Winter months are known for comfort food and warming dishes. Trust me, I love those as much as the next guy, but I also love serving a bright and fresh salad alongside those heavier entrees. This Kale Avocado Salad is my go-to side dish salad this time of year.
This salad is easy to toss together and has ingredients that are readily available, even in the winter months. While I like to shake up a fresh lemon vinaigrette dressing for it, you could serve it with a variety of dressings.
Don’t forget the salad in the winter!
How to prepare kale for a salad
How to prepare the kale for this salad depends largely on what kind of kale you are working with. To be honest, I used baby kale for this version which is easy to use and has good flavor. You can buy this stuff basically prewashed and ready to go.
If you are starting with larger kale leaves, then make sure you wash them really well and cut out the larger sections of stems. Then you can chop the kale leaves into ribbons which works well for salads.
If you don’t like kale, no worries. There are a lot of greens you could substitute. A spinach mix works well or I like to use chard sometimes mixed with a little arugula for a peppery crunch.
Do you need to massage the kale?
There is a technique for preparing kale in salads called massaging. Basically, you add some of the dressing to the chopped kale (lemon and olive oil are standard) and then rub the dressing into the leaves. It helps soften the leaves a bit and infuses them with the dressing flavor.
If you are using baby kale, I’m not sure that there’s much of a need for this step but you definitely can do it if you want.
Ingredients in this Kale Avocado Salad
You can definitely use this salad as a fridge cleaning option. Lots of stuff goes well with it, but I like to keep it to a few ingredients just so it’s easy to toss together. Here’s what I like to add to mine.
- Kale. Obviously!
- Shallot. I like some slivered shallot in my salad for some sweet onion flavor. You could also use scallion or chives.
- Avocado. This is in the name but is also important because it gives some fat to the salad.
- Blueberries. Kind of expensive in the winter, but I like adding them to this salad. You could use pomegranate seeds, which are a bit more seasonal.
- Pistachios. A crunchy nut is always a good idea in a salad. Pine nuts, pecans, or even sesame seeds would work equally well.
- Parmesan Cheese. I love finely shredded parmesan cheese in this salad. Gives it some nice salty flavor.
How to make the lemon dressing
This is about as easy as homemade dressing gets. Add your fresh lemon juice to a jar with some extra virgin olive oil, a small bit of dijon mustard, and some salt and pepper. Shake it like crazy and your dressing is done.
If you want a flavor twist on the standard vinaigrette, you can try my grapefruit vinaigrette, which would work great with this salad or check out some of my other salad dressing recipes!
What to serve with this kale salad
The sky is the limit for what to serve with this salad. Any hearty soup like this Sweet Potato Coconut Soup works well. Grilled cheeses or cheesesteak sandwiches go well with it. Any pasta dish is a great entree with this kale avocado salad.
In fact, you could turn this salad into a main dish by adding some roasted chicken on top or oven-roasted salmon.
This kale avocado salad is a wonderful side dish to any number of recipes. I hope you try it out!
Kale Avocado Salad
- 5 ounces baby kale or 1 bunch chopped kale
- 1 large shallot
- 1 ripe avocado
- ½ cup blueberries
- ½ cup pistachios
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon, juice only
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- pinch of salt and pepper
- For the dressing, combine ingredients in a small jar. Shake well. Taste and adjust to your liking.
- Add other ingredients to a large bowl and then drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.