This is my favorite Kale Salad, tossed with candied pecans, blue cheese, and cranberries. It’s a simple and delicious starter for any meal, or you can add Grilled Chicken Breast or Grilled Flank Steak and make it an entree!

Salad is often thought of as health food, but I honestly eat this salad because it tastes good.

Kale Salad - with Cranberries, Candied Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Balsamic Vinaigrette in Brown Bowl

Kale has a mixed reputation, which is captured pretty well by comedian Jim Gaffigan in one of his bits on Kale.

“Can we stop with the kale propaganda?” 😂

With all the talk about kale as a superfood, I understand where Jim is coming from, but all of that aside I think kale is TOTALLY delicious! Dino kale, curly kale, red kale, I love it all.

Like many vegetables, kale needs to be prepared right. One of the secrets is to massage the kale first.

This salad here is how I eat my kale about 75% of the time. Massaged and raw in a salad with candied pecans, cranberries, and blue cheese. I devour the stuff.

Candied Pecans - In a White Circular Dish with Burlap Underneath

I’m a big believer in adding fun ingredients to salad, and candied pecans here are a real treat.

They’re incredibly simple to make, and quick too. A lot of candied pecans are made in the oven, but my recipe only takes a few minutes on the stovetop.

A bowl of soup sitting on top of a wooden table, with Salad and Vinaigrette

For the dressing, Balsamic Vinaigrette is my favorite to pair with these flavors, but a Lemon Vinaigrette would also work nicely.

 Kale Salad with Cranberries - In a big Brown Ceramic Bowl with Tea Towel Next To It

Massage the kale leaves with a pinch of salt and the vinaigrette of your choice, and toss with the candied pecans, some crumbled blue cheese, and dried cranberries. Then you’re in business. It’s easy and delicious!

Also, I want to emphasize not to skip the pinch of salt. This is one of the secrets to a really good salad, for bringing out all the flavors. It makes a world of difference.

Warm Brussel Sprout Salad with Crispy Goat CheeseTomato Burrata Salad, and classic Caesar Salad with REAL Caesar Dressing are a few more of my favorites for dinner. Enjoy!

Kale Salad - with Cranberries, Candied Pecans, Blue Cheese, and Balsamic Vinaigrette in Brown Bowl

Kale Salad with Blue Cheese, Cranberries, and Candied Pecans

Massaged kale is tossed with candied pecans, blue cheese, and cranberries, for this simple and delicious salad.

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  • Strip the kale leaves from the stem by pinching at the base of the stem and pulling it through. Once all leaves are removed, discard the stems and rinse the leaves well.
  • Dry the kale in a salad spinner or with paper towels, very thoroughly. Any water that's leftover on the greens will water down your dressing, which you really don't want!
  • Place the kale in a large bowl, and add the balsamic vinaigrette and salt. Use your fingers to massage the vinaigrette into the leaves, for about 1 minute, until the greens reduce slightly in volume.
  • Add the pecans, blue cheese, and cranberries, and toss. The salad is ready to serve. Enjoy!


Calories: 382kcal, Carbohydrates: 25g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 348mg, Potassium: 70mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 19g, Vitamin A: 680IU, Vitamin C: 6.6mg, Calcium: 117mg, Iron: 0.6mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

Post updated in December 2019. Originally published May 2015.