Mixed Berry Kale Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Loaded with fresh seasonal berries and the best maple candied pecans! This easy kale salad is the perefect side dish for summer!

Tender kale is tossed with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and goat cheese to make this delicious spring salad!

How do you feel about fruit on salads? Honestly, I used to think it was so weird. That was until I tried my first kale salad (which was loaded with fruit) and my life was changed forever! Now I can’t even imagine NOT adding fruit to a salad… or at least a kale salad anyways. 😉 That’s why this mixed berry kale salad with lemon poppy seed dressing is definitely becoming one of my favorites and I can see it being on repeat all spring and summer long! It’s sweet, refreshing and can even be made a head of time too! (Which makes it perfect or all those potlucks and bbq’s we’ve got coming up.)

Ingredients for mixed berry kale salad

  • Kale: Look for green kale with leaves that are sturdy and firm to the touch for the best results. (We’ll be massaging it later so soften up the leaves and make them easier to eat.)
  • Strawberries, blackberries & blueberries: Adds so much sweetness and color to your salad! (Look for berries that are slightly firm to the touch for the best results.)
  • Goat cheese: Adds a touch of creaminess to balance out the sweetness from your berries. (Not a fan of goat cheese? Try replacing it with feta cheese instead!)
  • Candied pecans: My homemade maple candied pecans are the perfect addition to this summer salad! (Check out the recipe below or use your favorite store bought candied nuts instead!)
  • Lemon poppy seed dressing: It’s sweet and tangy and ties your salad ingredients together perfectly!
A simple spring and summer salad made with fresh seasonal fruit, goat cheese and the best homemade candied pecans!

The best homemade maple candied pecans

All I can say is, if you haven’t made these maple candied pecans yet – then you 1000% NEED to! They’re soo good and so easy you’ll never go back to store bought again! Plus they’re only 3 ingredients too!

  1. Mix your pecans, maple syrup and salt together in a pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  2. Once the syrup starts to boil, turn the burner down to medium-low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. (Make sure to stir them occasionally to prevent burning. Your pecans will go through 3 phases before they’re done: 1) The maple syrup will be very “liquidy”. 2) A much thicker syrup starts to form. 3) The syrup will begin to evaporate and crystalized onto your pecans.)
  3. Once the syrup has crystalized, pour your pecans onto a tray lined with parchment paper and spread them out to cool completely. Once they’re completely cool you can store them in a plastic container for up to 1 week.

They’re such a great snack to munch on during the week or can even be used as a topping for ice cream too!

This mixed berry kale salad is perfect to serve for any outdoor party, potluck or bbq this year! It's sweet, creamy and so refreshing too!

How to make a mixed berry kale salad

  1. Make your candied pecans. These can be made a few days inadvance and stored in the pantry until you’re ready to make your salad. (Short on time? Swap out my homemade version for your favorite store bought candied nuts instead!)
  2. Make the dressing. Whisk your dressing ingredients together and keep it chilled in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
  3. Massage your kale. Chop the leaves into bite size pieces and add them to a large bowl. Then drizzle a small amount of olive oil and 1/2 a lemon the kale. Using your hands, massage the kale for at least 5 minutes or until the leaves begin to soften and turn bright green. Sit it aside while you prepare the rest of your salad.
  4. Prepare the rest of your ingredients. Cut your strawberries and blackberries and crumble your goat cheese.
  5. Assemble your salad. Add the massaged kale and chopped berries to a serving bowl and pour your desired amount of dressing over the top. Toss the salad until everything is completely coated. Sprinkle your goat cheese and candied pecans on top and serve immediately!
This fruity kale salad is the best side dish for spring! You can easily make it ahead of time and itis always a crowd favorite too!

How do I store my mixed berry kale salad?

Whether you’re prepping it beforehand or saving the leftovers, storing this kale salad is so easy! (Sometimes I even prefer it the next day because the kale has a longer time to soften and become more flavorful.) If you’re making this salad in advance, I’d suggest mixing the berries and kale together but leaving the goat cheese, pecans and dressing separate. (The pecans and goat cheese can become soggy if left with the salad for too long.) For leftovers, simply pick out any pecans that you can and keep the salad stored in an plastic container in the fridge. Then top it with extra pecans when you’re ready to eat it again the next day!

Need it gluten free? Great news, it already is!

Need it dairy free? Leave out the goat cheese or use your favorite dairy free brand! (Spero has some great dairy free alternatives.)

More kale salad recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my social media @kalefornia_kravings – I love seeing what you create!]

Mixed Berry Kale Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Fresh seasonal berries, tender kale and creamy goat cheese are all tossed in a light and tangy dressing and topped with the best candied pecans! It's so refreshing and the perfect dish to serve for a crowd!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, Gluten free
Keyword: blackberries, blueberries, candied pecans, dressing, kale, lemon, mixed berry, poppy seed, salad, strawberries
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Caitlin

Ingredients

For the maple candied pecans:

  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt

For the lemon poppy seed dressing:

  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp olive oil (I like using extra light)
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds

For the kale salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, leaves cut off the stem & chopped
  • 1 cup strawberries, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • ¼ cup plain goat cheese, crumbled

Instructions

To make the candied pecans:

  • Mix your pecans, maple syrup and salt together in a pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
  • Once the syrup starts to boil, turn the burner down to medium-low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. (Make sure to stir them occasionally so they don't burn. The pecans and syrup will go through 3 phases before they're done: 1) The maple syrup will be very "liquidy". 2) A much thicker syrup starts to form. 3) The syrup will start to evaporate and crystalized onto your pecans.)
  • Once the syrup starts to crystalize, pour your pecans onto a tray that's been lined with parchment paper and spread them out to cool completely. Once they're completely cool you can store them in a plastic container for up to 1 week.

To make the lemon poppy seed dressing:

  • Whisk all of your ingredients together in a bowl or jar and store it in the fridge until you're ready to eat.

To make the kale salad:

  • Place your kale leaves in a large bowl and drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil and ½ of a lemon over the top. Massage the kale with your hands for at least 5 minutes or until it begins to soften. (Your kale will also turn a bright green color and the amount will slightly shrink down when it's ready.)
  • Once massaged, add your berries and goat cheese to kale and toss the salad with your desired amount of dressing. Top it with your candied pecans right before serving.

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