Make a chopped kale avocado salad today - all you need are seven simple pantry ingredients! This hearty salad is made with cubed avocado, roasted sunflower seeds, and simple a homemade vinaigrette.
This chopped kale avocado salad is simple, savory, and easy to prepare. Using kale as the base gives this salad a hearty, earthy flavor that pairs perfectly with salty sunflower seeds and a tangy lemon vinaigrette.
Even better, the homemade vinaigrette is surprisingly simple to make. It's made with olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt. That's it! I also like to add fresh cracked black pepper to the top of each salad just before serving.
This kale avocado salad is big and hearty, making it perfect for a quick, cold lunch. Or, divide into smaller portions and make six side salads.
Ingredients and substitutions
Curly kale - one bundle, or about 8 ounces, of fresh curly kale is all you'll need for this recipe. Kale can be substituted with any fresh leafy greens you have on hand if desired.
Avocados - you'll need two for this recipe. Carefully remove the seeds and skins, then cube into bite size pieces.
Sunflower seeds - I used roasted and salted sunflower seeds for this recipe. Roasted and salted pepitas, pine nuts, or slivered almonds also work great as a substitute.
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice - fresh squeezed is best!
- Dijon mustard
Optionally, top each salad with fresh cracked black pepper just before serving.
Preparing your kale
If you've never worked with kale before, read through these tips and tricks first.
Kale is a hearty, leafy green, with a chewy texture and earthy, peppery flavor. Because it is tough and hearty, it needs a little extra preparation before it's ready for your salad.
- First, remove the ribs from your kale - this part is thick, harder to chew, and not ideal for a salad. Use a chef's knife to slice the leaves off the center ribs and discard.
- Chop your kale into easy to eat, bite-size pieces.
- Massage your kale. Because kale is tough, you want to soften it before dressing your salad. Once your kale is cleaned, chopped, and in a salad bowl, use clean hands and start massaging your kale. It's kind of like kneading bread. Scrunch it up and toss it around in the bowl until it looks a little darker green and feels more tender. This should take about a minute.
Optional salad additions
This recipe makes a simple, no frills salad that's easy to customize! Here are a few ways to add more to your kale salad:
- Top with shredded rotisserie chicken or flaked salmon for more protein.
- Add a tablespoon of maple syrup to your dressing for a sweet vinaigrette.
- Sliced red onion adds extra flavor and crunch.
- Add cheese, like crumbled feta or fresh grated parmesan.
What to serve with kale salad
Here are a few of my favorite main courses that pair well with kale avocado salad:
- Easy Panko Crusted Salmon
- Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs
- Spicy Honey Shrimp
- Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders
- Beans and Rice Taco Soup
Chopped Kale Avocado Salad
- 8 ounces curly kale
- 2 large avocados
- ½ cup roasted & salted sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Remove ribs from kale by slicing down each side of the rib with a knife. Then, chop kale leaves into bite size pieces and add to a large bowl. Massage kale leaves for one minute - lightly knead and scrunch leaves with clean hands until kale appears slightly darker and more tender.
- Carefully slice avocados in half, remove the seeds, and remove flesh from the skin. Cube avocados into bite size pieces and add to bowl with kale. Add sunflower seeds and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together your vinaigrette ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt.
- Pour vinaigrette over salad ingredients and toss until evenly coated. Optionally, top with cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.
- Top salad with flaked salmon or shredded rotisserie chicken for extra protein.
- Add one tablespoon of maple syrup to vinaigrette for a sweet dressing.
- Salad is best served immediately, as avocado will turn brown after a few hours.
- To make ahead: prepare your kale and dressing and store separately in the refrigerator. Chop your avocado and toss salad together just before serving.