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Crunchy Kale Salad w/ Cranberries

Crunchy Kale Salad with Cranberries—Crunchy, sweet, and citrusy, this nutrient-dense salad is perfect for days when you’re craving lighter fare!

top down view of kale salad with cranberries in a white bowl with fork.

This Crunchy Kale Salad, featuring the king of leafy greens, has been a perfect match for my salad cravings. Sweet from the cranberries and red bell pepper, a bit citrusy from the dressing, and crunchy from the carrots, kale, and sunflower seeds, it’s a wonderful combination of flavor and texture!

My favorite way to enjoy a kale salad is to let it marinate with the dressing for about an hour. This will ‘massage’ the kale, helping to soften it and remove some of the bitterness. Making your salad this way is perfect for a pack-and-go lunch option. Your salad will be softened and ready by lunchtime.

When you’re looking to add freshness to your diet, I hope this crunchy kale salad inspires you to eat more wholesome ingredients!

top down view of ingredients for kale salad with cranberries on a wooden cutting board.

What Ingredients Go Into This Kale Salad?

The salad includes chopped kale, carrots, red bell pepper, dried cranberries, and crunchy seeds such as sunflower seeds and hemp hearts. All the veggies are tossed with a delicious dressing made with orange juice, apple cider vinegar, and dijon.

Kale Nutrition & Tips

If you don’t already know, KALE is a powerhouse of nutrients. It’s loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory support, as well as being rich in calcium, iron, and vitamins K, A, and C. It aids in the body’s detoxifying process and offers cardiovascular support.

But even with all this goodness, you may have heard that too much kale is not so good. That is true for some. Kale is a green that may be best consumed moderately, especially for those with kidney and gallbladder issues because of the high amounts of oxalates.

If you’re in good health, kale can be consumed on a fairly regular basis without much concern. Look for organic kale whenever possible. The ‘Dirty Dozen’ list has been revised to be the ‘Dirty Dozen Plus’ with kale and collard greens coming in at #19 of produce with the highest amounts of pesticide residue.

top down view of orange dressing being poured into a white bowl filled with chopped kale, shredded carrots, dried cranberries and sliced red bell peppers.

How To Make Crunchy Kale Salad

  1. Start with mixing the dressing ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Mix kale, carrots, bell peppers, cranberries and dressing together. Massage the kale, by letting it set for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temp or in the refrigerator, stirring every so often. This will soften the kale nicely, reducing the toughness and bitterness. Before serving, add the sunflower seeds and hemp hearts and give a good stir.
  3. Serve the kale salad in individual bowls and optionally top with more cranberries and seeds. Even if you don’t have time to let the kale marinate with the dressing, the salad will still be great!

And that’s it—a vibrant and nutrient-dense kale salad for a healthy lunch or light dinner. It makes enough for two servings.

Salad Tips

  • Be sure to ‘massage’ the kale. It softens the leaves and removes some bitterness.
  • Citrus juice can be made from orange, lemon, lime, and/or grapefruit. You can mix and match the flavors using whatever you have on hand or is available.
  • To make this a creamy dressing, add 1 – 2 tablespoons tahini when mixing it. For a variation, try using this Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing.
top down view of kale salad with cranberries in a white bowl with fork, sitting on a wooden cutting board.

More Healthy Kale Recipes!

If you try this easy kale salad recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below. I love to hear what you think, or any changes you make.



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5 from 1 review

Crunchy, sweet and citrusy, this nutrient dense salad is perfect for those days you’re craving the lighter fare!

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2
  • Category: Entree, Salad
  • Cuisine: Vegan


  • 1 bunch kale, julienned
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (toasted or raw)
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts


  • 4 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 12 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, optional


In a small mixing bowl, combine the dressing ingredients and set aside.

Mix kale, carrots, bell peppers, and dressing together. Let set for about at least 30 minutes to an hour at room temp or in the refrigerator. This will help reduce the toughness and bitterness. Just before serving, toss in the sunflower seeds and hemp hearts and give a good stir.

Serve in individual bowls topped with more cranberries and seeds as desired. If you don’t have time to let the kale marinate with the dressing, the salad will still be great!

Serves 2


Use orange, lemon, lime and/or grapefruit as your citrus juice. Mix and match your citrus flavors using whatever you have on hand or is available.

Make this a creamy dressing by adding 1 – 2 tablespoon tahini when mixing the dressing. For variation try using this Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing.

The dijon is optional, I found that I preferred it with a small amount. Try it both ways and see what you think.

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  1. I love this salad so much. I found the recipe several years ago and I make it often. It is one of my main go-to recipes for camping, potlucks, and dinner parties. I love it because you can prepare the veggies ahead of time (even a few days) and keep the dressing and the seeds on the side until a few hours before you eat. Tastes good, easy to make, yummy and crunchy.

  2. I just found your blog and this is the first recipe I have tried. It is amazing; simply amazing. I cannot wait to try your other recipes!

  3. What a great salad, love kale and this dressing sounds wonderful!!!

  4. Genevieve says:

    So fresh! Love all the textures going on in this salad.

  5. This salad instantly caught my eye. Those colours and the fresh green leafs. Stunning!I also like mixing greens with dried fruit. It's so much fun.Thanks for sharing this great recipe!Kimberly

  6. The market is still bursting with organic kale and this salad looks like the perfect clean eats lunch to recover from way too much eating out this week! Yum.

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