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Cheesy Lemon Massaged Kale Salad | A quick and delicious kale salad massaged with a tangy, cheesy dressing. Vegan, paleo, and gluten-free! | simplytothrive.com

Cheesy Lemon Massaged Kale Salad

Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 salad
Author Noelle Parton


For the salad

  • Curly kale, rinsed
  • Green cabbage
  • Fresh parsley

For the dressing

  • Lemon, juiced
  • Extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed
  • Coconut aminos, nama shoyu, or low-sodium tamari
  • Dijon mustard
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Fresh garlic, minced
  • Celtic sea salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • Kelp or dulse granules, optional
  • Ground cumin, optional
  • Ground cayenne, chipotle chili powder, or hot sauce, optional


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. For amounts, a good place to start with is about 1 large lemon for every bundle of kale used. This will give you about 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Whisk in about 1/2 the amount of olive oil so you have about a 2:1 ratio of lemon juice to oil.
  2. Add as much coconut aminos and dijon mustard as you'd like. Start with about 1 tablespoon or so of each, whisk and taste, and then continue adding about 1 tablespoon or a little less at a time until desired taste.
  3. Once these are together, add in the nutritional yeast. Begin shaking and whisking it in until the dressing begins to thicken and look creamy. Taste as you go and continue adding until the taste is to your liking. I end up using about equal amounts lemon juice and yeast, so for that 1/4 cup or so of lemon juice, it would be about 1/4 cup of yeast.
  4. Lastly, add in as much freshly chopped garlic as desired. About 2-3 cloves is a good place to start. Whisk in a pinch of salt and pepper, and a sprinkle of kelp, if using. If you want the salad to have a hint of smokiness or spice, add a pinch or so of cumin and/or cayenne (or other spice).
  5. Taste and make sure the dressing is as you like.
  6. On the side, prepare the greens. De-stem the kale and rip into bite size pieces, chop the green cabbage into thick shreds or however you'd like, and roughly chop the fresh parsley. When making this salad, I usually do about 1 bundle of kale, a 1/4 of a cabbage head, and a handful of parsley. Use however much of each that you like, or you can simply use all kale if desired. It's up to you!
  7. Add the greens to the bowl with the dressing and begin working it with your hands for about 30 seconds until the greens are evenly coated and slightly wilted. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Use raw apple cider vinegar in place of lemon if needed.