Sweet Kale & Rice Salad

This 5-ingredient Sweet Kale & Rice Salad is the perfect combination of sweet, crunchy & chewy, and it’s doused in a delicious tangy apple dressing. This salad is perfect for an easy weekday lunch and the best partner for a steaming bowl of soup!

winter kale & salad in a stacked bowl

Winter Kale & Rice Salad

If you have the choice between a warm salad or a cold, which would you rather? If you’re like me and live in a cold and wet country like Canada, then I am sure the choice is obvious. Or is it? 🤷🏻‍♀️

I love a good warm salad. They’re comforting, filling and tasty. Sometimes a warm salad is the right balance between a steaming hot bowl of soup, and a cool, crunchy salad. You need that in-between salad, not warm, not cold, just right.

This sweet kale & rice salad is just the rice balance with chewy brown rice, cooling kale, speckles of sweetness of the dried cranberries, and then it’s all tied together with a tangy honey apple cider vinaigrette. It’s the perfect salad for these cold and damp days and the best partner for a steamy bowl of soup 🍲.

A plate of Winter Kale & Rice Salad with serving spoons

What You’ll Need to Make This Winter Kale & Rice Salad

  • Kale: either black or curly kale is a good option for this salad. Thinly slice the kale so it will be easier to eat.
  • Cooked brown rice: The chewy texture of brown rice is perfect for this salad. I love to toss this salad when the rice is still warm.
  • Dried Cranberries: These little gems provide the perfect touch of sweetness to the salad and give that winter vibe.
  • Zucchini: I julienned the zucchini for this recipe, but you can also shred the zucchini if you wish. I love the pretty, almost noodle-like presentation of the zucchini when using a julienne cut. 
  • Sliced Almonds: Almond gives this salad a delightful crunch, also providing some extra vitamins and healthy fats. 
  • Honey Apple Vinaigrette: Olive oil, raw apple cider vinegar, shallots, garlic and honey

How to Make This Winter Kale & Rice Salad?

Making this salad isn’t much different from any other salad. Complete the preparation of the kale, zucchini, rice and dressing. Add kale to a big bowl, pour in the dressing, give it a light massage, and then add the rice and carrots to the salad. Then add the cranberries and almond toppings. Serve and enjoy!

stacked bowls one filled with winter kale & rice salad

Tips for making this salad

  1. Massage the Kale before adding the other ingredients. Kale needs to be massaged a bit to soften it for easier chewing. 
  2. Make it vegan by leaving out the honey. You can add a different sweetener or leave it out and let the cranberries’ sweetness be the only sweet element.
  3. Make the dressing milder by using dehydrated garlic and shallots. I love using fresh garlic and shallots whenever possible, but in this case, If you want that taste more subdued, you can choose to use dehydrated garlic and onions since it’s not the focus of the dish.  
  4. Add more ingredients to make it a full meal. This simple salad makes for a great side dish, but you can easily turn it into a complete meal with some chicken, white beans or chickpeas.

Looking for More Salad Ideas?

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Originally published 10/07/21, updated 10/21/22

Sweet Kale & Rice Salad

A large plate of winter kale and rice sale with two serving spoons

This 5-ingredient Kale & Rice Salad is sweet, crunchy & crispy, and it’s doused in a delicious tangy apple dressing. This salad is perfect for an easy weekday lunch and the best partner for a steaming bowl of soup!

Prep Time
10 minutes

Additional Time
15 minutes

Total Time
25 minutes


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, finely diced
  • 1 tsp shallot, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1/4 cup cranberries, dried
  • 1/4 cup almond, slices, roasted


  1. Prepare the dressing: add the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, shallot, honey, pepper and salt onto a small bowl and whisk everything together. Allow the dressing to rest a least 15 minutes before serving.
  2. Prepare the kale: Wash, dry, and remove the thick stems from the kale. Then chop the kale leaves into bite-size pieces.
  3. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, add the chopped kale, then add 1/2 of the dressing. Lightly massage the kale until it just starts to wilt. Then add the zucchini, rice and the rest of the dressing. Mix well.
  4. Garnish the salad: Transfer the salad to your serving bowl. Top the salad with cranberries and almonds. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving:

Calories: 241Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 233mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 3gSugar: 11gProtein: 4g

Did you make this recipe?

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