citrus kale salad with cranberries and toasted almonds

Kale salad

Over Christmas break I discovered the Whole Foods self-serve food bar. Then, my life changed forever. There is no longer an excuse for eating yucky fast food when quick, healthy, prepared food is available.

I actually went out to dinner there with a friend instead of going to a restaurant. It was nice to choose which food I wanted and also control my portions.

I ended up with a mozzarella salad, tofu “nuggets,” pasta salad with asparagus and a citrusy kale salad. Kale is one of those foods I’ve really been trying to get in to. It’s almost too bitter to eat plain, but I can still taste it in my smoothies. I figured Whole Foods would be as good a place as any to try kale salad. Since then, I haven’t been able to get the salad out of my mind.

I scoured the internet for a knock-off recipe and came across this one from Pepper Lynn. It’s pretty darn close to the real thing and downright delicious. I even saved some of the extra salad dressing to use on my baby spinach.

There may not be a Whole Foods in Knoxville, but I’m satisfied with this homemade rendition of the best (and only) kale salad I’ve ever had.

Kale salad

Citrus Kale Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Almonds

Makes 4-6 servings


  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large bunch kale (I used a bag from Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, orange juice, honey, salt, and pepper.
  2. Remove the tough stems from the kale and tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Rinse in cold water and dry with a paper towel or run through a salad spinner to remove the excess moisture.
  3. Place the almonds in a skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan often to prevent burning. Heat the nuts until they are browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Once toasted, remove the pan from the heat to allow the almonds to cool, then give the nuts a rough chop.
  4. In a large salad bowl, toss together the kale, almonds, cranberries, and half of the prepared vinaigrette. Pour in more of the dressing until there is enough to coat the kale without oversaturating it (the amount of dressing needed will vary since kale is sold in bunches of varying sizes; the ones I’ve been buying lately have been huge!). Add additional salt and pepper to taste.



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