Strawberry Kale Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Sweet strawberries & blueberries, tender kale and creamy goat cheese are all toss in a lemony dressing and topped with toasted pecans!

A healthy and refreshing side salad made with strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese, toasted pecans and an easy lemon poppy seed dressing! It's the perfect salad for summer!

Fun fact number 15463278 about me: One of my favorite jobs in college was working at Panera. And that’s really when my love for their strawberry poppy seed salad all began. Ever since then, I’ve been testing out different combinations and flavors to see if I could make a salad that was even comparable and I think I finally found it loves! This strawberry kale salad with lemon poppy seed dressing is quickly becoming one of my most favorite recipes and it’s borderline obsession now…😉 It’s sweet, creamy, crunchy and absolutely perfect for a hot summer day!

Ingredients

Simple is the key when it comes to kale salads and these ingredients couldn’t be any simpler! Here’s what I used below and few suggestions for substitutions too.

  • Kale
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Goat cheese: Can be replaced with feta.
  • Toasted pecans: Can be replaced with walnuts or pistachios. (Follow the same directions below for toasting.)
  • Lemon poppy seed dressing: AKA my new favorite dressing for kale salads! (Recipe is below.) You can also use your favorite poppy seed salad dressing instead too.
You only need 6 ingredients to make this simple summer strawberry salad! It's naturally gluten free and is so refreshing too!

How to massage kale

If you’ve been following me for a while then you know how much I love my kale. AND how much I preach the importance of massaging your kale too! It only takes 5 or so minutes and really helps to soften the leaves making them much easier to eat. Here’s how you do it!

  1. Cut the kale leaves off the stem or “rib”. Then cut the leaves into bite sized pieces.
  2. Drizzle 1 tsp of olive oil and the juice from 1/2 lemon over the kale. (Sometimes I’ll use avocado oil spray instead of olive oil. Just use a few squirts.)
  3. Rub the kale together with your hands to fully incorporate the oil and lemon juice throughout. Do this for 5 minutes. (The kale should begin to soften and turn a bright vibrant green color. You’ll also notice that the amount of kale you have might “shrink” as well.)
  4. At this point, the kale can be stored in the fridge until your ready to use it. It should last for up to 1 week.
Looking for the perfect side dish to beat this heat? Try this incredibly easy strawberry kale salad with lemon poppy seed dressing! It's sure to become your go-to in no time!

How to make toasted pecans

Adding toasted nuts to salads is always my favorite part! Why toast your nuts you ask? Well for starters, it crisps them up and adds a little crunchy texture to your salad (which is especially good for softer nuts like pecans). And it also helps to elevate their nutty flavor too! Plus it’s so easy that you can even toast a bunch of them at one time and save some for your next salad!

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then spread your pecans out on the baking sheet and bake them for 5-6 minutes or until they just start to darken. Take them out of the oven to cool and store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat!
Easy, healthy and absolutely delicious! This simple strawberry kale salad is perfect for potlucks and it always a crowd favorite!

How to make an easy lemon poppy seed dressing

Ok loves, this dressing is quikly becoming one of my absolute favorites! Especially for kale salads! It’s bright and fresh, tangy and slightly sweet and is so soo easy to make!

  • ½ cup lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • 2 tsp olive oil (We use extra light tasting olive oil)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  1. Whisk these ingredients together until the honey fully dissolves. Then pour it into a jar and store in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

I hope you all enjoy this delicious strawberry kale salad just as much as our family did! Have the best day loves!

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Strawberry Kale Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Sweet strawberries & blueberries, tender kale and creamy goat cheese are all toss in a lemony dressing and topped with toasted pecans!
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American, Gluten free
Keyword: blueberry, easy, gluten free, goat cheese, lemon poppyseed dressing, strawberry, toasted pecans
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients

For the salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale, leaves cut off the stem and cut into bite sized pieces
  • cup strawberries, tops cut off and quartered
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 8oz package plain goat cheese, crumbled
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • 1/2 of a lemon, juiced (for massaging the kale)
  • 1 tsp olive oil or avocado oil (for massaging the kale)*

For the lemon poppy seed dressing:

  • ½ cup lemon juice (about 3-4 lemons)
  • 2 tsp olive oil (we use extra light tasting olive oil)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds

Instructions

To make the dressing:

  • Whisk all of your ingredients together until the honey fully dissolves. Pour the ingredients into a jar and store it in the fridge until you're ready to use it.

To make toasted pecans:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Spread your pecans out on the baking sheet and bake them for 5-6 minutes or until they just start to darken. Take them out of the oven to cool and store them in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat.

To make the salad:

  • Place the kale in a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil and lemon juice over the top. Rub the kale together with your hands to fully incorporate the oil and lemon juice throughout. Do this for 5 minutes. (The kale should begin to soften and turn a bright vibrant green color. You’ll also notice that the amount of kale you have might “shrink” as well.)
  • Then add your strawberries, blueberries and goat cheese and toss with your dressing. Sprinkle your toasted pecans over the top right before serving.

Notes

*Sometimes I’ll also use avocado oil spray instead of regular oil too. (You just need to use a few squirts.)

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