Detox Kale Salad Recipe

at a glance
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 cups
4 — Votes 3 votes

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This Detox Kale Salad packs a huge nutritional punch with beets, kale, cabbage, and other detoxifying agents like lemon, ginger, and cilantro, all joined together by an incredible sunbutter dressing!

Best Kale Salad Recipe for Detoxification

Y’all, this salad is delicious. Even better, it’s a great way to help clean and heal your gut. It’s raw, vegan, easy, and super delicious. Why worry about a detox salad, though?

Well, you know that feeling you get after an indulgent night/week/year? Your belly feels swollen and you can’t shake a headache? Maybe BMs have been irregular or you keep breaking out. The reasons to start a detox can be many, but the solution is so simple.

First, make sure you’re drinking enough water. THEN, eat lots of colorful vegetables, reduce or eliminate all grains/dairy/legumes, significantly reduce sugar intake, chew, enjoy your now healthier food, and (as if by magic) you’ll start feeling better.

To detox is to eliminate (as best you can) toxins from your body so that it can run optimally. This salad really just enhances your body’s ability to detox (because it was made to do that all on its own – no supplements required!).

Detox Salad Ingredients

  • Beets – what an incredible food. Beets are great roasted or raw. They’re known for being anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogen, and liver cleansing. They’ve been used to treat anemia, promote menstruation, and alleviate constipation.
  • Cabbage – whoa. Talk about powerful foods. Cabbage is known for having the highest concentration of the most effective anticancer properties of all vegetables. Them big words. All members of the cabbage family have a huge amount of Vitamin C (even more than an orange), B6, and biotin (metabolism booster). I chose green cabbage for this salad for the color difference. Savoy or purple cabbage would work great as well. Chop and shred as finely as you can.
  • Kale – are you tired of hearing about how great kale is? I feel your pain, so bare with me. KALE is actually a cruciferous vegetable just like cabbage! It’s extremely rich in carotenes (an antioxidant that enhances immune function), Vitamin C, B6, and manganese (important for blood sugar control, energy metabolism, and thyroid function). Unless you have a thing for chewing on twigs, I recommend you remove the kale stems. What’s the easiest way? Grab the stem and run your fingers up the spine. The leaves will peel right off.
  • Cilantro – I friggin love cilantro. If you’re a cilantro hater because you fall into the group of people who have a genetic distaste for the stuff (meaning, it’s not your fault), feel free to use parsley. Cilantro has been known to help with anxiety and aid in the conversion of cholesterol to bile in the liver. In other words, it’s good for ya. Chop up as much as you like (I used about 1/2 cup).
  • Lemons – now for the dressing. My dressing starts with lemons! We’re going to use two parts of the lemon: the juice and the outer peel. My goodness lemons are good for you. Lemon juice has a cooling effect on the body. It supports liver function, aids in mineral absorption, and has been used to treat high blood pressure. Lemons are known to aid in weight loss and help alleviate gas (which may be important considering all the raw cruciferous veggies in this Paleo detox salad). The essential oils found in the lemon peel are useful for combating anxiety, digestive problems, high blood pressure, and a sore throat. Zest the lemons before you cut and juice – just a suggestion. We’ll add the zest at the very end as a finishing touch.
  • Sunbutter – have you heard of this stuff? It’s seriously tasty. I make mine at home. I just take about ½ cup of sunflower seeds, throw them in the food processor for about 5 minutes, and poof! Sunbutter is born! Sunflower seeds are a great source of protein, unsaturated fat, calcium, iron, and vitamin E. They’ve been known to aid in dental health, treat constipation, and reduce inflammation.
  • Ginger – the all-mighty ginger root. I’m sure you’re no stranger to the fact that ginger is really, ridiculously good for you. Let’s briefly discuss the specifics. It is known to relieve gas, have a direct impact on inhibiting inflammatory compounds, and stimulates digestion. It has a powerful anti-nausea effect and has been used to relieve arthritis pain. Peel about 1” of fresh ginger and then grate with a microplane.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – the last ingredient in our creamy detox dressing is apple cider vinegar. Bragg’s Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is the way to go, folks. Vinegar has its own tremendously effective detoxifying properties: it aids in digestion, has warming characteristics, and supports liver function.

Which kale is best for a kale detox salad?

Any kale will work, but I used lacinato (also known as “dino”) kale here.

How to Prepare Kale for Salad

To prepare your kale for this salad, simply grab the stem and run your fingers up the spine. This will cause the leaves to peel right off the stem. So easy! From there, shred!

How do you make kale less bitter for salad?

Finely shred your kale so that it mixes in with the other ingredients and gets a nice coating of dressing. This will help to disguise some of the bitterness!

How to Make Kale Salad

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  1. Combine the beets, finely chopped green cabbage, shredded kale, and finely chopped cilantro in a large bowl.
  2. Make the salad dressing by combining the lemon juice, sunbutter, ginger, and ACV in a food processor or blender and blending until smooth. When it’s done, it’ll have a smooth, creamy, frothy consistency.
  3. Add the dressing to the bowl with the salad ingredients and toss until fully coated.
  4. Garnish with the lemon zest and enjoy!

Do you massage the kale?

No need to massage the kale in this recipe unless you want to!

Both cooked and raw kale are incredibly powerful and beneficial for your overall health. There truly isn’t one that’s better than the other. It is recommended to include a bit of both in your diet!

What goes best with a chopped kale salad?

Serve your chopped kale salad with a simple protein (sous vide chicken or salmon would be excellent here) to make it a full meal. It can also be enjoyed as a side salad alongside any meal you love!

Absolutely! Feel free to make your kale salad ahead of time. To be quite honest, this salad is hearty enough to be dressed ahead of time (nothing will get too soggy) too. If you want to keep the dressing on the side, though, that’s fine too!

Stored together (the salad and dressing), your salad will last for up to 4 days. Stored separately, it’ll last for up to week!

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Detox Kale Salad

By: Cassy
4 — Votes 3 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Servings: 6 cups


Detox Salad:

  • 3 large beets peeled and shredded (makes 2-3 cups)
  • 1/2 head green cabbage finely chopped (makes about 2 cups)
  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale de-stemmed and shredded (makes about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon ~1 Tbl

Detox Salad Dressing (double recipe for heavier dressing):

  • 2 lemons juiced (~4 Tbl)
  • 1/3 cup sunbutter directions below
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
  • 4 tablespoon raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar


Detox Salad

  • Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Detox Salad Dressing

  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend for 1-2 minutes, or until smooth and creamy.
  • Note: to make sunbutter, place ½ cup sunflower seeds in a food processor for ~5 minutes, or until “buttered.” 


  • Toss the salad ingredients with the dressing. Plate and top off with a generous sprinkling of the fresh lemon zest.


Murray, M. (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, NY: Atria Books.

Wood, R. (2010). The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Penguine Group (USA)

Meet the Author
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Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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    Recipe Rating

  1. Barbara says

    Barbara —  11/01/2013 At 16:10

    Looks delicious! I’m going to make this recipe. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/02/2013 At 10:15

      Woo! Thanks, Barbara! It’s my pleasure. Hope you love it.

  2. Rosal says

    Rosal —  11/01/2013 At 17:41

    It looks licious and luscios Cass, I will have to try it.

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/02/2013 At 10:15

      Thanks, Rosal! I’d love to know what you think of the flavors 🙂

  3. shaneatkinson82 says

    shaneatkinson82 —  11/02/2013 At 09:37

    I’m not sure about beets. Never really ate them so I stay away…maybe one day!

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/02/2013 At 09:38

      Oh you should give ’em a try! They’re mighty tasty 🙂

    • shaneatkinson82 says

      shaneatkinson82 —  11/02/2013 At 09:39

      Are fresh better than canned? I always thought they smelled like dirt.

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/02/2013 At 09:40

      Fresh are way better! I can’t stand canned.

  4. Angelic says

    Angelic —  11/02/2013 At 11:19

    This sounds and looks so tasty. I have had a moment of falling off my gluten sensitivity diet. Needless to say, I’ve been paying for it. I also have fibromyalgia and chronic arthritis, so my joints and whole body have been in pain. I can’t wait to try this salad!

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/02/2013 At 20:52

      Hi Angelic! I can’t wait for you to try it too! I know exactly what you mean about falling off a gluten sensitivity diet and paying for it. I hope you find some direction and feel much better very soon.

  5. Jennifer Stokes says

    Jennifer Stokes —  11/02/2013 At 18:20

    That salad looks amazing!!! I will be making that very soon. Good luck on your 21DSD! I have completed about 4 of them, and I love them every single time! lol I received a review copy of the 21DSD book and have been meaning to write up a review, but just haven’t had the time. I look forward to following your detox and can’t wait to see what you think of some of the book’s recipes 🙂 If you need ANY motivation half-way through look over my last detox review… it is well worth staying strong and finishing it out!

    Take Care!

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/02/2013 At 20:50

      Hi Jennifer! Thanks so much for your comment. Your 21 DSD review from your 3rd time was fabulous! Well written and definitely inspiring. ALSO, you can use your kitchen aid mixer to make freshly shredded chicken 🙂 I hope you love the salad. Keep up the great work!

    • Jennifer Stokes says

      Jennifer Stokes —  11/03/2013 At 19:19

      Cassandra, using my KitchenAid to shred chicken is a great idea! Are you referring to a specific attachment or what? I only have the whisk and paddle attachments for now. Details, please! 🙂

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/04/2013 At 11:07

      The paddle attachment is all you need! Take freshly boiled chicken breasts, pop ’em in the bowl, and turn it on! Check out my recipe for Stuffed Avocados for details 🙂

  6. Allyson Turnage says

    Allyson Turnage —  11/02/2013 At 20:21

    Made this tonight and really liked it! We had quite a bit of leftovers, does this keep well for a leftover????

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/02/2013 At 20:51

      Hi Allyson! I’m so glad you liked the salad! Mine kept for about 2-3 days. Hope that helps!

  7. Roxy Cook says

    Roxy Cook —  11/03/2013 At 00:39

    I love this and need it. One thing that really made me smile was the ‘1TBS of grated fresh finger’! Honestly made my day! I will be getting the ingredients for this and ordering your book! I NEED this!

  8. Roxy Cook says

    Roxy Cook —  11/03/2013 At 00:40

    Oh actually it is ‘1 TBS of fresh grated finger’ lol. Still love it!

  9. Kay Dizzel says

    Kay Dizzel —  11/04/2013 At 18:12

    This was incredible. The flavors came together so well. The combo of the beets and kale along with the ginger and lemon provided an almost anise flavor. I loved it! And I say “loved” instead of “love” because I ate it all in a matter of 24 hours!!! Yum.

  10. Jennifer says

    Jennifer —  11/10/2013 At 11:41

    Have been searching for 21dsd recipes since I started the detox on Monday and I can’t wait to add this to my meal planning. Loving the recipes in the book but it’s always nice to find more great recipes to chose from.

  11. Rebecca says

    Rebecca —  11/15/2013 At 09:23

    I made this last night and it was delicious, only change I made was adding some garlic to the dressing and using tahini instead of sunbutter. So yummy!

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/15/2013 At 10:56

      Tahini is a great idea for a substitute! So glad you liked it.

  12. Carmen says

    Carmen —  11/18/2013 At 13:25

    Hi Cassandra!
    Thank you so much for sharing your recipes and my boyfriend wanted me to thank you for this detox salad (he is not to sure about paleo but he liked your salad and we think Gus is adorable, he used to have a golden also).
    Happy early Thanksgiving!

    • Cassandra says

      Cassandra —  02/19/2014 At 20:46

      Hi Carmen!! It’s all my pleasure. Happy (very belated) Holidays!

  13. Rachel says

    Rachel —  11/18/2013 At 15:08

    Awesome salad! I am eating it as I type and am so glad I have LOTS for leftovers! Thanks

  14. Wendy says

    Wendy —  11/24/2013 At 15:06

    Can this be made ahead or should it be “dressed” right before serving? I have all the veggies ready to go!

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/25/2013 At 09:11

      It will definitely taste the most fresh right when you dress it but the salad holds up really well for a few days after the fact too. Truly, whatever is easier for you! Hope you love it.

  15. Melyb says

    Melyb —  11/27/2013 At 05:20

    Sounds delish, the fresh grated finger made me laugh so hard I almost wet myself. Of course I was reading the recipe at 2:00 in the morning so everything is much funnier at the time, lol. Can’t wait to try this… Minus the finger. Thanks for the great detox. Been meaning to go paleo for a while but the sugar and carb addiction is a hard one to kick.

    • fedandfit says

      fedandfit —  11/27/2013 At 10:11

      Haha thanks, Melyb! Welcome to Paleo 🙂 I hope you love the salad.

  16. Lynn says

    Lynn —  02/19/2014 At 02:33

    I have been looking forward to making this for awhile! Finally got my act together tonight and made it! I didn’t have enough sunbutter left so I added some olive oil as well and extra ginger. It took a couple of bites, but I love stuff!!! Thanks for the recipe!!!

    • Cassandra says

      Cassandra —  02/19/2014 At 20:46

      Awesome! I’m so glad you liked it 🙂

  17. Kristin Kidd says

    Kristin Kidd —  03/16/2014 At 20:00

    I made this salad for a potluck, where it was a big winner despite its penetential name! I added roasted chickpeas and craisins because, Im not detoxing and 2, I am THAT girl. Thank you. Was very delicious!

  18. Vanessa says

    Vanessa —  03/18/2014 At 03:03

    I have just discovered your site and so glad I did. You recipes are so easy to follow, your visuals are big bright and colourful and I can’t wait to get started. Thank you for such yummy whole foods our bodies need.

  19. Sheryll Ziemer says

    Sheryll Ziemer —  03/20/2014 At 03:07

    When I saw this salad I really wanted to make it right away. I didn’t have the beets, so I used a carrot. Loved the freshness of this and the flavors. Thanks!

  20. Brenda says

    Brenda —  03/28/2014 At 19:28

    I made this last night and liked it…I didn’t love the dressing though. It was a little too tart for me. Any suggestions on a substitution?

    • Cassy says

      Cassy —  03/31/2014 At 20:43

      Totally! I recommend using half the amount of vinegar and lemon juice and substituting with water. If that doesn’t cut it, you could also add 1 Tbl of maple syrup to counter the tart. Hope that helps!

  21. Jeannie says

    Jeannie —  04/11/2014 At 13:53

    This looks fantastic. On a side note, the kale and slaw can be done in the processor as well, with the slicing blade, and the ginger can go into a blender with the lemon juice and vinegar, sliced across the grain thinly (so you don’t get strings) and doesn’t actually need to be peeled – in fact, the peel has loads of flavor and nutrients. This makes it go much faster.

    PS, the word you meant to use was “effect” and “effective” unless vegetables cause you to become very emotional…which is possible…

    • Cassy says

      Cassy —  06/25/2014 At 19:26

      Thank you, Jeannie! I changed everything to “effect” 🙂

  22. Angelica says

    Angelica —  11/07/2014 At 06:51

    AMAZING! I did it without a food processor so it took me a while to chop everything up. However, all the hard work was well worth it. It is so delicious! I will defiantly be making this again. Thanks

  23. Margaret says

    Margaret —  02/12/2015 At 15:44

    Are the sunflower seeds raw??

  24. Brooke says

    Brooke —  02/24/2015 At 13:06

    I LOVE this detox salad! I had it all to myself and ate it for days. Delicious!! Thanks for the creation!

    • Kelly says

      Kelly —  04/05/2015 At 02:48

      Love having leftovers for quick meals during the week! Glad you liked it, thanks for trying it Brooke!

  25. Sara says

    Sara —  03/03/2015 At 18:14

    Thank you for creating this! I’ve made it 3 times already. I used Meyer lemons recently and it’s came out amazing.

    • Kelly says

      Kelly —  04/05/2015 At 02:47

      Using Meyer lemons sounds delicious, thanks for trying it Sara!

  26. Vegging Out says

    Vegging Out —  09/22/2015 At 03:24

    As an organic vegetable farmer I am looking for new ways of using up my harvest that I don’t sell at market. This salad looks great! How important is the sun butter? My husband is allergic to seeds! Can I leave it out or substitute it?

    • Kelly says

      Kelly —  09/27/2015 At 22:41

      What a cool job! You could try almond butter or another nut butter if your husband can have nuts.

  27. Erin M says

    Erin M —  10/27/2015 At 13:04

    I made this last night and it was amazing! I actually put too much ginger in so I added more apple cider vinegar and a clove of garlic. I recommend the garlic- great twist! Thanks for recipe!

    • Kelly says

      Kelly —  11/02/2015 At 13:47

      Garlic is a great addition! Thanks for trying the recipe and your kind words 🙂

  28. Josephine says

    Josephine —  08/19/2017 At 06:31

    I’ve made this recipe twice. It’s very refreshing. Like any typical cook, I cannot follow a recipe to a T and have to make my own personal tweaks. I like things tangy and spicy.

    The latest rendition (made 08/17/2017) follows as such:

    DRESSING: Reduced the sunflower butter; upped the lemon and vinegar; added jalapeno; more cilantro; use more ginger than required; and added Himalayan salt (eyeballed and to taste).

    SALAD: Swapped lacinato “dinosaur” kale for collard greens. Collards are sturdy like the kale and stand up nice as far as texture and flavor. The salad was massaged and ingredients tossed ingredients by hand. *

    Recipe breakdown:

    16 oz(s), Cabbage Green
    13.02 ounce, Beet
    5.90 ounce, Collard greens
    1.60 ounce, Cilantro
    0.60 oz(s),Jalapeno pepper
    38 grams (2tbsp), Sunflower Seed Butter
    1.24 ounce, Ginger Root, Raw
    4.5 tbsp, Fresh Squeezed
    4.5 tablespoon, Apple Cider Vinegar

    This recipe was logged into an online tool to come up with the nutrition. According to it (accuracy is questionable but probably not too far off) the proportions of the recipe above come out to 615kcals: 88 grams carbohydrate/21 grams fat/25 grams protein.

    Essentially, you could sit and eat the entire bowl and have a really great well rounded meal. It filled an extra large stainless steel mixing bowl (If I could add a picture here I would). I am not sure my stomach could handle that volume, but perhaps over the course of 3 hours! If you can do this, go for it! Vegetable-eating contest anyone?

    How many people can this feed? Depends on serving size, but by just eyeballing the bowl approx 8 – 12 as happy-single servings. My first batch fed me approx 8 servings, about 5 meals because I have a healthy appetite for such vegetable filled dishes.

    How it ended up being eaten:

    1) On it’s own.
    2) Mixed with tuna, salmon, or chicken. I used both fresh and canned fishes and fresh poached chicken. On top of a bed of arugula.**
    3) On top of burgers (with and with out cheese)
    4) Mixed with chickpeas
    5) Accompanying eggs
    6) Mixed in eggs
    7) Stuffed in sweet potato
    8) Sharing… a bite.

    * On collards: Of the more bitter greens, I adore collards and personally find them to be sweeter than kale. Especially when cooked or when cellulose structure is broken down (such as the massaging process).

    ** As I did some version of protein + recipe several times, tweaks happened. I have drizzled coconut aminos, maple syrup, and added a few sweet dried fruits for balance. I have also added pumpkin seeds (sprouted), hemp seeds, other nut or seed for crunch. More jalapeno.


  29. Katie says

    Katie —  03/18/2018 At 18:59

    Wow. This salad is heavenly! When I came across this recipe I think it looked “meh” but I went with it because of all the healthy goodness. But seriously, if all raw, vegan meals are as delicious as this salad, I’m going to become a raw vegan….and that is coming from someone who LOVES meat!

  30. CeCe says

    CeCe —  01/16/2019 At 22:35

    5 stars
    Delish! I live it!! I was out of sunflower seeds so I used my homemade almond feta (almonds & lemon juice). Can’t wait to try it with the Sunflower Butter.

  31. Danielle says

    Danielle —  01/20/2020 At 14:16

    4 stars
    My husband and I meal prepped this yesterday for the first half of the week. We packed the salad separate from the dressing. It tastes pretty yummy and super healthy. We didn’t add the lemon zest to the salad, used tahini instead of sunbutter, and added a couple garlic cloves to the dressing. Thank you for sharing! I will have to browse through more of your site!

  32. MT says

    MT —  02/04/2021 At 06:23

    I never leave comments, but I just laughed at this sentence, thinking it is “ginger” instead of “finger”, lol 🙂 Looking forward to trying this delicious looking recipe (without the finger:))
    In a food processor, combine 1/3 cup sunbutter, juice of two large lemons (about 4 Tbl), 1 Tbl of grated fresh finger, and 4 Tbl apple cider vinegar.

    • Brandi Schilhab says

      Brandi Schilhab —  02/04/2021 At 09:07

      LOL! You’re right…no fingers in this recipe!! Just fixed it…thanks for catching that!