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spoon scooping out some festive kale salad from bowl
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5 from 6 votes

Festive Kale Salad

This Festive Kale Salad features a fresh lemony dressing, dried cranberries and delicious pecan parmesan. It's my favorite kale salad recipe ever, and it's perfect for a holiday dinner! Gluten free, vegan & oil free.
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 341kcal
Author: Nora Taylor


  • 2 large bunches kale (about 9 cups chopped)
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

Lemon Dressing

  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Pecan Parmesan


  • Prepare the kale: Remove the stems from the kale. I use a knife, but you can also use your hands. Finely chop the kale leaves. Wash the kale and then spin it dry, using a salad spinner.
  • Make the dressing: In a small jar with a lid, combine all the dressing ingredients. Put the lid on, and shake until combined. You could also whisk the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Massage the salad: Add the washed, chopped kale to a large bowl. Pour the dressing on top and gently massage it into the kale. The leaves will turn a darker green and soften slightly. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half.
  • Make the Pecan Parmesan: Add the pecans, nutritional yeast and salt to a food processor. Pulse until it's a coarse crumb texture, withe some pecan pieces left. You don't want it to be a fine powder; you want some texture left. It won't take long.
  • Put the salad together: Sprinkle the pecan parmesan over the massaged greens, and then add the dried cranberries. Serve and enjoy!
  • This salad will save for about 1 day in the refrigerator, but not longer than that. It's best the day you make it! It will serve 4-6 as a small side salad, and 2 as a main dish salad. Double if needed for large get togethers or holidays.


  1.  I prefer to use lacinato/dinosaur kale, but other varieties will work. The smaller you chop the kale, the better!
  2. Other good additions to this salad: chopped apples, chickpeas and/or sliced red onions.
  3. If you make the salad ahead of time, store it covered in refrigerator. For best results, keep the pecan parmesan and cranberries separate until ready to serve.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 524mg | Potassium: 960mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 15074IU | Vitamin C: 190mg | Calcium: 257mg | Iron: 3mg