Kale Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing

January 12, 2022     Updated May 4, 2022    Jump to Recipe

kale salad

This vegan Kale Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing is quick, easy, & filling. Make it for a light, healthy lunch, or to complete any dinner.

Words cannot express how easy it is to make this kale salad.

Kale

Cashews

Croutons

Creamy Cilantro Dressing

The cashews are toasted, and the croutons and dressing are homemade.

But this kale salad still requires next to zero effort.

kale salad

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.

Creamy Cilantro Dressing

A note on 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.

In my creamy cilantro dressing, the cilantro isn’t a prominent flavor.  Combined with the lime, it really just makes for a fresh, tangy dressing that is completely versatile.  I serve this dressing on salads with meals ranging from Mexican to Italian, and it always matches.  

kale salad

Make This Kale Salad!

Make my Easy Kale Salad with Creamy 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.

One Thing!

Good olive oil makes a world of difference, particularly when it comes to dressings and sauces.  This creamy 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.

kale salad
5 from 1 vote

Kale Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing

This vegan Kale Salad with Creamy Cilantro Dressing is quick, easy, & filling. Make it for a light, healthy lunch, or to complete any dinner.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Servings: 3
Print Recipe

Ingredients

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
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, minced

Everything else:

  • ½ cup cashew pieces, raw
  • 3 cups shredded kale, or more to preference

Instructions

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 creamy.
  • Now add the cilantro and lime juice, and whisk until the cilantro is completely incorporated.
  • 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

  • You can use whatever amount of kale you want. I find 3 cups of kale is a good amount to make this salad a side for 2-3 people, or lunch for two. I prefer a ratio of 2-3 Tbsp of dressing per 3 cups of kale.
  • 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.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes

This kale salad is vegan and vegetarian.
This kale salad is gluten-free if you omit the croutons, or use gluten-free bread to make the croutons.
There will be leftover dressing. Use it to make this salad with more kale, or to make this salad again later in the week.  Leftover dressing is also a great dip for extra croutons or crusty bread.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. David @ Spiced

    5 stars
    Oh, that dressing sounds fantastic…and easy! We’ve been eating a lot of soups and salads lately, and this sounds like a fun way to mix things up. I’ve never been on the kale train, but I’m willing to try again with your tip about massaging dressing into the kale. I like the big flavors you’ve got going on…nothing boring in this one!!

    1. Shannon

      Thanks David! Definitely give massaging the dressing into the kale a try, you’ll be amazed at the textural difference it makes.

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