own
This chopped kale salad is super easy to customize with what’s in your fridge (or in your garden!) Here are some simple suggestions:
- Choose your produce: I think blueberries or sliced peaches would be a great swap for strawberries, and you could even use finely chopped broccoli in place of the kale.
- Go plant-based: simply omit the feta crumbles or use a plant-based version.
- Pick a cheese: on the other hand, I think this kale salad would be delicious with goat cheese or a sprinkle of grated parmesan.
- Add your fav crunch: feel free to use toasted sliced almonds in place of the pistachios.
Our favorite ways to add protein
Looking to make this strawberry kale salad a little heartier? Try adding:
- Cooked, chopped bacon for a savory, salty flavor.
- Grilled chicken breasts or my honey mustard chicken for a true summer flavor.
- Delicious maple glazed salmon or grilled shrimp marinated in extra cilantro lime dressing would be amazing.
- Grilled shrimp – feel free to marinade in extra cilantro lime dressing!
- One can of chickpeas keep the salad vegetarian
Don’t forget to prep your kale
Kale can be a tough green to enjoy when it’s completely raw, so don’t forget these simple tips for prepping it!
- Chop it small. Be sure to chop it very finely so that the bites aren’t too large. Use a sharp knife or salad chopper, or pulse the kale a few times in a food processor.
- Massage it. Add the cilantro lime dressing to the kale by itself first and toss it all together really well. You can even do this with your hands and “massage” the dressing so that all of the kale is well coated.
- Let it marinate. That’s right, you’ll want to let the dressed kale sit for at least 15 minutes before adding the other toppings so that it soaks up all of the flavor. It makes all the difference.
Make it ahead of time
Looking to meal prep this summer kale salad? I recommend making the dressing, chopping up the kale, cutting corn off of the cob and slicing the strawberries & red onion, then storing all of those separately in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, prep your kale and add everything together with the avocado, feta and pistachios.
How to store this salad
This summer kale salad will stay good in the fridge for about 1-3 days in an airtight container.
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I hope you love this summer glow strawberry kale salad! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!
Summer Glow Strawberry Kale Salad
Beautiful summer kale salad tossed with fresh strawberries, sweet corn, creamy avocado and a delicious cilantro lime dressing. This fresh chopped kale salad is wonderful as-is and the perfect base for your favorite proteins! Enjoy as a seasonal side dish or lunch all summer long.
For the dressing:
1 batch cilantro lime dressing
For the salad:
6 cups finely chopped kale, stems removed
1 heaping cup halved strawberries
1 avocado, sliced or diced
1 cup corn, raw, grilled or sauteed (I prefer raw off the cob or grilled)
1/2 cup feta crumbles
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
1/4 cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios (or sub toasted sliced almonds)
Optional protein add-ins:
8 ounces bacon, optional
2 grilled chicken breasts
First make your cilantro lime dressing. You can find the recipe here.
Add your finely chopped kale to a bowl. Remember you want to REALLY chop the kale very well. Pour the dressing over the kale and use tongs or clean hands to massage the dressing into the kale; you REALLY want to get it mixed well, so toss together for a few minutes to help break down the kale. Allow the dressing to sit with the kale for 15 minutes or longer to help the kale marinate with the dressing.
Finally add your strawberries, avocado, corn, feta crumbles, sliced red onion, pistachios to the bowl with the kale. Give it a gentle toss with tongs to combine everything. Serves 4. Salad will keep well in the fridge for 1-3 days.
To make vegan: leave off feta or use a plant based feta crumble.
If you want to make this a full meal or more heartier, I suggest adding some chicken or salmon. My honey mustard chicken or maple glazed salmon would be amazing with this salad. I also think bacon adds a nice salty element to the salad.
Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 serving (based on 4)
Saturated fat: 5.6g
Recipe by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats
This post was originally published on July 9th, 2021, and republished on June 10th, 2022.