This winter chopped kale salad is the perfect healthy side dish that is special enough for your holiday table, or just for beating those winter blues! Chopped kale and spinach are massaged with a simple lemon cardamom vinaigrette, then tossed with fresh parsley, goat cheese, pomegranate seeds,  and Marcona almonds.

The remaining ingredients, including pomegranate seeds and chopped almond, have been added to the top of the kale. A purple dishcloth sits to the side.

This recipe is…

One of my favorite things about this time of year, behind the bonus time with friends and family and my love of gift-giving, is, of course, the food! And, while I’m all about eating chewy gluten-free chocolate chip cookies when you want them, having that glass of champagne (or two) at the holiday party, and having french toast bake for Christmas morning breakfast, somewhere along the line my body starts also craving a big dose of leafy greens too.

With that in mind, when we were thinking about a holiday veggie side dish, this winter chopped kale salad was the first thing to come to mind! It has a base of (my favorite) lacinato kale and chopped spinach, combined with a simple, but tasty, lemon-cardamom dressing. You’ll massage the kale with the dressing to soften it up a bit, then toss it with the spinach. Next, to really make this dish holiday-worthy, we top it off with fresh goat cheese, parsley, Marcona almonds, and pomegranate seeds for a little extra oomph.

Looking for more delicious salads to add to your holiday spread? Look no further. Our winter salad with pears and candied pecans is delicious, as are our winter veggie coleslaw and pomegranate and kale salad recipes.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’s easy – even with making your own dressing, this salad is a cinch to throw together.
  • It’s delicious – the epic flavors of the dressing, goat cheese, Marcona almonds (these are KEY), and pomegranate seeds make for show stopping presentation and flavor.
  • It’ll add a little green to your spread – oftentimes, we think of heavy (delicious, but heavy) foods as part of our holiday spread. Adding this salad will be the refreshing bit of green that your guests are craving!

Winter Kale Salad Recipe Ingredients

You’ll need a couple of ingredients for the salad dressing and then a handful for the salad itself. Everything is super simple and super delicious. Find ingredient notes (including substitutions and swaps) below.

Ingredients for winter chopped kale salad with lemon cardamon dressing, sit on a marble countertop.
  • Lacinato kale – while curly kale will work in this recipe, we really recommend grabbing lacinato kale (sometimes called “dino,” “dinosaur,” or “tuscan” kale). This variation is slightly thinner and more tender than curly kale, so while you’ll still need to massage it, it’s much easier to get it to a desirable salad texture.
  • Marcona almonds – similarly to the note above, regular almonds will get the job done in this recipe, but if you can find Marcona almonds, we suggest grabbing those. They’re softer and sweeter than regular almonds!

A full ingredient list with exact amounts can be found in the recipe card below.

Recipe Variations and Modifications

  • Use a different type of cheese – if you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, don’t count this recipe out! Fresh shredded parmesan or gruyere would both be delicious here, as would crumbled feta.
  • Swap the pomegranate seeds – we are BIG fans of the pomegranate seed addition to this salad, but if you can’t seem to find them at your local grocery store, feel free to swap them for dried cranberries instead.

How to Make a Winter Chopped Kale Salad

This recipe couldn’t be easier to pull together! Follow along below for the full how-to.

A bowl of lemon juice and other ingredients sit on a marble countertop.
The chopped kale has been placed into a white bowl and covered in the lemon dressing.

Step 1: Whisk together the lemon juice, zest, and honey, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil, as you continue to whisk, until the dressing begins to thicken. Then, add in the salt, pepper, and cardamom and whisk to combine.

Step 2: Remove the stems from the kale, coarsely chop it, and add it to a large bowl. Pour half the dressing over the kale and massage the dressing into it, until the kale starts to soften slightly.

The, now chopped, spinach has been added to the bowl of kale.
The remaining ingredients, including pomegranate seeds and chopped almond, have been added to the top of the kale.

Step 3: Remove the stems from the bunch of spinach then slice into 1/2 inch pieces and add to the bowl with the kale. Add the parsley to the bowl along with the remaining dressing and toss to combine.

Step 4: Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and Marcona almonds, then serve and enjoy!

Recipe Tip

  • Deseed your own pomegranate – while you can absolutely grab a container of deseeded pomegranate seeds to keep things simple, there is something EVEN more delicious and juicy about a freshly deseeded pomegranate. If you’re unsure of how to cut into the bright, juicy fruit, be sure to check out our full guide on how to cut a pomegranate.
  • Dress the salad just before serving – while leftovers of this salad keep fine, because of the more fragile greens like spinach and parsley, it’s best to dress this salad just before serving it. If you want to get some prep done in advance, go ahead and make the dressing (store in a small jar in the fridge), chop all of the veggies, and deseed your pomegranate.

How to Serve

Serve this delicious salad alongside a delicious, festive main course protein and a starchy side. Our pick would be either this Herb Crusted Prime Rib Roast or Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Pork Loin and these incredible hasselback potatoes.

How to Store and Reheat

Store any leftover salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. Know that the longer it’s stored, the more likely the spinach and parsley will wilt, but it’ll still be really, really delicious.

The remaining ingredients, including pomegranate seeds and chopped almond, have been added to the top of the kale.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you eat kale raw in a salad?

You can absolutely eat kale raw in a salad! You’ll want to give it a good massage with the dressing to soften it, but otherwise, it’s ready to go.

How long will a dressed kale salad last?

Kale is pretty hardy, so there isn’t a risk of it wilting until about day 7 or so. Because this salad includes spinach and parsley, though, we do recommend eating it within 3 days of dressing it.

Does kale get soggy with dressing?

No, kale doesn’t get soggy! It does soften with the dressing (making it a more appetizing texture to much on), but it doesn’t get soggy.

If you tried this Winter Kale Salad or any other recipe on my website, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

The Best Winter Kale Salad with Lemon Cardamom Dressing

5 — Votes 7 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 15 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
This festive salad combines chopped kale and spinach with a simple lemon-cardamom dressing, goat cheese, pomegranates, and marcona almonds for a delicious veggie side.

Ingredients  

For the Dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, about 1 small lemon
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • teaspoon ground cardamom

For the Salad

  • 1 bunch lacinato kale
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • ¼ cup fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 ounces fresh goat cheese
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ½ cup marcona almonds, crushed

Instructions 

  • To prepare the dressing, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, and honey, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the dressing begins to thicken. Then, add in the salt, pepper, and cardamom and whisk to combine.
  • Remove the stems from the kale, coarsely chop it, and add it to a large bowl. Pour half the dressing over the kale and massage the dressing into it, until the kale starts to soften slightly.
  • Remove the stems from the bunch of spinach then slice into ½-inch pieces and add to the bowl with the kale. Add the parsley to the bowl along with the remaining dressing and toss to combine.
  • Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese, pomegranate seeds, and marcona almonds and serve!

Recipe Notes

Recipe Variations and Modifications:
  • Use a different type of cheese – if you aren’t a fan of goat cheese, don’t count this recipe out! Fresh shredded parmesan or gruyere would both be delicious here, as would crumbled feta.
  • Omit the cheese – if you’re dairy-free, feel free to omit the cheese altogether. The salad will still be really delicious.
  • Swap the pomegranate seeds – we are BIG fans of the pomegranate seed addition to this salad, but if you can’t seem to find them at your local grocery store, feel free to swap them for dried cranberries instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 189kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 359mg | Potassium: 637mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 12142IU | Vitamin C: 78mg | Calcium: 228mg | Iron: 3mg

Additional Info

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 189
Keyword: chopped kale salad, kale salad, lemon cadamom dressing

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Brandi Schilhab


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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this 4 times already. I served it at 2 gatherings and everyone enjoyed it. I have been using whatever nuts and cheese I have on hand and no bad outcomes.

  2. 5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe!! It was just simply delicious. I used collard greens and kale because that’s what we had in the garden and it’s officially my new favorite way to eat collard greens! Fed&Fit is my first stop for meal planning and I truely appreciate it!

    1. Come again?! The garden?!?! That is so so cool, Laura! A literal dream! We are so so happy you loved it!

  3. 5 stars
    This salad had the right amount of different flavors working together and different textures as well. Made it for thanksgiving and it was a big hit! Easy to make and delicious-win win!

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! I made this for our Thanksgiving dinner. The look alone added such a beautiful holiday dimension to our spread. I wasn’t sure there would be enough dressing for all the salad but it was the perfect amount! Massaging the kale with half the dressing first was a great tip, thank you! I swapped in feta (taste preference) and with the pomegranate seeds and almonds this had such a great crunch and burst of flavor – super duper recipe! Plus, the leftovers are still standing the next day, score 🙂 I will definitely make this for Christmas (and any time I feel I need a special salad!) thanks to you all – happy holidays!!