by Olena

Sweet Kale Salad Recipe

by Olena

5 from 3 reviews

Sweet Kale Salad

You know that salad kit with kale, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries and poppyseed dressing everyone raves about?! I have heard about it from my friends, neighbours, sister in law; seen it on Instagram etc. OK, so I found it at the grocery store, automatically turned around to read the ingredients list and. I don’t want to sound pessimistic but I was short of being impressed.

What made me most mad about this sweet kale salad is a big claim of 7 superfoods inside. OK, fine I get it, it’s better than eating a Big Mac but holding this bag I felt like being tricked by creative marketing brains, once again.

Close-up of Store Bought Sweet Kale salad bag and list of ingredients

My #1 issue is the poppyseed dressing, which I assume why everyone likes this salad so much, is full of GMOs, sugar and frankly crap. This sweet kale salad dressing is the one health professionals warn us to stay away from. McDonald’s also sells superfood salad with 500 calorie dressing that will kill benefits of 20 superfoods. As soon as I see soybean oil my radar goes off like crazy – the cheapest GMO oil ever. Then egg yolk from GMO fed chickens and white refined sugar from GMO sugar beets.

#2 issue is none of those sweet kale salad ingredients are organic or at lest non GMO project verified. At least one, come on! A bunch of organic kale at the grocery store is $2.50, wholesale my guess is probably 2 – 3 times less. Organic pumpkin seeds are cheap too. Then those cranberries coated in more sugar and GMO oil. No, this is not a good salad to buy.

I decided to see how hard it is to put a healthy version of Sweet Kale Salad Recipe together. Well, about 10 minutes, from scratch, all organic and truly healthy!

Container of organic cranberries, pumpkin seeds and greek yogurt

I have used 1/5th of those organic cranberries and pumpkin seeds for the salad and paid $8 for both in total. The rest my kids will happily snack on. I didn’t add brussels sprouts because I do not love them and cleaning/shaving process that much, neither I am in love with endive. But you can add them. I sampled the poppyseed dressing (literally licked a tiny drop of it) at someone’s house and it wasn’t hard at all to recreate at home (another version of my healthy poppy seed dressing). This salad came out delicious!!!

Another idea to healthify this superfood store bought monster is by throwing out packaged sweet kale salad dressing and making your own. At least you won’t have to buy and chop veggies, and measure bulk items if you are really short on time.

Collage of organic bagged apples, purple flowers and scene of moutains

However, still I would stock up on organic produce as much as possible. My recent grocery trip I spent $30 for organic: 3 lbs Gala apples (our favourite), 5 lbs potatoes, 5 lbs carrots (my kids love to snack on long peeled carrots), 4 lbs onions and a bag of celery.

I have also been enjoying spring in full swing by walking or running every day. Fresh air helps to clear your mind, supply blood with oxygen, increase good spirits and improve sleep. Flowers are popping up here and there. Happy first days of Spring!


Sweet Kale Salad

sweet kale salad poppyseed dressing recipe

5 from 3 reviews

Sweet Kale Salad Recipe is a healthy version of famous salad kit: kale, cabbage, broccoli, pumpkin seeds & cranberries with homemade sweet kale salad dressing.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and finely chopped (about 4 cups packed)
  • 2 cups cabbage, shredded
  • 2 cups broccoli, finely chopped
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts, shredded (optional)
  • 1 cup endive, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

Poppyseed Dressing:


  1. Add kale, cabbage, broccoli, brussels sprouts and endive (if using), cranberries to a large salad bowl. Toast pumpkin seeds in a small skillet on low-medium heat until lightly brown, about 2 minutes. Stir frequently and watch closely not to burn. Transfer to a salad bowl.
  2. In a small bowl or salad dressing shaker, add Poppyseed Dressing ingredients and whisk or shake to combine. Pour over salad, gently stir and serve.

Store: Refrigerate assembled salad for up to 24 hours. Dressing can be refrigerated for up to 5 days and added to salad as needed.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.


olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

43 comments on “Sweet Kale Salad Recipe

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  1. Great salad. Kale is hard to fall in love with but your recipes make it easy to love kale. My kids love kale thanks to you.

  2. This is my go to salad recipe. I buy a bag of plain chopped kale at Aldo and remove the tough stems. Then I make the dressing except I use a tablespoon of frozen orange juice concentrate to give a stronger orange flavor. The dressing can weigh down the kale sometimes but it’s still delicious.

  3. Please tell me the 13g of sugars per 1 2/3 cup serving in “Nutritional Facts” doesn’t refer to your salad!?! The ready-made one is only 11. Is that for just your dressing?

    1. It was sweetened dried cranberries. I fixed to unsweetened. Store bought salad has added sugar in its dressing, mine has virtually 0. You can control the add-ins

  4. Like you and others, I am concerned about these commercial salad kits and their soybean oil dressings, etc. I occasionally buy a sald kit but always throw away the dressing and make my own. FYI, the oil on the cranberries is not GMO. Also, the lady above who can’t make a superior homemade caesar salad dressing try this. 1tsp. dijon or german mustard, 2 tablespoons plus 1 tsp. raw wine vinegar or raw apple vinegar, 1 egg yolk, 1 clove garlic, crushed, 1/2 cup olive oil or blend coconut, olive, sunflower, 2 tsp flax oil
    dip fork in mustard jar, put in bowl mix in vinegar, add egg yolk, garlic, add oil in steady stream stirring whole time until mixed and emulsified, add flax oil use or store immediately. I add 1/2 tsp. thai fish sauce best quality brand to mimic anchovies, it is made with anchovies. You will love this and never want bottled again!

  5. I love this kale salad but I also had doubts about the dressing so I’am happy to have found your site. Just like Ruth I had no orange only lemon and this dressing was still fabulous. Thanks, it was just what I was looking for and especially a thanks for the ww points.

  6. this salad is great, -the poppyseed salad dressing, i put it in a bowl with my leftover organic brown rice and organic corn, a little braggs ammino fluid and it is great it helps me at work no need to chop and prepare

  7. I enjoyed the packaged salad in the past but knew the dressing was unhealthy. In looking for a healthy alternative, I came across this post and made the recipe for a potluck tomorrow at work. The dressing is amazing! I didn’t have an orange, so just used the lemon zest and juice along with the onion powder. I will be making this again.

  8. Olena, thanks for sharing. I’ve been on this rampage about soy oil, how it has invaded every (almost) packaged food in the grocery stores. it comes from one of the biggest GMO crops out there. how do you get the message out to consumers to avoid this stuff. too bad some people totally missed your point. I originally loved the bought salad until I read the ingredients and now I won’t touch the stuff.

    1. Canola and soy are in 99% processed foods. Even non-GMO snacks fried in either.
      It is very hard to fight those giants. It is like fighting gun rules in America. A lot of money is involved. But we will keep educating one blog post at a time. It is getting better.

  9. Hi Olena, I just found your blog & tried this dressing. It was easy to throw together and very tasty. I have a sweet tooth so I added a bit more maple syrup but hopefully I’ll wean myself off one day. I’ve never made my own dressings as I’ve gone with convenience but your post really got me thinking so I’ll be making more in the future. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Hi Toni. You are welcome.:) I am posting lemon mint dressing tomorrow. So, come back.
      Good! Store-bought sauces and dressings 95% of time are nothing but a concoction of chemicals, GMOs and sugars. McDonald’s sells kale salad too but if you really look what is inside, it ain’t better than a burger. Your tastebuds change as you clean them up.

  10. Thank you for this recipe. My husband loves this salad, I always shuddered at the dressing, I would toss the salad with EVOO and then use the smallest amount of pre made dressing imaginable. Now I will make my own and feel really good about it.
    Some people don’t understand clean eating, they are all about calories….so much more to be aware of when eating well.

    1. Hi Brenda. Yes, that is what I did when I used it first on vacation.
      Unfortunately low calorie, no fat and no calorie has been heavily marketed to this society as “healthy”. There are generations raised on this philosophy. It will take a while to go back. We were recently on vacation and a friend who is almost 50 complained how organic PB is not smooth as I was making a toast. So he has to buy Skippy. I explained what is in it and why I do not eat it but there was a laugh and no light bulb going off at all. And that is a 50 year old!!! You would think…
      Unfortunately our tax dollars will be going to support health of Skippy eaters…

  11. I buy the bag from Costco occasionaly, but agree I have the same concerns you expressed. I always make my own dressings accept sometimes I but Renees Ceasar Dressing as I have not been able to duplicate that to being better than the bought one. I do have a question how long and how do you store in the fridge the salad. I was guessing a mason jar to store it in and thought maybe 5 days tops at it keeping fresh. Can’t wait to make it this weekend and thank you so much.

    1. Yes, you got it right, Sharon. I store salad in a bowl covered with plastic and dressing in a glass jar separately. 5 days sounds reasonable. I should try to recreate a head;thy Caesar salad dressing. I usually use a mix of olive oil, garlic and anchovies but I know it is not real.


  13. I love that sweet kale vegetable salad on the market, unlike what you said, the kale, and other vegetables inside are always fresh, the poppy seed dressing is the lightest one when compare with other poppy seed dressing on the market, and is no way 500 calories even with the whole two little bags, ONE TABLE SPOON OF THE LIGHT KRAFT POPPY SEED DRESSING IS ONLY 45 CALORIES!! (my God, you are exaggerating the facts) The pumpkin Xseed is very healthy for you, but if you do not like the cranberries and said it full of oil, you can just buy the Ocean Spray organic cranberries, they are all healthy food. I do not know why you have to put down this salad as it is so handy, and do not have to do so much things. Just the dressing you mentioned that you made,with 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt alone is already 38 Calories, half small orange is 24 calories, one teaspoon of honey is 21 calories,half a lemon is 8 calories, but do you know even though lemon is sour but actually high in sugar?? one tablespoon of poppy seed is 46 calories, the rest are not much calories, but your dressing is already add up to 137 calories alone, I do not think that a little bit of the kght poppy seed dressing inside got much calories than your made your own dressing. You wrote all these and I realize that you are making money by selling your recipes. You are too commercial, if you are just writing a blog to help people, I could understand, but selling your so called smart clean recipes, anybody smart enough would not paid to buy any recipes from you!

    1. Angel, I care about the quality of food I put in mine and my family’s body rather than calories. I explained myself well in the post and maybe after reading this post you will understand it better or hate me even more. FYI Diet Coke has 0 calories. All the best to you!

  14. I love this salad but refuse to buy it for all the reasons you mentioned. I have been wanting to try and make it myself, but now I am so happy to have found your recipe! I never could have reproduced the dressing like you did. Thank you!!!

  15. I am SO with you on this issue. Well done blog post! This issue also drives me nuts on a regular basis. I am so tired of people who tell me how “good” this or that is, and of course those things are always sugar-based…. that dressing’s second ingredient is sugar, omg! I pity the un-enlightened diabetics out there who buy these salads without realizing they are eating all that sugar. It’s not always the consumer’s fault either, sometimes those nutrition labels can be very hard to read 😐

    1. I hope diabetics read the label! No, it’s not our fault we are fed all this crap in the first place. But it’s our fault not caring much what we put in our bodies and trusting enterprises to decide for us! Oh, I know, most times when I hear someone telling me I found this and it’s good, more likely it has its dose of crap. I’m tired of hearing “Oh, it’s real life. Can’t eat healthy. It is what it is. Then I can’t eat anything. Who can afford organic?! Who has time to cook?!” I say straight that is crap. Educate yourself, make an effort and it is feasible for many people.

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