This Strawberry Kale Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing is packed with delicious flavours. Strawberries, creamy avocado, tangy feta, toasted sunflower seeds and a sweet dressing will make this classic baby kale salad your summer favourite!
What better way to celebrate spring and summer than with a bright and colourful, healthy cleansing salad like this Strawberry Kale Salad?
Kale--that green goddess that all the foodie experts swore was just a trend. We all know just how good it is for us and we humble salad lovers know that kale is not a flash-in-the-pan.
It's here to stay.
Tender little leaves of baby kale and sweet strawberries are tossed together with a cheerful poppy seed dressing in this simple salad. Add a little salty feta cheese for contrast, crunchy red onion, toasted sunflower seeds for protein and crunch and you'll have the makings of a beautifully balanced side or lunchtime salad.
And don't forget the avocado!
Ready to make this sweet, healthy kale salad?
Ingredients for Strawberry Kale Salad
kale: baby kale is delicious in this salad. It's tender and has a milder flavour than more mature kale. See Do you need to massage kale?
strawberries: fresh, fully ripe berries have the most flavour
red onion: adds a tangy bite and gives a nice contrast to the sweet berries
feta cheese: for that salty contrast
sunflower seeds: lightly toasted seeds add some crunchy texture
avocado: a must! Creamy avocado make a beautiful addition to this summer salad.
Start by whisking the poppy seed dressing ingredients together (or shake them in a small jar with a lid). Set aside to allow the flavours to blend while you prepare the salad ingredients.
Toast sunflower seeds in a small skillet over medium heat. When they begin to brown, remove from the heat. They'll continue to brown a little from the heat of the pan. If you'd like, you can brown them in a teaspoon of oil and sprinkle with a pinch or two of salt.
Wash and dry the kale or mixed greens, slice the strawberries, chop the onion, crumble the feta and lastly, cube or slice the avocado.
Arrange all the ingredients in a salad bowl or large shallow platter. Drizzle with dressing and toss, or allow your friends or family to add their own dressing.
Possible Variations or Substitutions
Greens: Add other greens to your baby kale. Try romaine, spinach, arugula, or a spring mix.
Cheese: Substitute goat cheese, blue cheese or shavings of Parmesan cheese for the feta.
Nuts: Consider substituting toasted pumpkin seeds for the sunflower seeds, or add toasted sliced almonds or pecans.
Protein: Make this a complete meal by adding grilled shrimp or cooked cubed chicken breasts. Or add crisp cooked bacon crumbles for extra flavour.
You can prepare most of the ingredients ahead of time, but add the avocado last, just before serving, to prevent it from turning brown.
Make ahead for lunches! Pack this strawberry kale salad into containers for pre-made lunches. Store the dressing in a small container separately.
Do you need to massage kale?
Massaging kale leaves helps to break down their cell structure and gives the leaves a softer texture that’s better suited to salads. It can make it easier to digest, too.
The trick to using the curly green variety of kale in a salad is to tenderize it first. All you need to do is remove the tough center rib of the leaves, drizzle it with a teaspoon each of olive oil and lemon juice and a pinch of salt and work it into each leaf with your fingers.
However, if you don't want to massage kale leaves, you can simply chop them very finely. You'll find that the leaves will soften naturally all on their own when they come into contact with a vinaigrette.
Celebrate warm weather and all things green and clean! Enjoy.
Strawberry Kale Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
- 6 cups baby kale leaves, torn or chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- 4 oz feta cheese, cubed
- ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large avocado, sliced or cubed
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds toasted, or other nuts or seeds of your choice
- Combine the dressing ingredients in a small glass jar, shake to combine and set aside to allow flavours to blend.
- Toast sunflower seeds in a small skillet until they begin to brown. Remove from heat and let cool. They will continue to brown a little in the residual heat from the pan.
- Put torn baby kale leaves in a bowl. If they may be tough, drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil, a teaspoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Massage the oil gently into the leaves to tenderize them.
- Chop the onion, slice the strawberries, crumble the feta cheese.
- Arrange the greens in a bowl, top with onion, strawberries, cheese and sunflower seeds. Add cubed or sliced avocado just before serving to prevent it from browning.
- Drizzle with dressing, toss and serve.
This classic salad recipe was originally published in 2015. It has been updated with new information and photos and the recipe has been tweaked.