Garden Fresh Crunchy Kale Salad with Cranberries 14

This crunchy kale salad with cranberries is great as a side dish or light lunch. With options for gluten free and paleo tweaks, this kale salad with cranberries will fit most any diet plan. It’s a great lunch or side dish salad.

kale salad with cranberries in a white bowl

A couple of years ago a lovely woman named Pua introduced me to a kale salad with cranberries that I fell in love with – and I don’t love kale.

As I watched her make the salad, she shared the recipe with me in a “little of this, little of that” kind of way.

I made a big batch of it today, duplicating her instructions, and noted the measurements so that I could share.

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Massaged kale salad with cranberries

Why massage the kale? It may be counterintuitive, but massaging the sturdy kale leaves makes them more palatable.

Massaged kale salad has still got a nice crunch to it — it’s just a little bit more…relaxed.

Measuring optional

If you cook by feel, I totally recommend that you just eyeball the amount of ingredients. This is not a finicky recipe at all.

The finished salad has a lovely earthy flavor and I find that I crave it.

If I have it made in the fridge I keep going back for “just a bit more.” But there’s nothing wrong with snacking on kale all day, right? Especially if it’s straight from the garden!

★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

4 from 1 vote
Massaged Kale Salad with Cranberries
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
10 mins

Cranberries help offset the bitterness of kale in this salad.

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 229 kcal
Author: Kris Bordessa
  • 12 curly kale leaves
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 T. Bragg's Liquid Aminos (Substitute coconut aminos if you're gluten free) 
  • 1/2 very ripe avocado
  • 1/2-3/4 cup of add-ins: sunflower seeds, pepitos, dried cranberries, nuts - whatever you like
  • 1-2 T. feta cheese (optional)
  1. Remove the stem from the kale leaves. Thoroughly wash and dry the leaves, then tear them into bite sized pieces.
  2. Place leaves in a big bowl along with the olive oil. Lomi - or massage - the kale leaves. 

  3. Add the lemon juice and Bragg's; lomi some more. Add the avocado; lomi more. The avocado will add a bit of creaminess to the salad. Toss in the remaining ingredients.

Recipe Notes

The add-ins are totally flexible. Try various nuts, different dried fruit, a bit of nutritional yeast, fresh slices of apple; really, the only limit here is your imagination.


More ways to use kale

  • Try these roasted vegetables with kale.
  • Saute the leaves with a bit of olive oil and garlic until they’re tender, then add eggs for a breakfast scramble. I use two leaves for three eggs. No use overdoing it and making everyone hate kale.
  • Stir into marinara sauce. Kale disappears beautifully in marinara sauce – I use 6-8 leaves for a big stock pot. The people who don’t love kale don’t even know it’s there.
  • Ditto for soups. I’ve stirred it into minestrone style vegetable soups and cream based chowders with equal success.
  • Add two or three leaves to a green salad.
  • Toss several leaves into the pot when you’re making chicken or beef stock.
  • Add a leaf or two to fruit smoothies.
  • Make these savory muffins with kale and chive.
Beyond the subversive use of kale, we love kale chips. Really. I originally just massaged torn leaves with olive oil and sea salt and dried them in a low oven. Yummy, yes, but then I discovered a recipe for cheesy kale chips and ho boy. Serious snack attack.
This crunchy kale salad with cranberries is great as a side dish or light lunch. Bonus points if the kale comes from your garden! With options for gluten free and paleo tweaks, this massaged kale salad with cranberries will fit most any diet plan. It's a great lunch or side dish salad. #recipe #healthy #eatlocal

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