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What To Serve With Kale Salad

by Heather

The number of kale salad recipes here on Fit Mama Real Food is in abundance and for good reason – kale is hearty, healthy, and delicious! Today I’m sharing what to serve with kale salad – from healthy protein toppings to great sides to round out your veggie-forward meal. If you’re new to kale salad, I’ll also share my favorite kale salad recipes so that you can get your kale salad on!

Kale Crunch Salad

What to serve with kale salad

Kale salad holds a special place in my heart, and on my plate.

Kale is SO good for you, but if you’ve ever tried kale without giving it a good massage, or even raw (not my fav), you may not know what all the fuss is about.

A good massaged kale salad using curly kale, massaged with a little lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper is a fantastic place to start.

The important step is to massage with your hands to make the kale leaves tender and delicious!

It also become easier to digest when you massage with a little acid to break it down slightly.

what to serve with kale salad - toppings

What to serve with kale salad – toppings

Now that we’ve chatted about where to start, let’s chat about toppings for kale salad!

Protein

After you have your base with a simply dressed kale salad or a special dressing made for kale salad, you need toppings.

Here are 5 favorite protein options for kale salad.

Chicken

Grilled or sautéed chicken breast is a healthy and delicious choice to add to any salad. It’s high in protein and the flavor of it can be customized to what you’d like.

Chicken thighs are a tasty addition too, and offer a great protein boost!

Steak

Have you ever added flank steak onto your salad? So yummy!

There are many different cuts of steak that you can choose from. Using leftover steak to add to your salad is a good choice.

When adding steak onto a salad, I like to cut it into bite size pieces to make it easy to eat.

Turkey

Lean and protein packed, turkey is a fantastic protein choice to add to your next kale salad bowl.

Whether it’s leftover turkey from thanksgiving, or taking some deli turkey and dicing it into small pieces, it’s an easy choice the next time you need a good protein source.

Seafood

Salmon, shrimp, tuna, and sardines are all simple ingredients you can find at the grocery store that are a great way to add protein to your next salad.

Canned options make it easy to add seafood into your diet.

Beans

Crispy chickpeas make my kale crunch salad come to life, and give it a great protein boost. Black beans and pinto beans are another favorite bean option to add to salads.

Lentils, also part of the legume family, make a great addition to any simple kale salad.

Asian Chopped Salad

Crunchy veggies

More veggies make salads more fun!

Adding extra crunchy veggies into the mix can give your kale salad more texture and dimension. It makes it more fun, and nutritious too!

Don’t be limited by this list – add whatever you have on hand and have fun with it!

  • Shaved brussels sprouts
  • Diced red onion
  • Fresh bell peppers
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Diced cucumber
  • Fresh or roasted broccoli
  • Herbs like cilantro, basil, mint, and parsley

Fat and flavor

Fat and flavor make meals more fun. Adding fat is an easy way, along with protein, to help us to feel fuller longer. Feeling satiated is a great trait when eating a salad.

Here’s a list of my favorite fats to add to kale salad:

  • Avocado
  • Cheese (both hard kinds of cheese like parmesan cheese, and soft cheese like goat cheese are great additions!)
  • Olives
  • Nuts (like walnuts, pecans, pistachios, peanuts, pine nuts, and cashews)
  • Seeds (like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hemp hearts)

Flavor boosts can come in so many different forms. I love how nuts, seeds, and fresh and dried fruit add a whole new layer of flavors to a dish.

Here are a list of my favorite flavor boosters:

  • Nuts (like walnuts, pecans, pistachios, peanuts, pine nuts, and cashews)
  • Seeds (like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hemp hearts)
  • Dried fruits (like raisins, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried currants, and dried blueberries)
  • Fresh fruit (like berries, stone fruit, apples, pears, and citrus)
Strawberry Kale Salad recipe

What to serve with kale salad – sides

Let your kale salad be the star and round it out with a healthy side dish or two.

Here are family favorite sides we love to enjoy along with a healthy fresh kale salad.

Cranberry Hazelnut Kale Salad with Turmeric Vinaigrette

Health benefits of kale

Kale is an easy way to add so much nutrition into your meal. Here’s what makes this leafy green something that should be included in your regular rotation of veggies.

  • antioxidant related health benefits (kale is super high in carotenoids and flavonoids – both antioxidant groups help reduce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation)
  • anti-inflammatory related health benefits (kale is high in vitamin K which helps regulate the body’s inflammatory process)
  • cancer preventative benefits (helps reduce the risk of colon, breast, bladder, prostate and ovarian cancer)
  • cardiovascular related support via kale’s cholesterol-lowering ability
  • helps to detox the body
  • lots of fiber – helps you poop!

The best part? It’s delicious and versatile!

Kale Pomegranate Salad

Favorite kale salads

I love a good easy kale salad recipe, and you will too! All of these delicious kale salad recipes are easy to make, use basic ingredients, and have lots of different flavors to choose from.

Wondering which is the best kale salad?

My go to I keep coming back to for an easy lunch, or a dinner party is the cranberry kale salad. It’s perfect for holiday gatherings too!

Kale Pomegranate Salad

Flavorful dressing for kale salad

My favorite recipes for salad dressing and vinaigrettes are below!

Do you have any favorite kale recipes? What do you like to serve with kale salad?

If you try any of these recipes or kale salad toppings, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below, or a star rating and comment in the recipe’s blog post letting me know how it turned out!

XO

Heather

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