No massaging required for this Tuscan/lacinato chopped kale salad! Finely chopping kale releases the bitterness, and makes it satisfying to eat. Toss the chopped kale in a homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette along with roasted sweet potato cubes, Honeycrisp apple, toasted pecans, and feta cheese. A delicious and highly nutritious lunch salad or side with dinner!

large oval platter with tuscan kale salad with gold mixing spoons

As a Registered Dietitian and recipe developer, I love to make vegetables taste delicious – especially hard to love vegetables, like kale.

I have an entire collections of recipes with kale and kale salad recipes, but this is my very first lacinato kale salad recipe!

I typically recommend massaging kale for salads, but there is no need to massage the kale for this one.

The two reasons for massaging kale are to reduce bitterness and soften the leaves, so the taste and texture is more pleasant when you eat it raw.

But, if you’re chopping it finely, like for this Tuscan kale sweet potato salad, the act of chopping does all the work for you – it softens the leaves and releases the bitterness compounds!

To balance out the strong flavor of the kale, this salad features a sweeter honey balsamic dressing as well as roasted sweet potatoes, Honeycrisp apples, toasted pecans, and feta cheese.

Make this chopped kale salad for a nutrient-dense lunch or dinner in under 1 hour! This salad recipe is vegetarian, gluten free, and soy free.

tuscan kale salad ingredients

Ingredients

Everything you need to make this recipe, below:

  • Tuscan kale (aka lacinato kale): This kale variety is deep blue-green in color. Its leaves have a bumpy texture. Tuscan kale is slightly less bitter than curly kale. If you can’t find Tuscan kale, you can certainly use curly kale in this recipe instead.
  • Sweet potato: Sweet potato cubes get caramelized and fork tender when roasted in the oven.
  • Honeycrisp apple: This apple variety is super crunchy and has an irresistible sweet-tart flavor, that balances out the strong flavor of the kale.
  • Toasted pecans: Toasting pecans makes them crunchier and enhances their flavor. It is SO easy and takes just about 10 minutes!
  • Feta cheese: Crumbled feta cheese is one of the best cheeses to add to salads. It is salty, briny, and super flavorful.
  • Olive oil: You’ll toss the diced sweet potatoes in olive oil and salt before roasting.
  • Salt: A bit of salt brings out the natural flavors in the roasted sweet potatoes.
  • Honey balsamic vinaigrette: balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, honey, dijon mustard, garlic, and salt

Kitchen equipment needed

  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife, 6 or 8 inch
  • 2 baking sheets
  • Measuring spoons and cups
  • Small mixing bowl or jar

Step-by-step instructions

I highly recommend checking out this post before getting started to learn how to wash and prepare kale for a salad.

Diced sweet potatoes on a wooden cutting board with a knife
1. Wash and dice sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
Roasted sweet potato cubes on a baking sheet
2. Toss sweet potato cubes in olive oil and salt. Roast in the oven until fork tender.
toasted pecans on a baking sheet
3. While sweet potatoes roast, toast the pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for about 10 minutes.
chopped apple on wooden cutting board
4. Chop the apple into small rectangular pieces.
washed tuscan kale in a bright green colander
5. Prep the kale: remove the leaves from the tough stems, wash, and thoroughly dry the leaves.
finely chopped tuscan kale on a wooden cutting board
6. Finely chop the kale into very small pieces. I like to do this about a cup at a time for more even chopping.
hands holding a white and red checked jar
7. Prepare the honey balsamic dressing: add everything to a small jar, cover, and shake vigorously until combined.
kale sweet potato salad on a white oval platter
8. Assemble the salad: Add the kale to a serving bowl then top with roasted sweet potatoes, apples, pecans, and feta cheese.
large oval platter with tuscan kale salad with gold mixing spoons
9. Pour about half of the dressing onto the salad, and toss the salad to combine. Add more dressing as desired.

Storage

Since kale is a hardy green, you can prep kale salads ahead of time (dressing and all) and they won’t get soggy.

Keep this salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Give it a toss before serving again.

Serving suggestions

This salad is on the heartier side as far as salads are concerned, since it’s packed with complex carbohydrates from the sweet potatoes and apples, and healthy fats from the pecans and extra virgin olive oil.

If you’d like to enjoy this salad as a more filling meal, add your favorite protein.

It would be delicious with crispy baked tofu or salmon!

kale sweet potato salad on a white oval platter

Kale nutrition benefits

Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables you can include in your diet!

In addition to several vitamins and minerals, kale is an excellent source of antioxidants and other beneficial plant compounds that fight inflammation and keep our cells healthy.

One cup of raw kale provides:

  • 2.8 grams of dietary fiber (10% of your daily needs)
  • 2 grams of plant-based protein
  • 170 mg calcium (13% of your daily needs)
  • 1.1 mg iron (6% of your daily needs)
  • 161.47 mcg Vitamin A (18% of your daily needs)
  • 62.6 mg Vitamin C (134% of your daily needs)
  • 261.3 mcg Vitamin K (218% of your daily needs)
  • 0.616 mg manganese (27% of your daily needs)

Sweet potatoes nutrition benefits

Sweet potatoes get their bright orange color from beta-carotene, a plant compound that converts to vitamin A in the body.

Vitamin A is essential for eye health, skin health, and immunity.

Sweet potatoes also have several other nutrients! One cup of sweet potato (with the skin) provides:

  • 4 grams of dietary fiber (14% of your daily needs)
  • 2.1 grams of plant-based protein
  • 448 mg potassium (10% of your daily needs)
  • 942.97 mcg vitamin A (105% of your daily needs)
  • 1.064 mg pantothenic acid (21% of your daily needs)
  • 0.276 mg vitamin B6 (21% of your daily needs)
  • 0.20 mg copper (22% of your daily needs)
  • 0.343 mg manganese (15% of your daily needs)

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
large oval platter with tuscan kale salad with gold mixing spoons

Chopped Tuscan Kale Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: salads
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian
Save Recipe

Description

No massaging required for this Tuscan/lacinato chopped kale salad! Finely chopping kale leaves releases the bitterness, and makes it satisfying to eat. Toss the chopped kale in a homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette along with roasted sweet potato cubes, Honeycrisp apple, toasted pecans, and feta cheese. A delicious and highly nutritious lunch salad or side with dinner!


Ingredients

Scale

Tuscan Kale Salad

  • 1 medium – large sweet potato, diced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 1 bunch Tuscan (lacinato) kale, washed, dried, and finely chopped
  • Half of a Honeycrisp apple, cut into thin rectangles
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Honey Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. 
  2. Place the diced sweet potatoes on a baking half sheet. Toss them in the olive oil and a generous pinch of salt.
  3. Spread the sweet potatoes out on the baking sheet.
  4. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway through with a spatula, until they are fork tender.
  5. Toast the pecans: place the pecans on a smaller baking sheet.
  6. During the last 10 minutes of sweet potatoes cooking, put the tray of pecans in the oven so they toast. Remove after 7-10 minutes, once they are fragrant and toasted.
  7. Assemble the salad: put the finely chopped kale in a large salad bowl. Top with the roasted sweet potatoes, toasted pecans, chopped apple, and feta cheese.
  8. Make the dressing: add all of the ingredients to a small jar. Shake vigorously to emulsify the dressing until it is smooth with no separation.
  9. Pour one-third to one-half of the dressing onto the salad and use salad spoons to mix everything together. Add more dressing as desired. 

Notes

Storage

Since kale is a hardy green, you can prep kale salads ahead of time (dressing and all) and they won’t get soggy.

Keep this salad in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Give it a toss before serving again.