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.
Asian Raw Kale Salad
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 1 medium salad 1x
- Category: Salad
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 bell pepper, seeded and chopped into big pieces
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar
- ¾ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- 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
- First you have to make the dressing. Simply blend all dressing ingredients thoroughly in a food processor or blender.
- 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.
- Throw the kale into a bowl, drizzle in the salad dressing (don’t skimp), and toss thoroughly.
- Add the avocado, carrots, cabbage and red onion.
- 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.
▸ Nutrition Information
P.s. If you enjoy this salad, you’ll also love my raw kale, apple & avocado salad.
This looks so good!!
The salad is gorgeous and so healthy! That’s the kind of food I’m in the mood for right now.
What I love about this – aside from how healthy it is, is that it is made from ingredients that I have on hand most of the time. Great salad and lovely pictures.
Looks like there is some red onion in the photo …
Oh, you’re right! I forgot to add it to the recipe. Thank you for reminding me.
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! :)
Thank you for your kind words, Sonnet!
Natural, fresh, simple and healthy. Perfect for a quick meal. I wonder how it would taste if I added a bit of vinegar to it.
Actually, there is already some apple cider vinegar in the dressing!
I bought a ton of kale this weekend and googled kale salad and was lucky to find this one! I had it for lunch, it was perfect.
I’m glad you found my recipe, Paige! If you have any kale left, you’ll probably like my raw kale and apple salad, too!
David @ SaladPride
This looks fabulous! Do you think coconut oil would be too strong of a flavor to substitute with the olive oil?
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!
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.
I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the salad, Renessa! I adore kale salads and that red pepper dressing is my favorite.
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.
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!
…And not to mention I’ll be storing your blog in my browser…. :)
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.
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!
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.
Zippy red pepper and ginger dressing is what I need to get rid of this belly bloat. Terrif.
I got the bloat and a belly full of kale. Hoping the kale gets rid of the bloat, stat!
Monique @ Ambitious
love love love raw kale salads. I always feel like they are better the next day too, after the flavors have sunk into the leaves. Can’t wait to make this!
And so begins the salad binge! I could use a few more greens in my life. Looking forward to trying this dressing.
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.
Great question. I think you could just leave out the cabbage altogether (I don’t think you would miss much) or you could use the cabbage and perhaps roast the leftovers, like this: http://www.marthastewart.com/315062/roasted-cabbage-wedges. I’ve been wanting to try roasted cabbage, please let me know if you do!
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!!!
Thank you, Jill! I hope you enjoyed the salad.
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 :-)
Cath, thank you! I’m so glad you all enjoy it.
Kayla @ Blondes Have More Run
I just wanted to let you know I made this today, and it was AWESOME! As I said on my blog post about it, kale never tasted so good. Yum! :)
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!
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!
Thank you so much, Deborah! Delighted to hear that you enjoyed this salad. I don’t think it gets enough attention!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Thanks I’ll totally try that next time. Like I said, it was still a great salad! :)
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?
No, no need to rinse it! You will just add a light sprinkle of salt, which will help counteract the bitterness of the kale.
This is another spectacular kale salad! I am working my way through your kale salads. . . . it has been such a treat! Thank you for opening my eyes to how good raw kale salad can be.
Thank you, Holly! That’s great to hear!
Wow! What an amazing recipe. So good I had to have another serving and then again the next evening. I was dubious about raw kale as I’d never had it before and wasn’t sure if it was even edible but it tasted great
We love, love, loveeee this recipe!
I was most pleasantly surprised at how delicious this salad was after I made it with so many seemingly disparate elements. My husband is a vegan, and I made it with him in mind. The salad accompanied me to a baby shower where I first tasted it and I was hooked! All those excellent healthy ingredients and so amazingly delicious. Thank you for creating this wonderful dish!
A grateful reading food lover
Phyllis, thank you for your note! Delighted to hear that you enjoyed the salad. Thank you for sharing it with your friends!
We just had this salad for dinner. It was fantastic! I served it with yor ‘crispy baked tofu’ — a household favorite. It made a wonderful, comforting and satisfying dinner on a rainy Pacific Northwest night. We love your recipes Kate! Thank you!
Chin Tu Fat
How is this recipe “Asian”? Because you use ginger and cilantro for ingredients?? I am Asian and I don’t recognise this dish as “Asian” at all.
The ginger and sesame oil made it taste like Asian recipes to me. I’m sorry if I offended.
Loved this salad. The dressing was so easy to make and so tasty ! One of my favorites !
Very good! I wasn’t convinced the peppers would liquify in the dressing, but they did; I used a hand/stick blender. This isn’t a thick dressing, more on the thinner side.
Just tossed this salad together for a family reunion this weekend, oh my heavens-it is delicious, I haven’t even added the avacado but had a sample without it and I wanted to lick the bowl it was sooo good!
Haha! So happy you love this, Karen. I hope your family does, too!
Wow! I made and served the Asian Raw Kale Salad tonight for my adult “NYC-living” granddaughter’s birthday dinner and everyone LOVED it. It looked fabulous, too. I had no sesame seeds or a lime on hand so I substituted roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds and fresh lemon juice. I’ll make this again soon.
I’m happy to hear this was such a hit, Betty! I love how this presents, too– so colorful!
I’ve made this a number of times but just realized I haven’t commented yet. This is the first of your kale salads that I made, and it made me into a kale lover! Thank you for the wonderful recipes and kale preparation tips!
Key to kale is the prep work. Love that this won you over and you have made it several times! I appreciate the review, Lisa.
Tried the dressing , really liked it, however after blending in blender it came out too thin . How to improve consistency ?
It will be a little more liquid. You could decrease the amount of lime. Some limes are more juicy than others.
Your recipes never disappoint Kate. I was pleasantly surprised how yummy this was when it was all put together. Massaging kale truly brings it to life. My husband went back to the bowl for seconds! I am going to try some of your other kale salads for sure.
The Raw Red Pepper & Ginger Dressing is amazing on a Spring Roll Salad! I was serving a large group, so stirred the Dressing onto the salad and served Peanut Sauce on the side. (“Fresh Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce”).