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This baby kale salad with pink grapefruit, creamy avocados, toasted almonds, and salty parmesan is absolutely delicious. It's a simple salad that's bursting with flavors. Sweet, tangy, salty, creamy, crunchy … this salad has it all!
This recipe was originally published way back in 2012. We've freshened it up with some new photos and more information. We add avocado to the salad now but other than that it's the same great recipe that we've been loving for years.
Baby kale salad
This is a good one, friends! Tender baby kale leaves are so different than regular kale that they've been known to convert kale skeptics.
We love our salads with lots of contrasting flavors and textures. It's what makes a great salad.
In this baby kale salad recipe, we toss the tender leaves in a sweet, grapefruit vinaigrette. Then some creamy diced avocados, nutty toasted almonds, tangy grapefruit segments, and salty parmesan join the party.
It's a match that tastes truly special. It can be our little secret how simple it is to make.
How to make this baby kale salad recipe
Baby kale salad is very easy to make!
If your almonds are not toasted, start by doing that first. Put them into the oven at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. TIP: toast a whole bunch at once so you'll have some for the next time you make salad.
- Put the salad dressing ingredients in a jar and give it a shake.
- Put the baby kale into your salad bowl with the diced avocados, grapefruit segments, toasted almonds, and a little parmesan cheese and toss with the salad dressing.
- Let the dressing sit on the kale for a few minutes so that the baby kale softens a touch then dig in!
Best dressing for baby kale salad
Kale is a bitter green and tastes best with a little sweetness. Our best kale salad dressing goes really well with this salad.
But we also love the grapefruit vinaigrette version that is in this recipe. We sweeten it with honey to cut kale's bitter flavor while keeping the recipe refined sugar free.
READ MORE: Grapefruit Vinaigrette
Baby kale salad variations
We love the combination of tart grapefruit, toasted almonds, creamy avocados, and salty parmesan with baby kale. But you can switch things up based on what's in your kitchen and what you love to eat.
- Use oranges instead of grapefruit.
- Try using goat cheese, Boursin, or feta instead of the parmesan cheese.
- Swap the almonds for some toasted pecans, walnuts, or even cashews.
- For a sweeter salad, throw in a handful of dried cranberries or raisins.
Should I massage baby kale?
Massaging kale might sound like a silly thing to do, but it helps soften the kale and make it nicer to eat.
But baby kale is a lot less tough than when it's fully grown, so massaging isn't really necessary.
There's also another option … rather than massaging kale, simply let the dressing sit on the leaves for 2-3 minutes before you eat the salad. The kale leaves will begin to soften all on their own this way!
So if you find that your baby kale salad is a little too chewy for your liking, just set it aside for a few minutes and it will be easier to eat when you return to it.
What to serve with baby kale salad
This is a great salad to serve with a simple piece of fish or meat to make a healthy dinner. Our perfect baked chicken breasts or our 8 minute baked salmon are both good options. A few other recipes that go well with baby kale salad are:
Popular kale salad recipes
- 5 ounces baby kale
- 1 pink grapefruit (peeled and segments cut out)
- ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds
- 1 avocado (sliced)
- Optional: parmesan cheese
Best Dressing for Baby Kale Salad
- 2 tablespoons pink grapefruit juice (squeeze this from what's left of the grapefruit after you cut out the segments)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 pinch salt and pepper
- Place the baby kale, grapefruit segments, almonds, avocados, and if using, the parmesan in a large salad bowl.5 ounces baby kale, 1 pink grapefruit, ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds, 1 avocado, Optional: parmesan cheese
- Add the salad dressing ingredients to a jar then shake the dressing until it is slightly creamy looking.2 tablespoons pink grapefruit juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey, ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard, 1 pinch salt and pepper
- Pour the dressing over the kale, toss gently to mix, then let the salad sit for 2-3 minutes so that the kale softens slightly.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.