Words cannot express how easy it is to make this kale salad.
The cashews are toasted, and the croutons and dressing are homemade.
But this kale salad still requires next to zero effort.
My Favorite Kale Salad Tip
I eat kale a lot. It definitely ranks among my top five leafy greens.
I don’t know many people who feel ambivalent about kale: most everyone I know loves it, or hates it.
If you hate kale, I’ve got a simple trick that may make you love it. And if you love kale and don’t do this trick already, this will make you love kale even more.
My simple trick: massage the dressing into the kale.
That’s it. The easiest step ever, and yet it makes a huge difference. Kale is so hearty, it stands up to dressing well. And the flavor and texture of kale greatly benefits from the added moisture of a good dressing.
I’ve become really picky about salad dressing. So much so that I can’t consume store-bought dressing anymore.
High maintenance, I know.
But it really is so easy to make your own, and the result is worth the (minimal) effort.
My cilantro dressing is versatile. The cilantro, lime, garlic powder, Vegenaise (or mayonnaise if you’re not vegan), and olive oil combine to make a fresh, tangy dressing that goes with just about any meal. I serve this dressing on salads with meals ranging from Mexican to Italian, and it always matches.
Make This Kale Salad!
Make my easy Kale Salad with Cilantro Dressing the next time you need a light, but still filling lunch. Or serve it with something like my 30 Minute Pasta Pomodoro (pictured), to complete a dinner. It’s a delicious way to get more kale into your life.
Good olive oil makes a world of difference, particularly when it comes to dressings and sauces. This cilantro dressing is no different. Here’s my favorite olive oil on Amazon, straight from the Greek olive groves of the Panagiotopoulos family [aff. link]. I use it to make all my dressings and sauces.
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Kale Salad with Cilantro Dressing
For the croutons:
- 3 cups cubed ciabatta bread, about ¾ inch size cubes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp onion powder
For the dressing:
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 Tbsp Vegenaise, (or mayonnaise if you prefer/are not vegan)
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
- 4-5 tsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
- ½ cup cashew pieces, raw
- 3-8 cups shredded kale
Make the croutons
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- In a small mixing bowl, toss together the cubed ciabatta bread, sea salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and olive oil.
- Spread the coated ciabatta cubes out on a baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Take the baking sheet out of the oven, toss the bread cubes with a spatula, then bake for an additional 3 minutes.
- Take the croutons out of the oven, and let them cool. Croutons are done.
Make the dressing
- While the croutons bake, make the dressing.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sea salt, garlic powder, and Vegenaise until the olive oil and Vegenaise come together. The mixture should be smooth and slightly creamy.
- Now add the cilantro. Whisk until the cilantro is completely incorporated.
- Last, add the lime juice. Start with 4 tsp, and whisk to incorporate. Taste, and add an additional tsp of lime juice if desired. It will make the dressing a little more tangy.
- Let the dressing sit for ten minutes. Dressing is done.
Toast the cashews
- Put the cashews in a skillet over medium heat, and toast for 5 minutes, until the cashews are lightly browned. Shake the skillet occasionally to keep the nuts from burning.
Compile the salad
- Note: this salad can be made with up to 8 cups of kale. I find that 3 cups of kale is a good amount to make this salad a side for 2 people, or a meal for 1. I prefer a ratio of 2-3 Tbsp of dressing per 3 cups of kale. (With this dressing ratio, a large, 6-8 cups of kale salad would use all the dressing.)
- Place 3 cups of kale in a large mixing bowl, and drizzle 2 Tbsp of dressing over the top. With clean hands, gently massage the dressing into the kale, until the leaves are coated and shiny.
- Taste, and add another 1 Tbsp of dressing, if desired.
- Now toss in the roasted cashews.
- You can toss in the croutons at this point, or serve them on top of each individual salad. Or you can do both.