Garlicky Massaged Kale Salad with Chipotle Dressing

Garlicky Massaged Kale Salad tossed with tomatoes, cucumber and a smoky chipotle dressing. This tasty 10 minute salad is one of our favorites!

Garlicky Massaged Kale Salad

Whole Food’s Vegan Garlic Massaged Kale Salad… It’s a bit heavenly.

It’s also really hard to get off your mind once you get it in your head that you HAVE to have it!

This sassy salad is also vegan, gluten-free, ridiculously healthy and fan-freaking-tastic.  The buttery olive oil, zesty garlic and smoky chipotle keep me coming back for more!

but… how do you massage kale?

It’s easy! First chop your kale. Teeny bites of kale mean you’ll get lots of kale, veggies, and dressing to fit on each forkful!

Add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle kale with a tsp or two of your favorite healthy oil and a pinch of salt. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice if you’d like!

Massage the kale with your fingers until kale darkens in color and takes on a velvety texture. This little rubdown turns the curly kale leaves into a tender and silky salad green!

 Garlicky Massaged Kale Salad with Chipotle Dressing

This salad is flipping delicious!  This recipe makes enough for 4 side salads or two larger salads.  Or if you’re really hungry you can plow through the enire bowl in a sitting.  I won’t tell.

Garlicky Massaged Kale Salad Recipe

serving suggestions

This zesty kale salad is flavorful enough to enjoy on it’s own and absolutely amazing paired with pretty much anything you can dream up! It makes a fabulous side dish for veggie burgers, paninis, pizza, and even compliments a good old fashioned cheesy veggie quesadilla!

One of the best parts of this salad is that you can make it ahead of time (dressing and all!) and it will keep in the fridge for around 4-5 days.

It’s a perfect addition to on-the-go lunches or just to help cut down on mealtime prep at home.

5 from 2 votes

Garlicky Massaged Kale Salad with Chipotle Dressing

Garlicky Massaged Kale Salad tossed with tomatoes, cucumber and a smoky chipotle dressing. This tasty 10 minute salad is one of our favorites!

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Massaged Kale Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 105 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin - Peas and Crayons


  • 4 cups chopped curly kale
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups chopped veggies (I used cucumber + cherry tomatoes)
  • 2-3 TBSP chipotle extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • additional salt, pepper and garlic powder, to taste


  1. It's a salad. It's easy. Make it.
  2. Simply whisk together your dressing ingredients and, using your digits, massage it into chopped/torn kale leaves.
  3. I add the dressing in increments, pouring a little over the bowl of kale and massaging it into the leaves. Yes you're getting intimate with something you're eventually going to be eating. Yes it's awesome.
  4. Add in your chopped veggies and dig in immediately or pop it in the refrigerator for later.
  5. It'll keep for around 4-5 days and, because kale is a rather sturdy green, can be enjoyed all week long without getting soggy. Pretty awesome, eh? If you wind up with extra dressing [I had a little!] save it to drizzle over leftovers!

Recipe Notes

Feel free to top it with a sprinkle of your favorite healthy salad toppers! Right now I'm loving toasted sesame seeds and shelled hemp seeds.

Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Garlicky Massaged Kale Salad with Chipotle Dressing
Amount Per Serving
Calories 105 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 245mg11%
Potassium 386mg11%
Carbohydrates 8g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 6717IU134%
Vitamin C 84mg102%
Calcium 111mg11%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

You can find infused olive oils like the smoky chipotle one I use in this recipe in a number of different locations.  Larger grocery stores like Publix, Harris Teeter, Whole Foods and Fresh Market all have a bevvy of infused oils to choose from.  Olive oil bars and specialty shops will also carry them, as well as many online retailers. International stores are a great place to look too!

You can even infuse your own extra olive oil by adding herbs and spices. Simply add a chipotle seasoning blend, add a little crushed red pepper, and even some smoked paprika and whisk together to infuse the flavor. The longer it sits the more the flavor should intensity and you can add/adjust based on personal preference. Hope this helps!

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Recipe Rating


  • Kale is so versatile. Love the fact that it holds up, even with the dressing, for a few days in the fridge. So convenient. Love the smoky chipotle here too.

  • I am so in love with this dressing. It takes a kale to a whole new level of yum!

  • Love all the flavors in this salad. It is going to be so satisfying with the garlic and chipotle.

  • Anonymous

    5 stars
    I made this recipe for dinner tonight– so refreshing and tasty! Thanks, as always, for the great food ideas!

  • It’s so colorful and looks delicious too. I have never tried a salad with Kale. Hope to try this very soon.

  • Ashli

    5 stars
    Yum, I love Kale and that dressing sounds delish!

  • Mmm…I love Whole Foods garlicky kale salad. And this looks just as good! 🙂

  • What a cute little mofo. I’m rooting for Bullet, and I just got back from the grocery store where I purchased Kale because of this post. This salad sounds delicious and I’m craving some Kale. Thanks! You’re the best.

  • I have a salad very similar to this at least once a week – so delicious and it just makes me feel GOOD! I will literally crave kale salad. 🙂

  • Bullet is model. Hands down most photogenic little baby I’ve ever seen.

    And THANK GOD for you. I’ve had dreams about Whole Foods Garlicky Kale Salad and that is not a joke. BONUS POINTS I just got some chipotle infused EVOO last week! Look like this dish is getting stuffed in my face all week.

    Hope you’re feeling good and taking care of that growing little nugget!!

  • Is the chipotle infused EVOO spicy? I just can not eat spicy food so I need to make sure before I buy it. Let me know please

    • It varies brand to brand. I don’t find this one to be spicy [it has a tingle to it but its mostly flavor versus blatant heat/spice] but I also might have a different spice-tolerence than you so I don’t know 100% how to say for sure, ya know? Hmm… I think your best bet would be to get a bottle of your favorite EVOO and then add smoked paprika to infuse it with a smoky flavor without any heat whatsoever. Then you can add in anything else you love… onion, additional garlic, even cumin if you like that [also very smokey and savory without the heat factor!] – Hope that helps! I’m here if you have any more questions! xoxo

  • Fresh garlic kale salad sounds great!

  • Mmm, this does sound amazing!

  • 1. I want a ferret. So stinking precious and photogenic! Haha.

    2. Slurp. Kale is amazing any and every way it is prepared. Love the recipe!!

  • I’m preeeeetty sure I ate nothing but garlicky kale salad every meal last summer 😉 it’s addicting!

  • Yum this looks awesome 🙂

    They just brought kale to supermarkets here in Australia so i will be trying this 🙂

  • i recently discovered kale – i was afraid to try it or something – but now i’m obsessed and i might have to make this =)

  • Masha

    That looks so colorful and vitamin rich!! I must try it!! I love kale chips but am always scared to try them in a salad.

  • With words like garlic and chipotle, I’m 10000000% positive I will love it. This one has officially been put on my radar. 🙂

  • That dressing sounds fantastic! I love anything that is titled “chipotle.” 😉

  • This looks delicious! I have yet to try kale on its own (I love kale chips…), so I really want to look out of the box soon.

    Your ferret is adorable 🙂 Positive thoughts!

  • This sounds awesome – anything involving chipotle is my friend, and I’m all about lending a helping hand to kale. 🙂

    Much love to Bullet, too. I’m so sorry to hear about his diagnosis, and I’m thinking lots of happy, healthy thoughts for the little guy!

  • What a little cutie 🙂

    No encouragement needed (your pictures were enough)time to add kale to my shopping list!

  • I definitely need to try this. I like the fact that you can make it ahead of time and leave it in the fridge for a few days!

  • I used to make a massage kale salad all the time that used liquid smoke… I love the idea of smokey chipotle instead! Anything for a little heat.

    Enjoy your little mofo. 😉 Love to Bullet.

  • Ive made spinach salads but never kale…I need to do this. Love it! It’s so pretty too.

  • Wow,that salad dressing sounds awesome! Adding infused oil to my shopping list…

  • The salad looks delicious, colourful and so fresh. And I don’t blame you for running of to snuggle that cutie.

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