the kale salad to my heart

(gluten and dairy-free, too!)

Oh friends, do I have a salad for youuuuuu….

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Soft kale with a creamy dressing, plus crunchy almonds, celery bites and savory scallions

This one was very much inspired by a recent trip to the co-op. Usually when we go there, we’ll just grab a couple of essentials, but lately, I’ve been trying out some of their salads and deli goodies. They have a full deli upstairs, and while it’s much smaller than a hot bar, they offer an incredible selection of salads, vegan dishes, soups and desserts. I tried a small container of their Super Kale Salad, and thankfully, all of the ingredients were on the container so I could attempt my own later 😉

The goods:

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For the kale, I used the pre-bagged stuff from Trader Joe’s. I do my best to pick out the ribs, but sometimes a few end up in there anyway. 

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The final product tasted EXACTLY like their version, and is something I’ll be making frequently. I never would have thought to pair almond butter with mashed avocado, and the result is like a glorious nutrient-dense vegan mayo. So, so good!

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Savory Kale Salad
Serves 4
A creamy twist on the kale salad using avocado and almond butter as the *mayo.* Enjoy by itself or atop quinoa for a nutrient-dense and delicious lunch!
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Prep Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
  1. 6 cups of kale (unpacked), ribs removed and thinly sliced
  2. 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  3. salt and pepper
  4. Bragg's liquid aminos
  5. 1 mashed avocado
  6. 2 tablespoons almond butter
  7. 2 celery ribs, thinly chopped
  8. 1/3 cup almonds
  9. 1 bunch of scallions (thinly slice and use the green tops)
  1. 1. In a large bowl, lightly spritz the kale with Bragg's before massaging with your hands to break down the kale. Remember that a little goes a long way and you can always add more! Add the garlic powder and season with salt and pepper.
  2. 2. In a smaller separate bowl, mix the mashed avocado with the almond butter. If the almond butter is thick, you may need to add a drizzle of olive oil to thin it out.
  3. 3. Pour the avocado-almond butter mixture on top of the kale, and using your hands, massage to coat well. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary.
  4. 4. Add the almonds, scallions and celery, and stir well to combine.
  5. 5. Feast!
The Fitnessista
This is random, but it turns out that this salad makes awesome road trip food, too 😉 I packed some up with a fork, and it was the perfect afternoon snack.

Photo 192


Hope you’re enjoying the day!

Any awesome salad combos lately?

More of my favorite kale recipes:

jalapeño salsa kale chips

the best kale chips 

Kale Caesar



PS. I’ll be teaching at a beach bash for Ocean Spray’s new fitness water (PACt Cranberry Extract Water) in Hermosa Beach next Thursday, October 23. Please come join me for some awesome fitness classes -my friend Cassey is teaching, too!- just RSVP for your spot via this link. I’ll be leading the Zumba and barre classes, and can’t wait to work out with some of you 🙂 xo

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  1. I’m OBSESSED with Kale. Crave it 24/7. Making it.

  2. Im excited to be heading that way in about a month! Looking for a coffee shop with a view of the ocean to get some work done, any ideas?

  3. i used to despise kale but after learning the massaging trick to soften it, i am now all about the kale! this is definitely on my to-make list! thanks for sharing!

  4. This salad looks delicious! Wish I was in Hermosa so I could take your class. That will be so much fun. Have a great Thursday!

  5. Yummm!! Is it sad how happy I get when I already have all the ingredients to something?

  6. I love your Kale Caesar salad. I made it for my husband as part of Father’s Day. He was way impressed. 😉

  7. Yum! I love avocado dressings. What would you suggest as a substitute for liquid aminos?

  8. Kale is hands down my favorite veggie!! I love eating it in different prepared manners, and I can’t wait to try this one. Health boosting fats-almond butter and avocado? So yummy! Such a different combo but excited to try it.

  9. Nut butter and liquid aminos…..ON POINT. I love mixing aminos with peanut butter to make a salty peanut butter sauce! This salad looks AWESOME. Loooooove raw kale, especially when it’s massages with creamy goodness.

  10. Yum salad! Who would think almond butter, avocado and kale would make such a great combo.

  11. this is massive!! I’m about to dig into a spinach salad.. wish I had seen this beforehand!

  12. I am going to try this!

  13. This sounds wicked Gina! I’ve found that I’m better off lightly steaming my kale before using it in salads (or other dishes) for digestive reasons, but I’m sure this dressing would be amazing either way. My fave salad mix-ins right now are roasted red peppers, roasted brussels sprouts and cubes of butternut squash. So so good!

  14. This recipe looks like a winner! Kale + avocado is always a win for me, until I tried kale + tahini….game changer.

  15. Did someone get a light box?! Your pics look great and the recipe even better!

  16. I just bought kale today and this looks like a perfect recipe to try. Love the way it sounds. Avocado. Almonds and kale are some of my fav things so can’t wait to taste the combo.

  17. I just had my first tea leaf salad, and literally, there are no words for how delicious it was.

    I keep asking my boyfriend to go out for burmese, just to eat that salad. It’s a problem.

  18. Have u tried the sweet kale salad mix from Costco? It comes with kale, green cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, chicory, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and a poppy seed dressing. Yum yum!

  19. omgosh. i must try this! looks so yum!

  20. I love how simple and unique this recipe is! I am always looking for ways to switch up a salad. I will be trying this for sure!

  21. woah…this looks amazing!

  22. This sounds SO good, and if it features almond butter as a primary ingredient, I am SOLD! I love making my own though, then I can add whatever mix ins I want. I love just eating it by the spoonful…..okay, back to kale! This does sound very very good, and I am pinning RIGHT NOW to make it.

  23. Ooooo yum! Can’t wait to try this (:

  24. Yum! My salad game has been on point lately, too – I think it’s the fall flavors! I made an ACV-shallot-honey (+ s&p, pinch of red pepper flakes) vinaigrette, tossed it with arugula and TJ’s Power to the Greens mix, and topped it with chopped apple, pomegranate arils, avocado orange flavored craisins, crushed TJ’s sweet&spicy pecans, and goat cheese. On day 2 I added a sliced up apple chicken sausage. So SOOOOO good. My coworkers all had lunch envy.

  25. Will def be making that salad! Almond butter & avocado?! Sounds too Interesting NOT to try. Thanks!

  26. mmmmm yes please

  27. My gosh this sounds insanely good! I love a good kale salad. And the fact that they are so sturdy and get better as time passes is a huge bonus!

  28. I can’t wait to try this. I haven’t thought of avocado + almond butter either. As I don’t eat mayo, this may get tossed into the nut-based dressing rotation I have.

  29. I love those ingredients! I’ll be making that this week once I get my hands on some kale. Beautiful, and I love all the crunch and creaminess!

  30. Made this salad! It was awesome!

  31. This kale salad look SO yummy!! 🙂

  32. this is amazing! made it the other night and it was so good. will be making it again tonight for my family- yum!! thanks gina!

  33. Gina this was SO GOOD!!!!! Like, best salad I have had in my entire life good. Thank you so much for posting this!

  34. Yum! Made this last night and it was DELISH!

  35. OMG! Made this salad tonight, INCREDIBLE. I might have to pick up more kale tomorrow, I think I might be obsessed.

  36. Jennifer says:

    How many servings does this make? Looks good!

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