Luann’s Kale Salad


Luann’s Kale Salad is a crunchy, sweet, savory and delicious way to eat your greens!

There’s something about a personalized recipe title that always makes me sit up and pay attention. It’s like saying, this recipe is so good we’re going to honor the genius that came up with it by naming the dang thing after him or her!

(Past honorees featured on this blog include Grandpa’s Pasta Salad, Grandma’s Holiday Salad, and Judy’s Baked Beans (still don’t know who Judy is, btw.))

To me it also indicates that a dish has been tested and perfected to the point where someone’s willing to attach a friend or family member’s name to it, and share the deliciousness with the masses. Shout about it from the rooftops, even!

Make Luann’s Kale Salad! ← Just like that.

Luann is a dear friend of my Mom’s whom I have known for years. She is incredibly sweet and supportive of my blog and thought her ultra-healthy and delicious recipe for Kale Salad screamed Kristin!, so she sent it my way to try. Luann usually makes it for parties where she says people inhale plate after plate. Um…sign me up!

One bite of the hearty kale salad tossed with crispy apples, sweet dried cherries, salty peanuts, and zesty red onions, and I screamed Hallelujah! Luann’s Kale Salad is a MUST. TRY!

Start with a big bunch of kale. Give it a rinse and pat or spin dry, then tear the leaves off the thick steam and into bite-sized pieces. Did you know kale is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet? It’s true. Very high in antioxidants, calcium, and fiber. All the more reason to love Luann’s Kale Salad!

Place the kale into a big bowl, then add a sprinkling of salt and start massaging the leaves (ooh la la!) For real, you need to massage kale when eating it raw to break the leaves down a bit, making them easier to chew.

Two minutes(ish) later, the kale will be tender, dark green, and reduced by about 1/3 in volume.

Topping time! First add 1/4 cup minced red onion, then1/2 cup dried cherries. Dried cranberries or craisins would also work if you don’t have dried cherries on hand.

Next add 1 chopped apple and 1/4 cup chopped peanuts. You could use almonds, walnuts, or even sunflower seeds here instead. I started adding peanuts to my salads a couple years ago though, and have never looked back. Try it sometime!

K. Salad’s done – time to make a 30 second vinaigrette to drizzle on top. Simply whisk together 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (the best stuff you have) with 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl.

Season with a little pepper (already have salt in the greens from the massage step) then pour over the kale, and toss everything to combine.

3 cheers for Luann!

Luann’s Kale Salad

Serves 2 as a light lunch or supper, or makes a big bowl for a party


Luann's Kale Salad is a crunchy, sweet, savory and delicious way to eat your greens!


  • 1 bunch kale
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries OR 1 cup fresh pomegranate arils
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, chopped (could use walnuts, almonds or sunflower seeds)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Pepper


  1. Wash kale, then tear leaves from tough stems and pat dry. Cut or tear leaves into bite sized pieces then add to a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and massage with fingers for two minutes, or until kale is dark green and tender. Add red onion, dried cherries (or pomegranate arils,) chopped apple, and peanuts, then toss to combine.
  2. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, and pepper to taste in a small bowl or jar. Whisk or shake to combine then drizzle over kale salad and toss well.

This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats,

I just love the variety of textures – chewy to crispy – and flavors – sweet to spicy – in this dish. Honest to goodness, it’s one of the best salads I’ve ever had!

My only regret is that I didn’t get the recipe sooner! I would have eaten it all summer long using the kale from my garden, but luckily it grows well into the fall, which means this salad will definitely become a lunchtime staple for at least the next couple of months.

Hope you’ll give Luann’s Kale Salad a try – and pass it on!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Camara 09.05.2012

    this looks delicious! do you have an idea of how long it may last in the fridge? i’m thinking about making it for several lunches.

  2. marnie 09.05.2012

    i agree..peanuts MAKE the kale salad!!! i use apple cider vinegar and thats good too! add some red pepper….YES!!!

  3. Lauren 09.05.2012

    Kale is the forgotten green in salads. It’s always so delicious though, especially how it can hold up to dressings so well. I love that it actually absorbs everything and longer it sits rather than getting all soggy and gross like most greens. This looks awesome lady!

  4. Nicole 09.05.2012

    Mmm … looks delicious! Some canned chickpeas would be great in this salad, too.

  5. Thanks to Luann AND you Kristen for sharing this recipe… looks great! Kale is one of my favorite greens!

  6. Yum! Our aunt makes amazing chocolate and butterscotch rice crispy bars. We gave them the name “Brenda Bars”. This recipe looks A LOT healthier though! :)


  7. Sandy 09.05.2012

    This looks wonderful….and my son has a never ending supply of kale in his garden that I’m always looking for ways to use. Usually just put it into my smoothies so anxious to try your recipe.

  8. julia 09.05.2012

    mmmm looks delish! thanks!


  9. I haven’t made many kale salads but this looks scrumptious! Love the addition of apples and dried cherries – 2 of my favorite salad ingredients! Nice job Luann! ;)

  10. I love making kale salads. Even my husband, who doesn’t usually like kale, loves them.

  11. This will definitely be getting an attempt from me. Trader Joe’s had bagged kale, so that brings the work down significantly.

  12. Lisa Goodnight 09.06.2012

    Love your blog, Kristen! When you say to use the best olive oil on hand, I usually just have a bottle of “light” olive oil in the pantry. What is the difference between all of the variations of olive oil? Thanks!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.12.2012

      Sorry, I should have clarified! I just meant the best quality of extra virgin olive oil you have, since it’s being used raw in the dressing!

  13. bmrobertson63 09.06.2012

    What is the matter with me that I look at this salad and it just screams, “Add bacon to me!”? I am planning to attempt this salad very soon; it will be my introduction to kale. Thanks!

  14. Luann 09.06.2012

    Holy wow I’m famous!! You just made my day putting up my recipe Kristin!! I feel so honored. Guess I was right when I felt like it just screamed Kristin to me. Have to admit I was a little worried making it the first time since I knew virtually nothing about kale other than that it is good for you. One bite though and I was hooked. Just curious if you omitted the bleu cheese sprinkled on top for a reason. Maybe too strong? Don’t like? Again, I’m not really a big fan of bleu cheese but it was really good mixed with the flavors of the rest of the ingredients. Feta works good too according to my friend.
    Anyway, thanks again so much for the recognition. I walked into the office today and told them to not all rush in at once but I would be willing to take requests for my autograph in my office. Your mom died laughing.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.12.2012

      Luann, it was seriously soooo delicious! I was actually going to use feta (because I hate bleu cheese) but I forgot it and thought the salad was amazing without! I should add it in the ingredient list though, to make match the *true* original recipe. :)

  15. Kiki 09.06.2012

    My mouth is watering.

  16. Christie 09.06.2012

    This salad looks fab — will definitely give it a try! I just ventured out to try kale for the first time yesterday in a smoothie, and I liked it. Now I need to venture on to salads…

  17. I’ve never tried Kale but this looks like an awesome way to start!

  18. Lisa 09.06.2012

    I love kale salads; thanks for the recipe! Putting the ingredients on my list.

  19. Theresa 09.06.2012

    Wow, I can’t wait to make this! Yummm-O!

    Also, random question:

    I live in CR & a group of my girls and I are taking a girl’s trip to DM next weekend. We’re in our late 20s/early 30s and just want to get away for a weekend. We were hoping to do a yummy dinner & finish with dancing… any suggestions? We’ve got this list in mind (but have never been to any of these places):

    1. 515 Ultra Lounge
    2. Cabaret West Glen
    3. Blue Moon dueling Pianos
    4. Wellman’s –
    5. Uncle Buck’s bar-interesting fact: they have a mechanical bull to ride. located in West dsm
    6. The Hangar
    7. Vision night club
    8. Miss Kitty’s night club-website says that Sat is Des Moines best dance party.!????!

    Just thought you might know a bit better than an IC native who moved to CR….

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.10.2012

      Ooo fun! Hmmm, I literally can’t remember the last time I went dancing around here so I’m not sure what’s popular, but I DID go to Miss Kitty’s as one of the stops at my Bachelorette Party! It’s a little…crazy…but a very popular spot for Bachelorette parties. The only thing is that it’s not near any other bars so it’ll be kind of a haul from downtown if that’s where you’re starting (about 15-20 min drive.) Otherwise, hmmm, I think people dance at Caberet!!

  20. Karen 09.06.2012

    Yum! My BF’s sister introduced me to kale chips last Christmas and I have been kale obsessed since then. Can’t wait to try this.

  21. Sounds yummy! I’ve heard of massaging kale with the dressing beforehand but never with salt. Very interesting, I’ll have to try this technique!

  22. Daphne 09.06.2012

    This was an amazing salad! I’m seriously gonna eat it every day for the next week! Your site rocks! Keep it up.

  23. Amanda Betts 09.07.2012

    Awesome recipe! I can’t want to try! Thanks, Luann! :-)

    LOVE the tip about massaging the kale!! I use kale in smoothies, but don’t always love it in salads because it is so thick and strong. Definitely going to try massaging it!

    What variety of kale did you grow? I grew some this year, but it isn’t like yours or the kind I buy in the store. I would love to try growing a different kind next year.

    • Iowa Girl Eats 09.12.2012

      You know, I planted the little stake that came with the plant next to it so I would remember, but it blew away and I can’t remember the exact name! It was just “regular” kale – not red, dinosaur, or any other fancy name.

  24. […] Salad:  This kale salad is totally going to be on the menu next […]

  25. Rachel 09.07.2012

    Yum! Looks great! I always have a hard time eating raw kale though

  26. Rokon 09.08.2012

    Nice mixing of items. You prepared it very nicely. I like more vegetables and vegetable related dishes.

  27. LisaG 09.09.2012

    I made a giant bowl of this tonight; addictive! Love kale salads because they stay crunchy; i sprinkled with a little goat cheese. Wonderful!

  28. Theresa 09.10.2012

    This was my first time with kale. I made it as part of a progressive dinner (I was soups and salads). It was easy. And it must have been good — I didn’t get a single bit of the double batch I made. Even my 11 year old son loved it!

  29. Kamia! 09.10.2012

    One word! No two!!! Soooo yum! I will probably have this on a weekly bases! This was my first time trying kale and I really enjoyed it! So good that I made a second bowl!! Thanks or dinner! :)

  30. Ardex Sd T 09.10.2012

    Now that looks healthy!!!

  31. […] Luann’s Kale Salad via Iowa Girl Eats […]

  32. Kate 09.14.2012

    Made this last night with roasted chicken breasts and it was delicious! I can’t wait to make this throughout the fall. And, as an added bonus, it keeps really well in the fridge for lunch the next day :)

  33. nicole 09.14.2012

    I recently learned of the massaging kale technique from Eating Well magazine. The article began by saying if you’ve always wanted to try kale for the health benefits but just couldn’t get past the bitter flavor (um, yes) then massage the leaves first breaking down the leaves and releasing an enzyme that reduces the bitterness. I tried it for our Labor Day celebration and everyone LOVED it. I have since paired it with goat cheese, nectarines and chicken. Now I must try this one too.

  34. […] inclines are where it’s at. We came home, showered up, and kept it really light for dinner – Luann’s Kale Salad with Chicken. Seriously love this good – nay GREAT – for you salad!Antioxidant packed kale speckled […]

  35. Barb Szabo 09.19.2012

    what an extraordinary salad!!!!! Thank you for a wonderful introduction to kale!

  36. Jeni 10.07.2012

    Hi Kristin,
    I’ve linked from my blog recipe page to your Kale Salad – I hope that’s okay? I’m building a recipe bank for people who are vegetarian and coeliac and have added yours under lunch.
    Thanks, Jeni x

  37. Sara 10.17.2012

    This salad is all I’ve been eating for lunch the last few weeks! I’m obsessed!! Although I’ve been using a different homemade dressing; 3 parts canola oil to 1 part balsamic vinegar mixed with a little bit of salt and pepper. Thank you SO much for sharing this recipe – and introducing me to kale salads :)

  38. […] I wanted big leafy kale for Luann’s Kale Salad this week and no one does big leafy kale like WF. BTW – my sister-in-law made Luann’s […]

  39. […] Christmas Salad (from Iowa Girl Eats and […]

  40. […] Luann’s Kale Salad, that is. […]

  41. Chris P 01.04.2013

    The grocery store has bags of the pre-washed, pre-chopped kale. Hooray convenience! Do you know about how many cups of chopped kale would equal one bunch?

  42. Johnnie 01.12.2013

    Being that I love bitterness in vegetables, for example I love bitter melons, VERY anti-diabetes, I don’t take the time to massage the organic kale I get here in Southern California in winter. I just wash and dry it, put it in a big bowl, either squeeze some lemon juice from my lemons I pick off my tree outside or use organic apple cider vinegar, some raw olive oil and some salt. Keep tossing it every so often and in an hour it is ready to eat. Tonight I made tuna fish salad with Hellman’s mayo, it’s called Best Foods mayo here on the West Coast, but as a born New Yorker I continue to call it Hellman’s (yes, I’m a bad boy! I LOVE jarred mayo) into which I microplaned 4 cloves of garlic. After, I added some freshly ground black pepper. Let that all marinate while the kale is doing the same in a separate bowl.

    I then toasted some San Fran sourdough bread slices, put the tuna salad on one slice while the bread was still warm, piled some kale salad on top of that, and man I was good to go ! Really tasty ! The salty/sweetness of the tuna and mayo was great against the bitterness of the kale. I’m writing you because I’ve GOT to make Luann’s salad. Thanks for that ! Looks SO tasty !

  43. Dina 03.21.2013

    looks like a refreshing salad!

  44. Karen 05.22.2013

    Did you use salted or unsalted peanuts in this?

  45. […] Mom’s dear friend Luann (of Luann’s Kale Salad!) and her daughter Heidi threw the shower and had the theme picked out before Ben and I even went […]

  46. […] Here’s what you’ll need (recipe from Iowa Girl Eats): […]

  47. […] Kale Salad (slightly adapted from Iowa Girl Eats’ recipe): This delicious blend of kale, red onion, apples, and berries is to-die-for, even if you […]

  48. […] The salad wasn’t as good as I had imagined. I was supposed to massage the kale with some salt but I apparently didn’t rub it down enough. It seriously took forever to eat. […]

  49. […] look at all that deliciousness.  So fabulous!  I served this frittata with a kale salad from Iowa Girl Eats.  This kale salad and this frittata recipe were just made for each other (awww… so […]

  50. […] got this salad from Iowa Girl Eats and can I just say, her recipes never fail me. She has so many great, healthy […]

Leave a Comment