Crunchy Kale Salad Recipe with Parmesan Cheese

Crunchy kale salad is a delicious mixture of chopped kale, cabbage, dried cranberries, and almonds tossed in a homemade dressing. It’s the perfect side dish or light main course that’s simple to throw together.

A close up picture of kale salad in a glass  bowl

I love making this salad because it’s healthy and delicious. The combination of hearty kale, crunchy cabbage, and almonds creates the perfect blend of textures and flavors. Moreover, the lemon dressing adds a touch of freshness to this salad, making it shine. Since kale is a hearty green, it is an excellent salad for meal prep without worrying about it getting soggy.

Why you will love crunchy kale salad

  • It’s an easy salad to put together with just a few simple steps.
  • This crunchy salad is easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.
  • It’s healthy and filling! This salad is filled with veggies, crunchy pumpkin seeds that will keep you feeling full.

A photo of the ingredients needed for kale salad in little white bowls, lemon dressing, dried cranberries, kale, almonds, pepitas, cabbage

Here is what you will need to make kale crunch salad recipe

This summarizes the ingredients you will need to prepare this easy kale salad recipe and a convenient shopping list from my Instancart affiliate link. For a printable recipe card containing exact measurements and detailed instructions, scroll down to the recipe card section.

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Ingredients

  • Kale
  • Pepitas
  • Cabbage
  • Almonds
  • Cranberries
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Lemon Juice
  • Dijon Mustard Olive Oil
  • Maple Syrup

How to make crunchy kale salad

Prepare the ingredients: Rinse and dry the kale, stack the leaves on top of each other, and fold them over so that the stem is on one side and the leaves are on the other side. Use a sharp knife to slice away the stem, and continue to chop the leaves.

Rinse and dry the cabbage and cut it into small pieces, or use a mandoline to shred it. Grate the parmesan cheese. Combine the dressing ingredients together (lemon juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, syrup) in a small bowl or mason jar. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees f.

Kale salad process step 1, a picture of almonds and seeds on a baking sheet

STEP 1: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the almonds and pepitas on it. Place the baking sheet in a preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Process step 2, chopped almonds on a cutting board

STEP 2: Once cool, use a sharp knife to roughly chop the toasted almonds.

a picture of the kale salad ingredients in a bowl with dressing being poured in

STEP 3: Place the cabbage, kale, nuts, seeds into a large salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss.

A picture of kale salad mixed in a glass salad bowl with shredded parmesan cheese on top

STEP 4: Add the shredded parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and black pepper; toss and serve.

Ingredient notes and substitutions

Kale—You can use any variety of kale to make this salad. I’ve made it with curly kale, Russian kale, and lacinato kale (dinosaur kale). Baby kale is tender and will taste great too, but may be a bit fragile if you don’t plan on using it right away.

Cabbage – I like to use red cabbage in this salad since it adds a pop of color, but it can be swapped for green cabbage, nappa cabbage, or savoy cabbage.

Almonds and Pepitas – These both add extra crunch to this salad as well as some protein. They can be substituted with any of your favorite nuts such as walnuts or pecans. The pepitas can be substituted with sunflower seeds or you can use all nuts or all seeds.

Serving suggestions

Serve this tasty salad as a side dish, with your favorite meal or add grilled chicken to it and make it a meal. It also tastes great with phyllo quiche, mini chicken tacos, or air fryer cheese toast on the side.

an overhead photo of kale salad on a plate with a fork and slice of lemon and a portion of the bowl of salad next to it.

Recipe variations

Here are some delicious ways to customize this crispy kale salad to fit your personal preference.

Apples or Pears – Add diced green apple or pears to the for a sweet an juicy burst of flavor.

Cheese – Replace the parmesan cheese with crumbled feta cheese, goat cheese or blue cheese.

Protein – To make the salad more filling, toss in some cooked quinoa, chickpeas, grilled chicken or tofu.

Vinegar Dressing – For a tangy salad dressing, replace lemon juice with red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or balsamic vinegar.

How to Store Leftovers

If you have leftover salad, keep it fresh and crisp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. When you are ready to enjoy it, give it a quick toss and enjoy.

a photo of a single portion of kale salad on a white plate with a bowl of kale salad in  the background

Tips

  • Take a shortcut and use a food processor to chop the kale and cabbage or buy pre-chopped cabbage and kale.
  • If the chopped raw kale seems to be tough, add a little olive oil to the kale and massage it for a few minutes.
  • If you anticipate leftovers, don’t add all of the dressing to the salad. Add just enough to moisten it and serve the remaining dressing on the side.

Recipe FAQs

Can I substitute kale with another green?

While kale is the star of this salad, you can easily substitute it with another leafy green such as spinach, swiss chard or arugula. Please keep in mind the texture will be different and it these greens may not last as long as kale will.

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A close up picture of kale salad in a glass bowl

Crunchy Kale and Cabbage Salad

Anne
This kale salad, is crispy, crunchy and healthy!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 329 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 Cups kale chopped – about one bunch
  • 1/2 Cup pepitas
  • 2 Cups cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 Cup almonds chopped
  • 1/2 Cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 Cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Teaspoon maple syrup

Instructions
 

  • Prepare the ingredients,  Rinse and dry the kale, stack the leaves on top of each other, and fold them over so that the stem is on one side and the leaves are on the other side. Use a sharp knife to slice away the stem, and continue to chop the leaves. Rinse and dry the cabbage and cut it into small pieces, or use a mandoline to shred it. Grate the parmesan cheese. Combine the dressing ingredients together (lemon juice, dijon mustard, olive oil, syrup) in a small bowl or mason jar. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees f.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the almonds and pepitas on it. Place the baking sheet in a preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let it cool for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Once cool, use a sharp knife to roughly chop the toasted almonds.
  • Place the cabbage, kale, nuts, seeds into a large salad bowl. Add the dressing and toss.
  • Add the shredded parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt and black pepper; toss and serve.

Notes

How to Store Leftovers:
If you have leftover salad, keep it fresh and crisp in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. When you are ready to enjoy it, give it a quick toss and enjoy.
Tips
Take a shortcut and use a food processor to chop the kale and cabbage or buy pre-chopped cabbage and kale.
If the chopped raw kale seems to be tough, add a little olive oil to the kale and massage it for a few minutes.
If you anticipate leftovers, don’t add all of the dressing to the salad. Add just enough to moisten it and serve the remaining dressing on the side.
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cupCalories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 12gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 233mgPotassium: 361mgFiber: 5gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 2233IUVitamin C: 36mgCalcium: 272mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Crunchy Kale Salad
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