Asian Raw Kale Salad with Red Pepper Dressing

Asian raw kale salad with red pepper dressing -

I’ve been bursting to share this recipe with you all, but haven’t found the right words to describe this salad. So many come to mind: beautiful, vibrant, fresh, flavorful. Not to mention that it’s raw, vegan, packed with phytonutrients and about as healthy as it gets. None of those words or phrases do this salad justice.

I don’t even know what to call it. Sesame ginger kale salad? A red pepper, avocado and sesame kale salad? With cilantro and sesame? Basically, it’s an Asian-inspired salad composed of massaged raw kale that is tossed with homemade red pepper ginger dressing. I topped it with avocado, sesame seeds, cilantro, carrots and purple cabbage. You could go without the carrots and cabbage, but they happened to be in my fridge at the time and look awfully pretty together.

Kale, which is a so-called “power food” and member of the cabbage family, makes this salad particularly substantial. Kale is a nutrient-dense green full of vitamins A, B6, C and K (source). I could go on about the vitamins in this salad, but I’d probably end up spouting off letters A to Z. And frankly, you don’t need to know about them to enjoy this salad. It is a mighty tasty salad that leaves you feeling like you’re glowing from the inside. I mean it: your belly will thank you afterward.

raw red pepper and ginger dressing

Kale salad with avocado, carrots, and ginger-red pepper dressing

Asian Raw Kale Salad
5.0 from 4 reviews
Serves: 1
A beautiful raw kale salad tossed in a zippy red pepper and ginger dressing. Note that this recipe yields enough dressing for four medium-sized salads. The salad ingredients yield one medium-sized salad, so multiply by up to four if you're feeding friends or family.
Raw Red Pepper and Ginger Salad Dressing
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped into big pieces
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • ¾ inch piece of ginger (approximate)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • totally optional: ¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil, which isn’t raw, but tastes good!
  • 5 big stalks of kale
  • Sea salt
  • Raw red pepper and ginger salad dressing (see recipe above)
  • ½ avocado, cubed
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced into strips with a vegetable peeler
  • 3 tablespoons purple cabbage, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  1. First you have to make the dressing. Simply blend all dressing ingredients thoroughly in a food processor or blender.
  2. Pull the kale leaves off from the tough stem, and break into small, bite sized pieces. Sprinkle with sea salt and massage the leaves for a couple of minutes, meaning that you should scrunch handfuls of kale in your hands, release, repeat. The kale will become darker in color and more fragrant. This step improves the taste of raw kale.
  3. Throw the kale into a bowl, drizzle in the salad dressing (don’t skimp), and toss thoroughly.
  4. Add the avocado, carrots, cabbage and red onion.
  5. Top with cilantro and a big sprinkle of sesame seeds. Enjoy!
  • This dressing keeps well for about four days in the fridge. I actually think it tastes better after refrigerating overnight. The dressed salad should keep well for a couple of days in the refrigerator, covered. For best results, top with avocado just before serving.

P.s. If you enjoy this salad, you’ll also love my raw kale, apple & avocado salad.


  1. says

    I LOVE raw kale salads! I can’t believe I’ve never made an Asian-inspired one – it’s such a good idea! Your photographs are beautiful! You have a true talent for showcasing food! :)

    • says

      Hi, thanks for asking! I don’t think I would substitute coconut oil for the olive oil because I’m not sure it would complement the other flavors in the dressing. I’m not entirely sure if it would cause problems, though. If you try it, please let us know what you think!

  2. Renessa says

    Kate, the photo sold me on making the salad, and the dish was absolutely *DE-LISH*. Wonderful dressing! Forgot the lime at the store and had to use a little lemon instead. It was still very refreshing. Thank you for posting.

  3. Ana says

    WOW! What a pleasant salad dressing! I’ve served it to my roommates three different times now with this batch, and every time it’s as though they are trying it for the first time. “Wow, this salad is so good, what is it like a lemony citrus..?? I usually have to drown out the kale with other flavors, but this is great.” It’s a PERFECT recipe, not too strong in any flavor but a total delight. Definitely making another batch soon.

    • says

      Thanks for commenting, Ana! So happy to hear that you enjoy the salad dressing. I think kale salads call for strong dressings. You might also like the balsamic dressing I use in my kale and apple salad, which is heavier in vinegar and mustard than most dressings. The red pepper dressing is my favorite, but I whip up the balsamic dressing when I don’t have enough time for the other. It’s great with avocado or dried cherries or cranberries!

  4. says

    I tried the salad dressing yesterday, tastes so good! It would be so nice to have raw restaurants as well here in Italy, I would run working there just to learn so many things…but I’ll have to train myself differently, thanks for your ideas! I’ll publish it on my foodblog.

  5. Liz says

    Made this salad tonight to go with an Asian-y salmon dish. It was the perfect compliment. I use kale a lot this time of year, but have never tried it raw. Thanks for the scrunching tip!

    • says

      Thanks for the comment, Liz! I never thought to serve this salad with salmon but I bet that is a delicious combo. I have several other kale salad recipes on the site if you want to give those a try.

  6. Grace says

    And so begins the salad binge! I could use a few more greens in my life. Looking forward to trying this dressing.

  7. Kitu says

    Hi Kate,

    For this salad recipe can you recommend a good substitute for the purple cabbage?
    I always have extra cabbage leftover and I don’t know what to do with it.

  8. Jill says

    Thank you so much!!! Searching for a asian kale salad and yours was the first to pop up!!! It looks great and I am making it tonight! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  9. Cath says

    I adore this salad, and so does my husband and three year and a half year old! So delicious and you feel so great after eating it! We use whatever leaves we have.
    Thanks for inventing it- sending you gratitude from provincial Argentina :-)

    • says

      Thanks, Kayla! So glad you enjoyed this salad. I don’t think it gets the attention it deserves, so thank you for recommending it on your blog!

  10. Deborah says

    This salad is AMAZING!! The red pepper dressing is just fantastic, and your technique for massaging the kale really makes it tastier. I posted a link to it on my Facebook page and a few friends have shared it. So your delicious recipe is making the rounds. Thank you for sharing it!

  11. Lisa says

    Wow this was good!! I made it today – left out the avocado as I didnt have any. That dressing is amazing…any ideas to lessen the oil content? Sure is good tho….. YUM.

    • says

      Thanks, Lisa! Glad you enjoyed it! I wouldn’t worry about the oil content, especially since olive oil helps your body absorb all the nutrients in kale!

  12. Corina says

    It had a little too much apple cider vinegar but still tastes good! I would do 1 tbsp next time but that’s just me.

    • says

      Sorry to hear that, Corina! Perhaps some extra agave nectar would have helped balance it out to suit your taste buds. Hope your next time turns out perfectly!

  13. Diane says

    The salad looks great and I really want to try it! But I do have a question about the process of making it. After the salt massage, do you rinse it with water before dressing it? Or is that not necessary?

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