This loaded kale salad is even better after it refrigerates overnight! Serve as a side or a main dish.
This kale salad recipe is loaded with prosciutto (or bacon), red onion, cucumbers, tomatoes and feta with a lively citrus dressing. It can be eaten right away or the next day after the flavors meld into each other. Serve it alone or as a complete lunch with our roasted tomato soup or chicken salad sandwich!
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About this Recipe
Kale salads can be bitter when eaten right away or if not prepared correctly. This recipe encourages you to wait until the next day to eat it, allowing the flavors to blend. It also instructs to massage the kale with the dressing to help improve the texture. I love this salad, and at one point had it three straight days!
Ingredients for Kale Salad
(full printable recipe at end of this post)
Below are the ingredients you need to make this kale salad recipe.
- Fresh kale - Most grocery stores carry both Tuscan (aka "Lacinato" or "dinosaur") kale and curly kale. Either type works for this recipe.
- Red onion - We're thinly slicing it for this recipe so get those onion goggles ready!
- Cherry tomatoes - Or grape tomatoes work too.
- Cucumber - Not English cucumber, just your regular seed filled one.
- Lemons - You will squeeze the juice out!
- Prosciutto - You can substitute with bacon if you prefer.
- Feta - I prefer buying a block and crumbling it myself, but you can grab the already crumbled stuff.
- Olive oil - The base of the dressing, or use an equal amount of avocado oil.
- Dijon mustard - Any brand. I use store generic.
- Salt & pepper - Freshly cracked is best, but any is good.
Click here or scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe ingredients and instructions.
How to Make Overnight Kale Salad
Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the step-by-step on how to make this easy kale salad. The general steps are as follows:
- Place kale in a large bowl; set aside.
- Make the dressing and pour over the kale.
- Massage kale with your hands for 1 minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to coat.
Protein: This recipe calls for bacon or prosciutto, but maybe you already have cooked chicken on hand? Use that! Or, salmon or tuna or whatever protein you like.
Cheese: I despise goat cheese, but you can use it instead of feta. Or try blue cheese (again, not me!) or any other crumbly cheese. You can also dice up any type of cheese you please.
Mustard: You can use brown mustard instead of Dijon in the dressing recipe. Brown mustard will be a little spicier and coarse.
Top Tips and Tricks
- Be sure to cut the stalk and stems from the kale and only include the kale leaves in the salad.
- Do not skip the step for massaging the kale. It really helps with the texture of the leaves.
- Use a bunch of fresh kale for best results versus the kind packaged in the tub or bag.
- If you're using kale leaves that are packaged in a tub or bag, skip the step for massaging the leaves. The kale is already tender enough and massaging them will cause them to wilt and be soggy.
Your Questions Answered
Can I eat raw kale in a salad?
Of course! Any type of kale can be eaten raw and is especially great in a salad after marinating in the dressing.
Is kale salad good for weight loss?
As you know, this is not a weight loss site, so I won't answer specifically. But, kale is a very nutritional ingredient that is widely used in weight loss diets.
How do you make kale less bitter for salad?
As the kale marinates in the dressing, the less bitter it becomes. So for best results, let the salad refrigerate after its combined with the dressing before you serve it.
How do you cut kale for a salad.
Fresh kale is very easy to cut and prepare for a salad. Slice off the stem and discard it, and then use your hands to tear the leaves. This is a great video on how to slice kale thinly for soups.
Storage and Leftovers
Store: Store this kale salad in a covered dish in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze: You can freeze fresh kale on its own, but after it is combined with the dressing and other ingredients I do not recommend freezing it.
More Recipes with Kale
Have fresh kale you need to use up? Try these recipes!
Photography by Marie Roffey.
Overnight Kale Salad
- 8 oz. fresh kale , washed, dried, destemmed and ripped into pieces
- 6 slices prosciutto or bacon , cooked until crisp; crumbled
- 4 tablespoons olive oil (or avocado oil)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1 cucumber , chopped
- 12 oz. cherry tomatoes , sliced in half
- 3 oz. feta cheese , crumbled
- Place kale in a large mixing bowl; set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over the kale and gently massage for 1 minute.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and toss to coat. Can be served immediately, but best when refrigerated a few hours or overnight.
- Serving size: This recipe makes 8 side dish servings, or 4 main dish servings.
- Prosciutto: Use your favorite method to cook the prosciutto. One way is to bake in the oven at 350°F on a baking sheet for 12 minutes, rotating pan halfway.
- Bacon: Use your favorite method to cook the bacon. My favorite less-messy way is on a paper towel lined plate in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes per slice. (Make sure to top the bacon with paper towel too!)
- Nutrition: Nutrition information is an estimate only.