One Kale Salad Base, Three Different Salads

Hi friends! How’s the morning going? I have a massage today that I’ve been looking forward to for weeks. It’s going to be so amazing… and I always have to remind myself not to smile like a creeper during it. And then there’s the drool. Just kidding; that never happens.

Speaking of massages….

Massage kale

have I got a recipe for you! THREE recipes to be exact.

One base, 3 salads

So in some ways, I’m a creature of habit. I thrive on a routine and sense of predictability. Often I feel like I could eat the same thing every day, and be perfectly content. (For the record, it would be an egg burrito with coffee for breakfast, salad with sweet potato for lunch, a giant smoothie/juice for snack, and salmon, asparagus, brown rice and wine for dinner. Dark chocolate or a couple bites of cupcake in there for fun.) But with the salads… I just get bored sometimes. I love the idea of meal prepping, and it makes my life SO MUCH easier, but sometimes when I get to the third day of the same salad, I’m ready to switch it up a bit.

kale salad for lunch

So for today’s recipe post, I thought it would be fun to use the same salad base in different ways. It not only gives the ol’ taste buds something different to look forward to, but it’s a great way to change up your lunchtime nutrients throughout the week.

It all starts with one of my all-time favorites: massaged kale salad. 

kale, lemons, olive oil

Super easy: take a large bunch of kale, wash thoroughly, and rip into bite-sized pieces before placing into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, the juice of one lemon, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. 

Now here’s the fun part: massage the heck out of it. You can sing to it if you like -I like a little John Legend or Michael Buble for my kale- and be as silly as you want. The lemon juice will help to break down the kale, which not only makes it easier to chew and digest, but it reduces the size dramatically… so you can eat more. 🙂

Massaged kale

Keep this in the fridge as is to spice up throughout the week! Here are three of my beloved variations, with vegetarian options.

One kale salad base three different salads

KALE SALAD #1: Chicken, almond and avocado


Kale Salad with Chicken, Almonds and Avocado


  • Massaged kale salad base
  • 1/21 grilled chicken breast (seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and oregano. I make this as part of weekly meal prep. Slice or dice it up.)
  • 1/4 cup sliced scallions
  • 1/2 large avocado
  • 1 teaspoon almond butter
  • 1 rib of celery, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • Tamari or soy sauce
  • Garlic powder, cayenne


  1. In a large bowl, mash the avocado.
  2. Add a good splash of Tamari, a sprinkle of cayenne, garlic powder, the almond butter, and pepper. Add the massaged kale to the bowl, and massage into the avocado mixture.
  3. Stir in the almonds, chicken, and top with extra scallions if you like.


Kale salad with chicken, almonds, avocado

Massaged kale with almonds and chicken

KALE SALAD #2: Dried berries, goat cheese, and quinoa


Kale Salad with Dried Berries, Goat Cheese and Quinoa


  • Massaged kale salad base
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
  • 1/41/2 cup sliced hearts of palm
  • 1 serving of goat cheese, crumbled
  • Balsamic vinegar (or vinaigrette dressing if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup dried berries of choice (I used blueberries, but cranberries are also wonderful. Fresh sliced strawberries or pomegranate arils would work, too)
  • 1/21 cooked chicken breast, or sliced pan-fried tempeh


  1. On a plate, layer the massaged kale, quinoa, goat cheese, hearts of palm, goat cheese, and protein of choice.
  2. Drizzle with balsamic.

Kale salad with died berries, goat cheese, quinoa


Kale salad with goat cheese, dried berries and quinoa

KALE SALAD #3: Chicken with spicy almond butter sauce


Kale Salad with Chicken and Spicy Almond Butter Sauce



Massaged kale salad base

  • 1 bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 1/21 grilled chicken breast, diced (for a veggie version, use garbanzo beans instead. They would taste awesome in this recipe)

For the dressing

  • 1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/21 tablespoon Tamari (depending on how salty you want it!)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Season well with garlic powder and pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, massaged kale, carrots and bell pepper.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing.
  3. Pour the dressing on top and mix well to combine.


Spicy almond butter sauce

kale salad with spicy almond butter sauce

So there ya go! Three insanely delicious and super healthy lunchtime salads. Please let me know if you give them a whirl.

Kale fan: yay or nay? What’s your current favorite salad combo? Let’s share some ideas in the comments section and help each other out of our ruts. 🙂 



More lunch ideas:

The best black bean soup

Lentil quinoa chopped salad

Salad in a jar

Salmon cakes

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  1. Meagan Leanne on April 5, 2016 at 6:49 am

    I actually really enjoy cooked kale but I’m very wary of kale salads because I’m not sure I’d like the texture at all. I still avoid green smoothies like the plague because I’d much rather eat my greens than drink them. I’ll probably avoid the drinking still but I’m trying to figure out if giving a kale salad is worth a try. It looks yummy, just a little scary in my mind.

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      try the almond butter one if you go for it! my mom isn’t super huge into kale either and she loved that one

      • Meagan Leanne on April 6, 2016 at 6:30 am

        I’ll have to try it soon then and see how it goes! I’m always looking for new salads to add to my repertoire so thanks for sharing!

  2. Sam @ Barrister's Beet on April 5, 2016 at 6:55 am

    Great idea! I am the same way… I love meal prep, but I get a little bored if I plan the same thing everyday. I love the idea of using the same base but switching up the toppings. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment on April 5, 2016 at 7:02 am

    Love kale salad. Thank you for the variations. I get stuck in a rut with the “same old” most days so it is nice to mix it up. Good tip about massaging the kale.

  4. Cassie on April 5, 2016 at 7:24 am

    Love these ideas! Genius!

  5. Juliana on April 5, 2016 at 7:44 am

    I can’t wait to eat all of these!

  6. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on April 5, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Confession. I always forget to massage my kale. EEK! Now I will remember to do it because I will be trying that chicken, almond and avocado salad for sure!

  7. Sharon on April 5, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Yum!! I like rubbed kale salad with avocado, Braggs cider vinegar, and nutritional yeast mixed in, and topped with sun dried tomatoes and sauerkraut. :0)

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      YESSSSS. it sounds like my kinda salty heaven

  8. Britt@MyOwnBalance on April 5, 2016 at 8:28 am

    I love a good kale salad! My favorite is cranberries, goat cheese and almonds. Also Iowa Girl Eats has a delicious warm kale salad recipe!

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      ohhh i’ll have to check that out!

  9. Crystal on April 5, 2016 at 8:51 am

    These kale salads sound so good! I love all kinds of salads, but my favorite ones usually involve goat cheese, some kind of nuts, and some kind of dried fruit 🙂

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      same. they’re the best 🙂

  10. Erica on April 5, 2016 at 9:09 am

    Loved seeing these on snapchat yesterday!

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm


  11. Cara on April 5, 2016 at 9:37 am

    Love this post! And I never, ever knew you were supposed to massage the kale first??!! Wait till the hubs sees me doing that, lol!!!

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      the first time i did it, tom was like “what is happening?”

  12. Taylor on April 5, 2016 at 10:15 am

    These all look so good!!! I love kale salads and always massage it first to make it softer. Thanks for the inspiration!!

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm


  13. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul on April 5, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Mm all three of these sound yummy!

  14. Maribeth on April 5, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    we’re reading each others’ minds! just wrote about the importance of massaging kale last night. this is my favorite kale salad –

    enjoy your well deserved massage!

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      on that kale train 🙂 that salad looks WONDERFUL

  15. Alana on April 5, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    YUM! I am thinking the avo-almond option would be awesome with some diced apple, too!

    • Fitnessista on April 5, 2016 at 10:43 pm

      that sounds fantastic!

  16. Diana on April 6, 2016 at 5:53 am

    If you don’t mind everything in your salad having a purple tint I love adding English beets to my salads (just slightly pickled, not sweet). My usual combination is mixed greens, super aged cheddar, beets, dried cherries, and cashews with a balsamic vinaigrette. I’d love to expand to kale, maybe I can sell the hubby on it if I surprise him.

  17. Ali on April 6, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Yeah, I can not eat kale raw, massaged or not! My digestive system is way too sensitive for raw kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. and I have to be careful to not eat too much of these cooked! Boo. I actually like kale too. I get so jealous when I see people eating these things and I’m over here trying to avoid the pain associated with it!

  18. sheetal on April 7, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I’m loving this! I’m not big on salads but the spicy almond butter dressing sounds delicious.
    I always get confused with the different varieties of kale in the store, is there any specific kind you buy?

    • Fitnessista on April 7, 2016 at 10:18 am

      i get the curly kale. the dinosaur kale is good too!

  19. Lauren Deegan on April 10, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I made a vegan-version of Salad #2 and it tasted great, full of nutrients too. I would love some more vegetarian or vegan recipes if you could share some.

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