overhead shot of sweet potato kale salad

The Year-Round Kale Salad (with almond butter vinaigrette!)

This easy kale salad, made with ingredients easily grown and found year-round, will become your new go-to lunch. Gluten-free/easily vegan!

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overhead shot of sweet potato kale salad

I call this the Year-Round Kale Salad because it’s made with ingredients that are in season (pretty much) year-round in North Carolina. It’s an easy go-to lunch that I make whenever I’m in a rut or unsure of what else to make. It’s nourishing, satisfying, and keeps beautifully in the fridge for a few days thanks to that hearty kale!

Kale Salad Ingredients

Kale: I used classic green kale for this recipe, but Lacinato (aka dinosaur kale) or red kale are also lovely options.

Sweet Potatoes: Did you know that North Carolina is the #1 grower of sweet potatoes in the United States and produces more than 40 percent of the country’s sweet potatoes? Well, now you do! These babies are grown year-round here and given that they are one of my fave foods ever, I am quite pleased by this.

Chickpeas: I love to roast up a can of chickpeas with the sweet potatoes for some added protein and fiber.

Olive Oil, Garlic Powder, and Sea Salt: To toss with the sweet potatoes and chickpeas so they get roasty and toasty.

Dried Cranberries: For a bit of sweetness and texture.

Sunflower Seeds: For some crunch and depth of flavor. Roasted and salted is my preference!

Feta Cheese: For tangy umami goodness. If you’re vegan or dairy free, simply opt for plant-based feta or omit!

Almond Butter Vinaigrette Ingredients

Olive Oil: The highest quality you can afford is best here.

Almond Butter: Roasted and salted is ideal here! Trader Joe’s and Wild Friends are my fave brands.

Apple Cider Vinegar: I’ve tried this dressing with a number of vinegars, and good ol’ ACV is my favorite, but white or red wine vinegar would be beautiful too!

Water: Start with a couple tablespoons and add more as needed to thin.

Maple Syrup: For a splash of sweetness!

Dijon Mustard: For tangy, spicy deliciousness.

Garlic: Because duh.

Salt and Pep: To round everything out.

kale salad in a pink bowl

How to Make Kale Salad Taste Good

I know we’ve all had salads that make us think we hate kale. You know, the ones with brutally tough and hard to swallow kale? No thanks. The secret to delicious kale is simple: massage it! Simply season it with a pinch of salt and massage with your hands until it wilts some and becomes softer to the touch. You may notice it become a more vibrant green and shrink some in volume, too. If you really want to be an overachiever, add a splash of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. No more painful kale salads for you!

I hope you love my fave Year-Round Kale Salad and it becomes a meal prep staple for you, too! If you give this recipe a try, be sure to leave a rating and review. That encourages others to give it a try. I’m also on Pinterest and Instagram. It makes my day to hear from you!

More Amazing Salads

kale salad in large wooden bowl
overhead shot of sweet potato kale salad

The Year-Round Kale Salad

This easy kale salad, made with ingredients easily grown and found year-round, will become your new go-to lunch. Gluten-free/easily vegan!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course, Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Equipment

  • High Speed Blender optional
  • Baking Sheet

Ingredients
  

The Sweet Potatoes and Chickpeas:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt

The Almond Butter Vinaigrette:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp water plus more as needed to thin
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

The Rest:

  • 1 large bunch of green kale stems removed and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • pinch of sea salt
  • cup dried cranberries
  • cup roasted and salted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup feta cheese or plant-based feta cheese crumbled

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400° F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Toss the sweet potatoes and chickpeas in olive oil, garlic powder, and sea salt and spread out on sheet pan, making sure no pieces are touching. Roast for 25-30 minutes, or until your sweet potatoes are tender and golden brown at the edges and the chickpeas are roasted but not completely crispy.
  • While the veggies are roasting, make your dressing. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute to ensure everything is well-combined and emulsified. Alternatively, you could place all ingredients in a mason jar with lid tightly shut and shake until all ingredients are well-combined.
  • Sprinkle the kale with a pinch of sea salt and massage until it takes on a more vibrant green color, has softened, and shrunk in volume somewhat. This process softens the fibers of the kale, making it easier to digest and way more delicious.
  • Assemble your salad! Pour your almond butter dressing over the massaged kale and toss to combine. Top with the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and feta cheese and toss once more until everything is well-distributed. Portion into 4 bowls and ENJOY!

Notes

Storage: Kale is a hearty green and this marinated salad will keep, refrigerated, in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 
To Make Vegan/Dairy-Free: Substitute plant-based feta or omit.
To Make Nut-Free: Replace almond butter with sunflower seed butter or tahini.
Keyword almond butter, dairy-free, gluten free, healthy, kale, kale salad, nut-free, sweet potato salad, sweet potatoes, vegan, vegetarian

Photography by Hope Agresti

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