This is the BEST kale salad recipe ever! It’s made with fresh and flavorful massaged kale, topped with avocado, carrot ribbons, and a crunchy seed blend tossed in a creamy homemade tahini dressing. Enjoy this easy salad as the perfect light lunch or side.

Leafy green kale is one of my favorite salad ingredients. If you love kale recipes as much as I do, be sure to try my easy kale slaw recipe next!

Overhead view of kale salad topped with avocado, carrots, seeds, and dressing in a large serving bowl.

This easy kale salad recipe is packed full of tender fresh greens, creamy avocado, crunchy carrot ribbons, cabbage, and a deliciously nutty seed blend. Drizzled with the best homemade tahini dressing, this is the perfect salad to enjoy for lunch or as a side with a larger meal. It’s super simple to pull together and the ingredients, as always, are totally customizable. Feel free to adapt them to suit your tastes, or with whatever you have on hand in the fridge!

Why You’ll Love This Easy Kale Salad Recipe

  • Fresh and crunchy. There are so many irresistible textures and flavors going on here. This salad has flavorful massaged kale that’s just tender enough, combined with crunchy veggies, toasted seeds, and the smooth creaminess of the avocado and dressing.
  • Quick to make. This kale salad comes together in 20 minutes or less. I’m sharing all my tips and tricks on how to get the utmost flavor out of each ingredient, including how to tenderize the kale.
  • Adaptable. All the best salad recipes aren’t only made one way, and this is the best kale salad for a reason! Make this recipe your own with your favorite toppings, change up the dressing, and get creative with proteins and add-ons.
A hand massaging kale leaves in a metal bowl.

Notes on Ingredients

Let’s start with some quick notes on your best-ever kale salad components. Scroll down to the recipe card after the post for a printable list of ingredients with amounts.

  • Kale – You can’t make a kale salad without it! Kale is a wonderful ingredient, found in the produce aisle alongside other leafy greens. When massaged, kale loses some of its natural bitterness and takes on a deliciously tender texture.
  • Toppings – My kale salad toppings include fresh carrot ribbons, diced avocado, shredded red cabbage, and a crunchy combination of toasted pepitas, hemp seeds, and sesame seeds.

For the Dressing

  • Tahini – This is a creamy condiment made from ground toasted sesame seeds. You’ll find tahini in the condiment aisle of most major grocery chains, or you can make homemade tahini (all it takes is 2 ingredients!).
  • Sesame Oil – You’ll use oil to thin out the dressing a little. Sesame oil is a natural choice alongside the tahini, but you can also use avocado oil or even olive oil in a pinch.
  • Tamari – For a hit of delicious umami. Tamari is a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce, but regular soy sauce or coconut aminos are also good options.
  • Lime – Freshly squeezed lime juice brightens up the dressing. Feel free to substitute lime with lemon or a splash of vinegar if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Garlic – Because every dressing is better with freshly minced garlic!

Can I Use Another Salad Dressing?

I love the clean and creamy flavors of tahini dressing with this kale salad, but there are plenty of other dressing options, too! If you’d like to change things up, try a light vinaigrette like the one I use for my kale apple salad. There’s also the sweet and tangy poppyseed dressing from my kale chickpea salad. For something extra kicky, try this spicy tahini made with harissa.

Close up of kale salad topped with avocado, carrots, seeds, and dressing in a large serving bowl.

How to Massage Kale for a Salad

As any kale lover will tell you, raw kale often comes with a slightly bitter flavor. But don’t let that deter you. To bring out the best in raw kale, all you need to do is give it a little massage to break down those tough fibers. Massaged kale is more tender, tastier, and easier to digest. Here’s how it’s done:

  • Separate the leaves. With your fresh bunch of kale ready to go, tear or trim the leaves away from the hard stems. Add the leaves to a bowl.
  • Use your hands. Get in there with your (clean) hands and squeeze and massage the leaves firmly. Continue for about a minute, to really get them nice and soft.
  • Chop and wash the kale. After massaging, chop the kale and wash it well under cold water. Your massaged kale is ready to go into your salad!
Overhead view of kale salad topped with avocado, carrots, seeds, and dressing in a large serving bowl, next to a spoon and a small bowl of tahini dressing.

How to Make the Best Kale Salad

Once your ingredients are ready to go, this kale salad recipe comes together in minutes. Follow the step-by-step overview below, and scroll to the recipe card for printable instructions.

  • Prepare the kale. First, you’ll massage, chop, and then wash your raw kale leaves following the directions above. Add the
  • Add toppings. Top your salad with avocado, carrots, and seeds.
  • Add the dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Drizzle the tahini dressing over the salad. Give everything a good toss to combine, making sure that tasty dressing gets into all the nooks and crannies.

Tips and Variations

  • Massage the kale. I repeat: Massage. The. Kale. Don’t skip this step, as raw kale that hasn’t been for a quick massage sesh isn’t nearly as appetizing.
  • Get creative with toppings. Feel free to create new topping combinations using your favorite add-ins. Try adding cooked chopped beetroot, roasted butternut squash, green cabbage, snap peas, edamame beans, roasted chickpeas, and more.
  • Add nuts. Chopped walnuts, pecans, or slivered almonds are a great way to add more crunch to this kale salad.
  • Add protein. To make this salad into a meal, add protein like marinated tofu, crispy baked tofu, or tempeh. See below for more easy serving suggestions.

What to Serve With Kale Salad

The beauty of a great kale salad is that it’s such a versatile meal idea. Kale stays fresh for a while even after being tossed in dressing, so pack this salad for an easy work lunch and wash it down with a fresh green smoothie. It’s also wonderful paired with a BBQ chickpea wrap, or you can serve it as a side with a bowl of creamy pumpkin soup in the colder months. Kale salad also makes a yummy side dish at the dinner table next to pasta dishes like butternut ravioli or baked eggplant parmesan.

How to Store Leftovers

  • Refrigerate. It’s best to store this kale salad without the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover salad airtight for up to 3 days. Store the dressing separately in a jar or container, and it will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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Overhead view of kale salad topped with avocado, carrots, seeds, and dressing in a large serving bowl.

Kale Salad with Tahini Dressing

This is the BEST kale salad recipe! Made with fresh and flavorful massaged kale, topped with avocado, carrot ribbons, creamy homemade tahini dressing, and a crunchy seed blend, this easy salad is the perfect light lunch or side.
4.91 (from 11 ratings)


The Best Kale Salad

  • 6 cups kale, torn and washed

Tahini Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon tamari, or liquid aminos or low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Toppings (use any amount you want, but these are my rough estimates)

  • cup pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • ½ avocado, cubed
  • carrot ribbons, from 1 carrot
  • ¼ cup shredded purple cabbage
  • ¼ cup hulled hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black or white sesame seeds, optional


The Best Kale Salad

  • Massage and cut or tear kale in a large strainer for about 2 minutes. After cutting, wash kale, dry and set aside.
  • Add dressing on top or lightly combine. Add toppings and toss to combine.
  • Enjoy!

Tahini Dressing

  • In a medium-size bowl add all the dressing ingredients and whisk until fully combined and smooth.


  • For an extra delicious salad, toast your pepitas beforehand in about 2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Shake occasionally, until pepitas begin to pop. Season generously with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Calories: 275kcal, Carbohydrates: 17g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 268mg, Potassium: 765mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 12751IU, Vitamin C: 130mg, Calcium: 206mg, Iron: 4mg

Disclaimer: Although attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.