This Kale Chicken Salad features a tasty medley of kale, quinoa, chicken, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, mini peppers and onion sprinkled with pepitas, sunflower seeds, and feta. A speedy homemade lemon dressing ties these fantastic flavors together. Love it so!
Tuscan Kale is quickly becoming a staple around here. Also called lacinato kale, Italian kale, or dinosaur kale (a fun nod to the texture of the leaves), this variety of kale has an almost citrusy flavor with notes of pine.
The leaves are more tender than curly kale and become even more magical when massaged with olive oil or avocado oil and a teeny pinch of salt.
It’s downright fantastic in soups and salads and pasta dishes galore and makes the most wonderful base for today’s Kale Chicken Salad recipe!
Today’s super healthy kale-studded salad is easy to customize so along with the ingredients below, feel free to add your favorite salad mix-ins and toppings to the bowl!
Salad Ingredient Spotlight
Here’s what you’ll need to make this tasty kale and quinoa chicken salad:
Lacinatio kale (tuscan kale) or curly kale both work fabulous here! You coud even use baby kale if you’d like. The trick is giving the kale little massage with olive oil or avocado oil with a teeny pinch of salt.
Any tomatoes will do here! Grab anything from cherry tomatoes to Roma tomatoes to vine-ripened tomatoes and anything in between. I like to chop mine into smaller pieces so I can cram a little of everything into each bite.
You can use white, red, or tri-color quinoa. I like to meal prep a 2-3 cup batch of cooked quinoa for the week and sprinkle it in to salads, pair it with roasted vegetables, and make my favorite quinoa fried rice recipe. If you’re new to quinoa, check out my starter post below:
I used chickpeas since they’re my go-to for these sort of loaded “empty the fridge” salads. I love the texture they add! No chickpeas? No problem! You can skip the beans or try it with cannellini beans or even black beans.
Save time by meal prepping chicken for the week or opting for chopped rotisserie chicken.
Sunflower Seeds and Pumpkin Seeds
Pepitas, roasted sunflower, and/or toasted sliced almonds are all excellent in this salad. Toasted walnuts would be great too!
Creamy and salty, this is probably my favorite cheese to add to salads! This ingredient is 100% optional so feel free to skip it if you follow a vegan or dairy-free diet.
Sweet Mini Peppers
Grab some colorful sweet mini peppers and slice ’em up! You can use them as is or opt for quick pickled mini peppers. Recipe link below.
Pickled Red Onions
I included the link to my favorite pickled red onions below, and you can also opt for just plain ole red onions in this salad. To reduce the sharpness of the red onion, slice then soak in cold water before serving. I also like to drizzle mine in red wine vinegar and a teeny bit of olive oil with salt and pepper for fresh marinated red onions with lots of flavor!
While this kale salad makes a fantastic meal all on it’s own (I love making it for weekday lunches!) you can also pair it (you-pick-two Panera-style) with half a sandwich or a cup of soup. Here are some tasty options:
- Garden Veggie Chickpea Salad Sandwich
- Tomato Soup or Chickpea Minestrone
- Easy One-Pot Orzo Vegetable Soup
- Spinach and Avocado Grilled Cheese
- Ultimate Veggie Sandwich with homemade pimento cheese
To dress this salad, I like to use my go-to lemon dressing that I’ve included in the recipe card below. It would be great with Italian or Greek dressing too!
Kale Chicken Salad
The recipe makes two lunch-sized salads and can easily be doubled if needed. I enjoyed one bowl right away and had the remainder the next day for lunch. Yum!
This bad boy is meal prep friendly (quinoa and kale hold up so well) so you can absolutely prep it in advance for weekday lunches. It’s fresh, delicious, and has the most amazing medley of textures.
Feel free to add any extras your heart desires. Bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, and carrots are all delicious options with lots of crunch!
Kale Chicken Salad
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 1 cup chopped rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- ½ cup chickpeas (drained and rinsed from can)
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- ½ cup sliced mini peppers (pickled or plain)
- ¼ cup finely sliced red onion (pickled or plain)
- 2 TBSP crumbled feta cheese
- 2 TBSP roasted pepitas and/or sunflower seeds
- Mince fresh garlic and add to remaining dressing ingredients. Set aside. To make quick marinated onion, toss red onion into the dressing to soak while you prep the remaining ingredients.
- Wash and dry kale and remove kale leaves from the stem. (I use my trusty salad spinner) Chop kale into small pieces and add to a large salad bowl. Drizzle with a spoonful of dressing. Massage into leaves for extra flavor.
- Add cooked quinoa and chicken, along with tomatoes, peppers, onion (if not marinating in dressing) and feta.
- Top with pepitas and/or sunflower seeds and mix well. Enjoy! The recipe makes two lunch-sized salads and can easily be doubled if needed. I enjoyed one bowl right away and had the remainder the next day for lunch. Yum!
More Tasty Kale Recipes to Try
To date, I’ve shared over 30 delicious kale recipes! Here are a few of my favorites:
- Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
- Panera Copycat Modern Greek Salad with Kale and Quinoa
- NEW! Kale Chickpea Salad
- Mexican Kale Salad with Zesty Cilantro Lime Dressing
- Lemon Orzo with Parmesan, Kale, and Cherry Tomatoes
If you get a chance to try this veggie-packed chicken and kale salad recipe, let me know! You can leave me a comment here (LOVE checking those daily!) or tag @PEASandCRAYONS on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creations. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!