We love this Kale Summer Salad recipe on a hot day! If you pre-make the rice and chicken, you can throw it together without turning on the oven. Pack it up for lunch or dinner at the beach or bring it to a cookout.
The combination of chicken, raw kale, brown rice, and sweet fruit in this recipe is nothing short of perfection. With this healthy Kale Summer Salad, you can check off almost all of the food groups with one simple, satisfying dish.
The ingredients are really flexible and naturally gluten free. For vegans and vegetarians, try using tofu instead of chicken. The tofu will soak up the dressing and be really delicious. If you can’t have nuts, try pumpkin or sunflower seeds.
The original recipe calls for sweet red cherries, which have a really short season (like now!). We love sliced red grapes or chunks of crisp apples sometimes even more than the cherries. Pitting and cutting cherries are a lot of work!
Use left over roasted chicken or grill up some extra chicken a day or two in advance to save time. We love short grain brown rice with this salad, which I make in our rice cooker. It adds a hearty texture and flavor to the salad but can certainly be left out if you avoid rice or follow the paleo diet.
You’re going to love the garlic dressing in this recipe! I make it in my 15 year old Cuisinart food processor — no fancy high speed blender necessary. I typically double the dressing recipe and use it for salads or as a marinade for fish later in the week. Why not, right?
Look for lacinato kale at the farmers market, Whole Foods, or a natural market like the Natural Grocer. Curly kale or boxed baby kale will work in a pinch but it’s not as good as the thin ribbons of the flat leaf kale in this recipe.
Serve your Kale Summer Salad at room temperature. It keeps well in the fridge for up to three days, but it never lasts that long at our house. I hope you love it as much as we do. Cómelo todo!
- 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 2 cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts torn into bite-sized pieces
- Fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 8 ounce can artichoke hearts: quartered, rinsed, and drained
- 2 cups chiffonaded lacinato kale (stems removed, leaves chopped into thin horizontal ribbons)
- ½ cup slivered or crushed almonds
- 2 cups cherries (pitted and halved), grapes or apples
- Make the garlic dressing: In a food processor, pulse the basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and sugar until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, mix together the rice, chicken, and kale. Toss with dressing until well coated. Gently fold in the artichoke hearts, almonds, and cherries. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Keep chilled until serving.
- Buy organic ingredients whenever possible.