Strangely Addictive Almond Butter & Kale Salad

I don’t claim to be a trend-setter. I’ve been late to the party with everything from raw buckwheat groat cereal to green smoothies. Raw kale salad is the next recipe on that list.

I only wish I had started making (and eating) this ages ago. Using the ANDI score system for nutrient density developed by Dr. Fuhrman and used by Whole Foods market, kale and collards share the #1 spot. Even though nutrient density is really important to me, I gotta be honest: if I don’t like how it tastes, I ain’t gonna eat it. Or, at least, I’m not going to be happy about it.

But, this recipe for kale salad make me happy. Hence, the name, Strangely Addictive Almond Butter & Kale Salad.

For the record, I was inspired by Chef AJ’s Hail to the Kale salad recipe. You can watch the video on YouTube here. I made my salad following her recipe the first time, but I found it to be a bit too rich and salty. So, I adjusted some of the ingredients and proportions to lighten it up a bit without compromising the addictiveness, I mean, flavor.

To make my life even easier, I used a 10 ounce bag of pre-washed kale from Trader Joe’s. You could use one large bunch of curly kale if you prefer, but you’ll need to wash the leaves and dry them well before adding the dressing.

The deliciousness of this particular recipe comes from the combination of sweet and sour/salty. At this point, I could eat it every day. Another key element is using scissors to work the dressing into the leaves. This helps tenderize the kale while ensuring each leaf is well-coated.

I’ve been packing up this salad to take on my recent trips to Portland and Seattle. I’ve had a few comments on how wonderful is smells from people on the planes. Sorry, I didn’t have enough to share! This one I served over cooked quinoa and topped with some chopped onions:

Do you have any variations of kale salad that you make? Do you love it as much as I do? 


  1. says

    Wow-this sounds awesome! I love almond butter on salads…but I don’t know if I’ve ever told anyone that b/c I just thought I was being weird 🙂
    I also love tahini on salads—I usually put all my ingredients in a tupperware with a lid and then just shake it really hard so everything mixes and coats. The sweet, salty, bitter mixture is SO good!

    • says

      Thanks Cathy! I’ve tried a kale salad with those flavors, too and it was delicious. This one has the sweetness of the almond butter and I can’t tell you how much I like it. Let me know if/when you try it!

      • Eva says

        thanks for both ideas. I never made it at home but I have tried several versions at restaurants.

        A comment: try NO to use kale (or anything) in PLASTIC bags. Not because there is something bad to the vegetable but because of the ENVIRONMENT. I read about the terrible problem that we humans are creating by using pre-washed vegetables in plastic bags or containers. You may want to look into it and its consequences to the environment.
        I used to use the pre-washed salad in plastic containers… not anymore. I went back to the “good old days”: wash your food and eat organic (and less).
        Besides, washing your vegetables and fruits yourself creates a connection between you and your food. It is nice.

        Again, thanks for the ideas! I will try them at home.

  2. Accidental says

    We just made this tonight – we omitted the vinegar and hemp seeds as we didn’t have any – and it turned out awesome! The dressing is amazing. Our 8 year old daughter even loved it and ate a whole bowl.

    • says

      Oh thank you so much for letting me know! It’s so nice to know that there are parents out there feeding kids wholesome, health-promoting foods. I get a little discouraged sometimes reading about what a lot of kids are eating these days and their resulting health problems. Good job!!!

  3. Ginny says

    Oh how good does that look!! Kale is one of those veggies that once you’ve had it, you can’t keep from going back (and finding even more ways of using it)! Looks like a great recipe – gonna try it for sure!! 🙂 Oh how good does that look!! Kale is one of those food that once you’ve had it, you can’t keep from going back (and finding even more ways of using it)! Looks like a great recipe – gonna try it for sure!! 🙂

    • says

      Thanks Ginny! I can’t remember if I replied to your comment or not. I’m glad the commenting feature is working for you again. Let me know if you make the kale salad, it is soooo yummy and I’d be curious to know if your daughter likes it, too.

    • says

      Kale has to be prepared right otherwise I don’t like it. In fact, the only way I can eat it is blended into a fruit smoothie or mixed with another strong flavor like the almond butter dressing.

  4. says

    This recipe sounds amazing. I like to massage kale with avocado and add a little lemon juice, and then top with veggies. That’s good, too, but I bet not as good as this. I also like to make kale chips (tahini, garlic, lemon) in my dehydrator. Those are addictive!

    Can I ask…? What do you mean by “using scissors to work the dressing into the leaves”? I always use my hands to massage my kale when making kale salads.

    • says

      Hi Angela! Sometimes I use my kitchen scissors to chop the kale leaves which breaks the leaves apart while at the same time incorporating the dressing. It’s the lazy way of doing it when I also don’t feel like getting my hands dirty. 🙂

  5. Jennifer says

    Made it last night – didnt have dates or hemp seeds on hand. Added ground flax in place of hemp. Really good!! Enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing this recipe!


  6. Bethany says

    This is the third time I have made this salad…I absolutely love it! Thank you so much for sharing such delicious and nutritious recipes, Carrie!

  7. says

    Forget the salad – the SAUCE! I can just eat it. Mmmm… the first time I made it according to the recipe and it was heavenly; the second time I made it, I started with almonds and no hemp seeds as I’d run out of both almond butter and hemp seeds, and added a bit of sesame oil for an Asian touch. Equally as delish. Thank you!!

    • says

      No kidding Annette, I could eat just the dressing, too! Chef AJ suggested making kale chips with this dressing which I have yet to try but I think would be wonderful.

  8. Baltimore says

    Hi Carrie- I am new to your blog but I LOVE it so far. I made this over the weekend and I thought it was sooo yummy but it made a ton of dressing despite the fact that I cut down the Almond butter and even subbed some of the AB with tahini. I had no other kale on hand so I added shredded carrots and raw beets in. Colors were amazing. Next time I will add the dressing as I go along and adjust it accordingly.

    One quick question – what is the difference between your Vitamix and your juicer? Also what type of Vitamix do you have and why? I am looking for one but they have so many different versions and I was not sure. Thanks!

    • says

      Wow, thanks for the really sweet comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the kale salad. To answer you question, a juicer extracts the juice from the pulp and fiber, but a Vitamix blends it all together. So, each appliance serves a very different function. My Vitamix is the 5200, but there is really just one basic model. The add-on models would be a smaller container or the dry blade. I would suggest just getting the basic model, it costs around $400 in the US. Feel free to send any other questions my way! 🙂

  9. Ashley says

    Sounds yummy! My favorite way to eat kale is to steam it with zucchini and serve it over warmed quinoa and garbanzo beans with Bragg’s Liquid Aminos..I could eat it every single day, so good!

  10. Devon says

    I know this is an “oldie”- but I wanted to let you know that I made it for a church gathering and had several requests for the recipe from non-vegetarians! It’s SO good!


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