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Easy Mediterranean Kale Salad

This mouthwatering and Easy Mediterranean Kale Salad will easily become one of your favorite ways to eat kale. It is our favorite kale salad here at home and on lunch rotation weekly. It has some crunch from purple cabbage and cucumber, protein from the chicken, and is enveloped in my Easy Lemon Dijon Dressing. This is a simple, but incredibly delicious salad.

mediterranean kale salad in white bowl on white table
Easy and Simple Mediterranean Kale Salad

Why I love this Kale Salad recipe

The recipe for this Mediterranean Kale Salad reminds me of something I would eat on a beach somewhere on the coast. Maybe here in the West or maybe in Europe. With the flavors of lemon and garlic from the dressing, the tomato-cucumber combination, and the crunch of kale and cabbage, it’s a perfect, hearty, and nutritious salad. Here in Los Angeles, kale is used in so many ways, and just about every restaurant has some version of a kale salad or a lunch/dinner bowl that has kale in it. We are also lucky to have several choices of kale in our supermarkets and farmer’s markets.

You can use all types of kale for this salad: baby, lacinato, or curly. All varieties work perfectly in this salad. Like most Kale salads, you will have to give it a little massage but it’s well worth the few seconds it takes. I use poached chicken breast for this salad, but you can use rotisserie chicken in a pinch. My other favorite veggies in this salad are purple cabbage, cucumbers, tomatoes, and the best lemony Easy Lemon Dijon Dressing that makes everything work harmoniously. You can substitute Garbanzo beans or chickpeas for the poached chicken. In addition, Feta cheese works well in this salad making this fully customizable.

Types of Kale for this salad

As I mentioned above, all types of Kale work well for this Easy Mediterranean Kale Salad. Baby kale, curly and curly purple, and of course, lacinato or dinosaur kale. I love all versions of kale for this salad, it’s just a matter of taste. For the salad pictured, I used green, curly Kale which is widely available. If you are using kale leaves, please make sure the leaves are removed from the tough stalks. They tend to be bitter and will never tenderize making the salad much less enjoyable. For baby kale, this variety typically comes prepackaged, and ready to eat. I also like to remove the little stems, but that’s optional.

curly kale on white background
Kale – a superfood green

Why should you massage Kale?

Massaging Kale helps to tenderize the normally tough green. I prefer to massage it with some of the dressing that I’m using for the salad I’m making. The vinegar or acid in the dressing helps to tenderize the fibers of the Kale making the texture more enjoyable.

Poached chicken breasts

I poach my chicken breasts for this salad. I used chicken breast cutlets because they cook quickly. But, rotisserie chicken works well for this recipe and cuts the prep time considerably, or leftover roasted chicken like my Simple Herb Roast Chicken is perfect for this salad.

How to poach chicken cutlets

In a medium skillet, or shallow pan with lid, add chicken cutlets. Cover with enough water to cover the chicken cutlets. Add 1/2 dried bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, pinch of salt, and fresh ground pepper. Allow the water to come to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes with the lid on the skillet or pan. The chicken cutlets will be done when the juices run clear. You can use a quick-read meat thermometer and the internal temperature should read 165F. If you are using regular chicken breasts or bone-in, the cooking process will take longer. I’d start checking the chicken for about 15 minutes of cooking for normal-sized chicken breasts.

Once the chicken cutlets are cooked, remove them from the liquid, place them on a plate, and allow them to cool. Discard the cooking liquid.

Ingredients for this Easy Mediterranean Kale Salad

  • 10 ounces of poached chicken cutlets or rotisserie chicken, shredded
  • 1 bunch of kale, stems removed, washed dried and chopped.
  • 1 cup of sliced English or Persian cucumber
  • 1 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup of shredded purple cabbage, you can use green cabbage also
  • 1 recipe of Easy Lemon Dijon Dressing
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Sea salt to finish

How to assemble this salad

Using a large bowl, add the chopped Kale and half of the Easy Lemon Dijon Dressing. Using your hands massage the dressing into the kale gently. Typically about 1 minute or so. Set aside for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the poached shredded chicken, cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, and shredded purple cabbage. Toss the remainder of the dressing and fresh ground pepper.

close up of Mediterranean kale salad
Easy Mediterranean Kale Salad with Easy Lemon Dijon Dressing

How to serve and store left overs

I like to add a little sea salt to finish the salad. I serve this salad with warm pita bread with hummus or toum. (Toum is a wonderful Lebanese garlic sauce.) This recipe yields 2 huge salads. If your appetite is smaller, this recipe can yield 4 salads.

These salads are excellent to prepare for busy weeks. I like to use 4 cup glass containers for these and other salads and I add a small salad dressing containers inside the container so its really easy to grab and go.

If the salad has been tossed and you have left overs, the kale holds up quite well. If you use purple cabbage you may see some of the color bleed into the salad but other wise, it will do nicely for a day or so. After that, you may notice the cucumber and tomatoes become to soften beyond the point of being pleasant to eat.

Frequently asked questions

Can this salad be made for meal prep?

Yes, but I suggest adding the dressing the morning of, and by lunchtime, it should be perfectly tender and perfect to eat.

Can I substitute chicken?

Yes. Chickpeas, white beans, feta, and cooked salmon or shrimp work well with this recipe. Grains like Quinoa and Farro also are excellent in this salad. You can mix and match as you wish.

What other greens can I use instead of kale?

Spinach and romaine work as good substitutes but keep in mind they are not as hearty like kale for meal prep. Make sure to dress the salad when are ready to eat.

If you love a good Kale salad, I also have a few other variations you might like. Chicken Schnitzel with Autumn Kale Salad, Sweet Kale Quinoa Salad with Feta, and my Kale Broccolini Roasted Butternut Squash Salad.

Inspired by this recipe? Make sure to mention us or tag us on Instagram or Pin this recipe for later.  All content and photographs ©Claudia’s Table and claudiastable.com

mediterranean kale salad in white bowl on white background

Easy Mediterranean Kale Salad

Ana P @ Claudia’s Table
January 31, 2024
This mouthwatering and Easy Mediterranean Kale Salad will easily become one of your favorite ways to eat kale. It is our favorite kale salad here at home and on lunch rotation weekly.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, meal prep
Cuisine American, Mediterranean
Servings 2 large salads
Calories 341 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large bowl

Ingredients
  

Poaching chicken breast cutlets (omit if you are using rotisserie chicken)

  • 2, 5 ounce chicken cutlets boneless, skinless
  • 1/2 dried bay leaf
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pepper, fresh ground

Mediterranean Kale Salad

  • 10 ounces poached chicken cutlets or rotisserie chicken shredded, skin removed if you are using rotisserie chicken.
  • 1 bunch of kale stems removed, washed dried and chopped.
  • 1 cup English or Persian cucumber sliced
  • 1 cup tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup purple or green cabbage shredded
  • 1 recipe Easy Lemon Dijon Dressing see link in notes
  • Freshly cracked pepper
  • Sea salt to finish

Instructions
 

Poached chicken cutlets (omit if you are using rotisserie chicken)

  • In a medium skillet, or shallow pan with lid, add chicken cutlets. Cover with enough water to cover the chicken cutlets. Add 1/2 dried bay leaf, 1 garlic clove, pinch of salt, and fresh ground pepper.
  • Allow the water to come to a gentle simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes with the lid on the skillet or pan.
  • The chicken cutlets will be done when the juices run clear. You can use a quick-read meat thermometer and the internal temperature should read 165F. If you are using regular chicken breasts or bone-in, the cooking process will take longer. I'd start checking the chicken for about 15 minutes of cooking for normal-sized chicken breasts.
  • When the chicken is done, remove from the cooking liquid and allow to cool. Discard remaining liquid.
  • Remove the skin off the chicken if you used rotisserie-style chicken.
  • Shred the chicken cutlets when cooled.

Mediterranean Kale Salad

  • Using a large bowl, add the chopped Kale and half of the Easy Lemon Dijon Dressing. Using your hands massage the dressing into the kale gently. Typically about 1 minute or so.
  • Set aside for about 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, add the poached chicken, cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, and shredded purple cabbage.
  • Toss with the remainder of the dressing. Finish with fresh ground pepper and a pinch of sea salt.

Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal

Nutritional information is calculated online and should be used as a guide.

Keyword easy kale salad, kale salad, kale salad recipe, kale salad with lemon dressing, Mediterranean Diet, poached chicken

All content and photographs ©Claudia’s Table and claudiastable.com

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