Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette and Walnuts

Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette and Walnuts
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Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette and Walnuts

To me, a festive holiday table requires a beautiful salad. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, a dinner party, or Christmas dinner, a bit of bright green and red adds a fresh touch to the plate.

I turn to kale salad because it assembles quickly and the leaves are more hearty than your standard mixed greens. This allows the salad to sit on the table or buffet for a couple of hours without wilting. I chose Lacinato kale for this salad due to its hearty leaf and curvy texture. You can change up this salad by using other fruits, nuts or seeds.

Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette and Walnuts

Serving Size: Serves 8

Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette and Walnuts

Adapted from Fine Cooking. If you prefer to eat cooked kale to avoid excess goitrogens, then you can sauté the kale in some olive oil until slightly wilted, cool to room temp and then toss with the dressing and other ingredients.


  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion

  • 1/2 cup cranberries

  • 2 oranges, divided
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

  • 2 teaspoons raw honey
3/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bunches Lacinato Kale, thick end stems removed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Place red onion in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside. Place cranberries in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 12-15 times until finely chopped.

Using a sharp knife, place 1 orange on it's end and carefully cut the skin off. Then turn orange on it's side and thinly slice. Place orange slices in a salad bowl.

Cut the other orange in half and using one half, squeeze out 1 tablespoon of juice into a measuring cup. Whisk in red wine vinegar, ginger, honey, sea salt and olive oil. Stir in cranberries. Cut remaining half of orange into thin slices and add to the salad bowl (or you can store it for later use).

Place kale and walnuts in salad with sliced orange slices. Drain the onions and add to salad bowl. Pour vinaigrette over kale mixture and toss about 10 times until the leaves are glistening. Let salad sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.

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  1. Sharon Nagel

    I made this last night scaling it to a single portion for just me. What a great way to eat Kale! It is a nice combination of flavors that really pop! I made it again this morning in a double portion (for just me because it is so good) for lunch. I do chop the Kale in the food processor. It does not present as well as your beautiful photo, but I find it easier to eat as a Kale newbie.

  2. karen

    Honestly, this is one of my favorite salads. I never knew how good kale could be once it marinated for an hour in the dressing, the flavor enhanced, the bitterness gone, and still slightly crunchy. This process alone makes a world of difference in how a kale salad tastes, I know because I tried it once without the wait and it wasn’t nearly as good as the second time around with the wait. It’s amazing! I used curley kale and it was grrrreat!

  3. Sabina Mazac

    This looks delicious!! A couple questions:

    1. I’m so glad someone brought up the cranberries as I just assumed they were dried cranberries. So with them being fresh, is this a really tart salad?
    2. Why did you cover the onions in water? I assume it’s a great cooking tip, but didn’t know what it was for. :-)

  4. Kelly

    Just made this for dinner tonight. I have never made a salad with full grown kale before. It was delicious. I was skeptical about the raw onions, but they marinated in the dressing and were so good . The salad wasn’t too tart- the OJ and honey sweetened it up and the olive oil mellowed it out. Thanks, Carrie, for a great recipe. I have your cookbook on my Christmas list!

  5. Erin

    I am confused. I just read this post on your blog last night. “Why You Shouldn’t Eat Raw Kale and the Perfect Green Smoothie Recipe.”
    Do you eat raw kale now? What are we supposed to think when we see conflicting info on your blog? Not trying to be rude, just wAnt to know for Heath reasons.


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