Crunchy Thai Kale Salad

Easy, Vegan Gluten Free Thai Kale Salad | Massaged Kale, Colorful Veggies, Sesame Tofu and a Simple Peanut Dressing! The perfect takelong lunch or light dinner

Although we eat dinner together most evenings, sometimes John and I crave different things. It’s no secret that I generally want something healthy and light and he is desiring something a bit more satisfying.

Most nights I can whip up something that’s a compromise – something filling but with tons of veggies like black bean tacos, Pad Thai or pizza. But other nights, we agree to disagree and go our separate ways. And on those nights I usually make a big green salad.

Massaged Kale Salad

This salad is one that I’ve been making recently when I’m craving Thai food but don’t have time time to make anything complicated. It’s not authentic by any means but certainly Thai-inspired with the peanut sauce, fresh vegetables and tofu.

Sesame Seeds

The whole thing comes together in about 20 minutes, starting with the greens.

I prepare the kale by drizzling it with toasted sesame oil and agave nectar (or honey if not vegan) and massaging to flavor and soften the sometimes bitter, stiff leaves. Then I toss some lightly drained tofu in sesame seeds (a tip I learned from Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook), to give it more texture and nutritional value. If you aren’t into raw tofu (like some commenters have noted) try this easy baking method that gives it a nice bite with no additional ingredients.

Sesame Tossed TofuCrunchy Thai Kale Salad

Next is the dressing – my favorite part.  I use my go-to 5-ingredient peanut sauce that’s the perfect balance of savory, sweet and spice. I love how it adds another layer of flavor to this crunchy, spring salad.

Easy Thai Peanut Sauce RecipeThai Kale Salad | 20 minutes, incredibly satisfying and entirely #vegan and #glutenfree!

I don’t trust myself around peanut sauce. Whoever said 2 Tablespoons was one serving was a liar.

20 Minute Thai Kale Salad with a Simple Peanut Dressing!

So easy, so fresh, so delicious. I think you’re going to love this salad. It’s

Seriously healthy
And super delicious

Bonus? It packs incredibly well for lunch! Make it in the morning or the night before and then throw it in a tupperwear to eat later. I ate half of mine the first day and other half the next and it was just as delicious! Enjoy!

Massaged Thai Kale Salad!Thai Kale Salad with Sesame Tofu and Peanut Dressing! #vegan #glutenfree

5.0 from 3 reviews

Crunchy Thai Kale Salad
Prep time

Total time


A colorful, crunchy Thai-inspired salad with kale, carrots, radishes, sesame-tofu and a spicy-sweet peanut dressing.
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 1 generously

For the Salad:
  • 4-5 cups packed curly curly or lacinato kale
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
  • 3 small radishes, thinly sliced (or sub 1/4 cup sliced red onion)
  • 1/4 cup cubed firm tofu (organic, non-GMO if possible)
  • 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp agave, maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds (you’ll have leftover)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 3-4 Tbsp peanut sauce for topping
For the Peanut Sauce:
  • 1/4 cup salted natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce (certified GF if gluten free)
  • 2-3 Tbsp brown sugar (or sub agave, maple syrup or honey if not vegan)
  • Juice of half a lime (~1.5 Tbsp)
  • 1/2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • Hot water
  • Optional: Sriracha for a little heat

  1. Drain tofu by wrapping in a towel and pressing gently. Let rest for 5 minutes. Then unwrap, cube and toss in 1 Tbsp sesame seeds. If you don’t like raw tofu, check out this “Make Taste Taste Good” recipe! Just omit the sesame seeds so they don’t burn in the oven.
  2. Prepare peanut sauce by whisking all ingredients together except the water. Then add in 1 Tbsp very hot water a little at a time until pourable. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Add kale to a large mixing bowl and drizzle over 1 tsp lime juice and 1/2 Tbsp each toasted sesame oil and agave. Massage with hands for 1 minute to incorporate ingredients and soften the leaves.
  4. Add kale to serving plate or bowl and top with sliced radishes, carrot and sesame-tofu. Drizzle with peanut sauce and serve immediately. Leftovers store well, even lightly dressed. Will keep refrigerated for up to a couple days, though best when fresh.

Nutrition information is a rough estimate and does not include all of the dressing – just 3-4 Tbsp.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 salad Calories: 528 Fat: 26 g Saturated fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 59 g Sugar: 26 g Sodium: 1100mg Fiber: 9 g Protein: 22 g



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    • Dana Shultz says

      Ah! I used to be that way too, but since going mostly meat free, I’ve been relying on it more when I’m craving something filling. With the crunchy veggies and creamy peanut sauce, it’s kind of perfect!

  1. P. Cruickshank-Schott says

    I hope to try this as it sounds delicious. My jaw dropped at the sodium content though… Is that a typo? I use unsalted nut butter, so that might help, but is all the rest from the chili garlic sauce and soy? When I know I’m using sea salt I don’t concern myself with sodium much, but in pre-made products I expect it’s the less healthy table salt version with anti-caking ingredients and such. I was surprised at the calorie count as well, though if you are actually using this for 2 meals it’s more reasonable. Using stevia would lower the calorie count a bit… I make a dressing with almond butter, lime, and coconut aminos that has a Thai type flavor without the sweet… Again this does look and sound delicious…

    • Dana Shultz says

      I do think that’s correct, but I calculated the information using regular soy sauce instead of low sodium. So use less soy and use low sodium and you’ll see a drastic reduction there.

  2. Zunni says

    Looks divine. I’m especially inspired by the peanut sauce. Raw tofu does sound a little daunting though.

  3. says

    Finally, a kale salad that’s different from the ten thousand other kale salad recipes out there. I love kale salad, but I was getting bored of all the lemon juice, parm, garlic, etc. variations out there. This looks wonderful… so bright and fresh. And peanut sauce is EVERYTHING. Love it.

    • Dana Shultz says

      Count me flattered! Thanks Christina! Hope you’ll give this a try! Let’s do our part in keeping kale salads NOT boring ;D

  4. says

    I don’t know if it’s a typo but the recipe is labelled gluten free and contains soy sauce, one or the other should be changed.

    Otherwise this sounds great!

  5. Melissa says

    LOVE this recipe! Just made it tonight – quick and easy and so good! I don’t like radishes so cut those out and used cucumber, red onion, bell pepper. Yum!

  6. Hannah says

    I don’t even like kale that much, and this was incredible. It’s the second time I’m making it this week (which makes it the third time I’m eating it this week!) and I’m loving it all. I don’t mind tofu raw usually, but the sesame seed trick was seriously awesome. Plus, it made my night when my 18-month old ate one bite, thought about it, and then reached for another handful. :)

  7. Kelzee says

    I had leftovers of your carrot soup for lunch, and this awesome salad for dinner. I am a peanut butter sauce machine!

  8. says

    This is the best recipe! Thank you so much- perfect for the summer season when these ingredients are in season. We have made this a few times now and I am writing a review of it on my blog. (Attached with your original link.) Thanks again!


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