Asian Kale Crunch Salad – This colorful kale salad has a rainbow of veggies, a tangy Asian-inspired dressing, and plenty of crunch. It’s a fresh, delicious side dish or awesome main dish any day of the week! (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Paleo-Friendly)
We’re still riding the summer salad train over here and today I’ve got a CRAZY good kale salad recipe for you.
And if you’re thinking “um, did you say crazy good kale salad?” the answer is YES. Yes, I did.
Because when your salad looks like this Asian Kale Crunch Salad, it’s a GOOD kale salad. This beauty is bright and colorful from a rainbow of veggies, with a tangy asian-inspired dressing, and plenty of satisfying crunch. Plus, you can fill it out even more with plant-based or meaty options if you want!
Here’s what you need to make this kale crunch salad…
HERE’S WHAT GOES INTO THIS ASIAN KALE CRUNCH SALAD:
KALE. I’ve really grown to love kale in salads. Especially when it’s been massaged. I *know* that sounds like a dramatic nonsense extra step, but I pinky promise it’ll change your life. Not only does it give the kale a better texture, but it also works in more of the flavor from the dressing.
PURPLE CABBAGE. I love the bright happy color of purple cabbage, but don’t love just eating giant scoops of it raw. This salad is a PERFECT application. The dressing and other mix-ins are such lovely complements to the purple cabbage.
RED BELL PEPPER. I love the color, crunch, and texture of bell pepper in this salad. I use red peppers for their bright color, but feel free to swap in another color if you like!
SHREDDED CARROTS. Shredded carrots are easier to spear and eat in a salad like this. Feel free to grate your own, or buy them pre-shredded to cut down on a step. It’s up to you!
DICED MANGO. I love diced mango for some sweetness. It’s a great balance with the savory, salty, umami flavors going on in the salad. My favorite are yellow mangos (sometimes labeled Champagne mangos, Atulfo mangos, or honey mangos).
GREEN ONIONS + CILANTRO. Nice fresh flavor that really plays up the Asian-inspired dressing. Plus, even more pretty green!
SUNFLOWER SEEDS OR TOASTED ALMONDS. In addition to all the crunchy fresh veggies, I love adding some nutty crunch with either roasted salted sunflower seeds or toasted almonds. The crunch and flavor are just WOW.
A TANGY ASIAN-INSPIRED DRESSING. Lastly, to tie together this Asian kale crunch salad, I use a simple Asian dressing with rice vinegar, gluten-free tamari (you can also use soy sauce or coconut aminos), and a mix of avocado oil and toasted sesame oil. It’s just lovely here! It’s perfect with the veggies.
CHANGE IT UP! HERE ARE SOME YUMMY WAYS TO CHANGE UP THIS ASIAN KALE SALAD:
ADD AVOCADO. I’d add avocado to basically anything, but it’s REALLY great in this Asian kale crunch salad. I love adding diced avocado to fill it out a bit more for a main dish.
OR, ADD CHICKEN. If you want to turn this Asian kale salad into a main dish and are looking for a meaty protein, diced or grilled chicken is a great addition. (Especially if you marinate it in teriyaki sauce before cooking!)
SWAP MANGO FOR MANDARIN ORANGES. I love diced mango for some sweetness, but when I don’t have one on hand, mandarin oranges packed in 100% juice are a delicious option! (I drain them before adding them to the salad)
TRY SALTED CASHEWS. My usual go-to’s are sunflower seeds or toasted almonds, but roasted salted cashews are also delicious and play nicely with the other flavors in the salad.
ADD GINGER OR GARLIC TO THE DRESSING. If you want to play up the Asian-inspired notes in the dressing, try adding 1 small garlic clove, or 1/2 tsp. freshly minced ginger to the dressing. It’s delicious and punchy (in a good way).
MIX IN SOME QUINOA OR BROWN RICE. Another plant-powered way to kick this Asian-inspired kale salad up a notch is with a cup or so of quinoa or brown rice. It’ll help soak up extra dressing, add fiber and protein, and keep you full longer!
FAQ + TIPS AND TRICKS FOR THE BEST ASIAN KALE CRUNCH SALAD:
HOW LONG WILL THIS ASIAN KALE SALAD STAY FRESH? Once it’s been dressed, my Asian kale crunch salad will start to break down. If you’re not planning to eat it all immediately, I recommend storing the dressing separate from the salad ingredients. I prep the veggies and mix those ahead of time, then add the mango, sunflower seeds/almonds, and dressing right before serving.
GLUTEN-FREE? READ THIS! To be sure this salad stays gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos in the dressing. (Soy sauce is not gluten-free.)
DON’T SKIP MASSAGING THE KALE! One last time in case you missed this above, but I REALLY recommend you don’t skip massaging the kale. It breaks down some of the stiffness (making it easier to eat) and works in some of the dressing for even better flavor. Your kale will be about half it’s original volume after massaging!
LOVE A GOOD SALAD? YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- Wild Rice & Kale Salad
- Confetti Quinoa Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
- Thai Chopped Salad with Peanut Drizzle
- Powerhouse Quinoa Salad
- Mediterranean Orzo Pasta Salad
- Mixed Berry Salad with Tangy Vinaigrette
- French Potato Salad with Vinaigrette