Kale Citrus Salad

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Plate of Citrus Kale Salad made with a tangy Red Wine Vinaigrette

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver

I couldn’t resist sharing this quote from Essentialism by Greg McKeown, a book I’m very nerdily listening to on audio while working. This book came to me at the perfect time at the recommendation of my fashion blogger crush, Caroline of Un-Fancy. If you’re into minimalist fashion, you need to go to there.

Essentialism is such a good read this time of year, especially for those looking to purify, simplify, and sift down to what’s really important. It’s so easy to fall into reacting instead of making intentional choices, no?

I believe the above quote puts it exquisitely: We have one wild and insanely beautiful life, it’s going by quickly, what are we going to do with it?

It’s just the gut check I needed for 2015.

Mixing bowl filled with fresh kale

As you might imagine, since we announced we’re pursuing a self-published print cookbook this year I am in fact now working on said cookbook. That’s kind of how that works.

It’s a project we’ve been talking about for a while now, and I can hardly express how excited I am to finally be in the midst of it.

But can I be honest? I’m feeling a little paralyzed at the thought of it all. It’s an endurance race and I prefer sprints. The idea of working on something for a whole year is utterly overwhelming to me. How do I cope? Am I even capable?  Practically speaking, when will I have time to sleep with a recipe list that’s longer than a college syllabus?

I was journaling the other day and found myself asking these questions:

  • Do I need to start doing less?
  • Become a better planner?
  • Get more zen in the morning and the evening to center myself amidst the storm?

Yes, we maintain a blog and an Instagram feed and reply to comments and emails and make products, and although John and I do this full time, it becomes daily apparent how quickly time slips by and how little time we actually have to do the things we say we want to do. We usually end up talking over breakfast about what we hope to accomplish in the day. The joke has become “Well, I’m just going to do everything on my to-do list and then I’ll be happy.”

Guess what? It rarely happens. Too much stuff, not enough time, and more importantly, not enough intention.

Bowl of fresh grapefruit slices for a Kale Citrus Salad Recipe

This book and this project have me realizing two things:

  1. I need to figure out what is essential for me to do each day. That is essential.
  2. Do only those things. Then stop.

Sounds simple enough but then it becomes surprisingly difficult the minute I lift my head off my pillow in the morning.

The good news? I’m not actually complaining about any of this – I’m excited. And, it’s causing me to focus and refine – two very positive things.

The better news? I’ve found a solution to all my worrying and fumbling: Don’t over commit.

Before, I used to put 4-5 things on my daily to do list and that would instantly make me feel anxious and overwhelmed by the day’s activities. I’m kind of a work horse and I like a challenge so overloading had become my default.

Now, I’m scheduling 2-3 things each day. Manageable, achievable, less stress, deep breathe in and out – I can do this.

There is still no doubt a mountain of work ahead of me this year – very meaningful work I care passionately about. Nonetheless, it’s a marathon – I like sprints. But, choosing to tackle only the essentials each day is leaving me feeling much more capable and confident, and most importantly – at ease.

Mixing bowl of ingredients for our 30-Minute Kale Citrus Salad recipe

Another thing I’m working on this year? Upping my salad game.

Kale and grapefruit are literally all I think about this time of year so it was only fate that they came together in this simple, 30-minute salad with quick pickled red onions and an easy red wine vinaigrette.

Loads of kale, pomegranate, red onion, grapefruit, cranberries, and green apple make this salad hearty and substantial and loaded with fiber. If you love quick, crisp salads with a balance of tart and sweet, this is the one for you.

Pouring a simple red wine vinaigrette onto our healthy Citrus Kale Salad
Freshly tossed Citrus Kale Salad for a delicious gluten-free vegan side dish

Another thing that influences how I work during the day is how well I eat. I’m busy and need quick, simple, healthy meals within reach at all times. Kale Citrus Salad to the rescue.

I think you guys are going to love this salad! It utilizes some of winter’s most gorgeous and nutrient-rich produce and is both delicious and customizable. To make it a complete meal, add your protein of choice – quinoa, sunflower seeds, and roasted pecans are a few of my favorites.

Big plate of our gluten-free vegan Citrus Kale Salad recipe

If you’re finding yourself feeling a little overwhelmed these days, take a deep breathe and figure out what’s essential. Then, only do those things (or at least try really hard to). Making this salad wouldn’t hurt either.

Friends, here’s to a less-frantic, more relaxed and focused 2015. Cheers!

Mixing bowl filled with ingredients for making an amazing Detox Kale Citrus Salad

Kale Citrus Salad

A simple, 30-minute kale salad with sweet and tart fruits, pickled red onions, and a simple red wine vinaigrette! Crunchy, filling, fresh, and the perfect healthy light lunch or side salad.
Author Minimalist Baker
Pouring Red Wine Vinaigrette onto a big bowl of Kale Citrus Salad
4.91 from 22 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Course Salad, Side, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly No
Does it keep? 2-3 Days



  • 1/4 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp water


  • 1 large bundle lacinto kale (1 large bundle yields ~4 cups // chopped)
  • 1 grapfruit or orange (segmented // reserve any juice)
  • 1 tart apple (cored and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate arils or dried cranberries (I used a mix of both)


  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • pinch sea salt + black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp sweetener of choice (such as maple syrup or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (plus more for massaging kale)
  • 2 Tbsp orange juice (optional // to brighten the flavor)

TOPPINGS (optional)

  • Berries in spring and summer
  • Cooked quinoa
  • Hempseeds, roasted nuts, or sunflower seeds (for extra protein)


  • Pickle onions by mixing red wine vinegar, water, and sugar in a small bowl and stirring to dissolve. Add sliced onions and let set in the fridge while prepping the rest of the salad. The liquid should cover the onion, so add a bit more vinegar and/or water if needed.
  • Add kale to a large mixing bowl with 1-2 tsp olive oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and squeeze over reserved grapefruit or orange juice. Use your fingers to massage the kale to break down the bitterness and stiffness.
  • Next add apple, grapefruit or orange segments, and pomegranate or cranberries and set aside.
  • Prepare dressing in a small mixing bowl by whisking vinegar, mustard, sweetener, and salt and pepper. Stream in olive oil while mixing, then taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added a splash of orange juice to brighten up the flavors, but this is optional.
  • Add pickled onions to the salad, as well as the dressing (or reserve it for serving), toss and serve. Leftovers keep up to a couple of days in the fridge, though best when fresh.


* Find more tips for pickling onions at The Kitchn.
* Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with dressing.

Nutrition (1 of 4 servings)

Serving: 1 serving Calories: 239 Carbohydrates: 21 g Protein: 2.8 g Fat: 17 g Saturated Fat: 2.4 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 100 mg Fiber: 3 g Sugar: 11.7 g

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My Rating:

  1. Christiane says

    I made this salad with the 1 teaspoon of salt to massage the kale. It was almost inedible due to its saltiness. I added more kale to try and dilute the salt but it barely helped. Because I couldn’t find dinosaur kale I had to use curly leaf kale. That shouldn’t have made a difference. I need some guidance here. Is the amount of salt to massage the kale a misprint? Did I misinterpret the recipe?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so sorry it turned out inedible, Christiane! The kale should be massaged with 1 tsp olive oil, not 1 tsp salt. We’re unsure where you’re seeing 1 tsp salt?

    • Christiane says

      Oh jeez, I was momentarily invaded by aliens. I’m not sure how I read salt but I did. I’m sorry to bother you. I even checked the recipe before adding it and I still came up w/salt instead of olive oil. Honestly, i should have known better! Thank you for responding and I will make this again w/o the salt.

  2. Angela says

    Such a tasty, nourishing salad! I added some fennel and red cabbage that I had to use up, and used just cranberries (though come fall, I’d love to try it with fresher pomegranate.) Will definitely make again, especially that dressing.

  3. Barbara says

    I love a composed salad, because I like making food look pretty. This salad was also perfectly balanced in flavors and textures and just what I needed to use that 2-day old kale in my fridge before it turned. Have you ever used the stand mixer to massage your kale while chopping other ingredients? I have been doing this for a few weeks and it seems to be a great hack! Anyway, thanks for all the deliciousness!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed it, Barbara! We haven’t heard of that hack but it sounds amazing – we’ll have to give it a try! Thank you for sharing! xo

  4. Shelli A. Thelen says

    I made this with my harvest of swiss chard instead of kale. I used Cara Cara oranges as the citrus and used the same for the dressing. I added toasted pistachios as well. The dressing is fantastic and I will use it on kale as well. Loved it.

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Amazing! Thanks so much for the lovely review and for sharing your modifications, Shelli!


    I made this today. I used oranges and added strawberries. I didn’t have cranberries or pomegranate, but it would be good with them on the salad. I also didn’t use 1/3 oil, but made half of the dressing recipe. Very tasty. I want to eat leftovers tonight and add quinoa and blueberries.

  6. Katie says

    I brought this salad to Thanksgiving and it was the lone vegetable on the table… only my sister was willing to try a little with me! :) We loved it, though. I used a mix of clementines and grapefruits. I cut each grapefruit segment into thirds (triangles) and pulled off the skin so it was just the soft part. For the kale, I bought a ready-made salad container of organic baby kale, so I skipped the whole massaging step. I would like to make this with mature kale from a bunch, but this was a nice time-saver, too. Really nice, yummy side salad! Thank you!

  7. Diane K says

    Delicious salad, I didn’t add the apple or pickled onions, but double the orange and add shallots. The dressing is amazing.

  8. Alex Walker says

    I ended up adding in too much oil in the beginning where I was to massage it and even adding more kale it was hard to get past my mistake. I used orange slices and juice because a guest couldn’t have grapefruit – but the tart would have been better than the sweet orange. The dressing was good too, but made too much and using all of it would have obliterated the flavor and freshness of the fruits and veggies. I used only pomegranate seeds instead of a mix of them and dried cranberries because we forgot to buy the cranberries. But the addition of the cranberries would have added too much sweetness to this otherwise complex and tasty salad.

  9. JIWA says

    Well, this was a great idea, and I jumped on it as I had most of the ingredients. Not a fan of pomegranite arils–don’t like the seeds.. any way. This will be nice to add to spring breakfast rotation as fresh veggies appear. But I wanted to comment on “massaging kale.” Never really understood the need, and themes it, well, a mess. I simply toss the dressing on the kale and let is sit for a few minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. The kale softens, wilts, nicely and then I toss in the rest of the ingredients and serve. Works well, and no messy hands. This will be my breakfast for today. I have a lovely bit of pickling veggies, that I never thought about using for my salads–they are for my bhan me bowls! Lovely.

  10. roxy says

    Just made this tonight for dinner — absolutely loved it and so did my fiance!! He’s been asking for more salads as we get back to healthy eating after indulging over the holidays. This was PERFECT. Thank you!

  11. Sarah says

    This salad is TO.DIE.FOR. The best salad I have ever made. Used less dressing than called for. Thank you for this recipe!!

  12. Dh says

    Oh I didn’t use the 1/3 cup of olive oil. I didn’t have that much and I used a good amount for massaging so I didn’t think it was really necessary. And I don’t find that many salads really need lots of olive oil so I skipped it!

  13. Dh says

    I made this for some people at work and got a LOT of compliments on it. Everyone said it was nicely dressed and people who “don’t like kale” even said they loved it. Massaging the kale made it a lot softer and easier to eat. I didn’t do the pickled onions part (I didn’t really have time) and it was great without them but I think it’d be even better with them! I’ll make them next time! I did use 2 oranges instead if 1 and next time I might use 2 apples as well.

  14. Alexis says

    Just made and enjoyed this at a holiday potluck-I got many compliments! i think everyone could use some dark greens and fresh fruit this time of year! And as always, my mother loved it. I may have to make it and add those spiced nuts you just posted! Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  15. Greer says

    Fabulous recipe! Made it for breakfast this morning with the ingredients I had on hand. Loved the freshness of the dressing with the juice of an orange (I had a mandarin), plus, every time I bit into a grapefruit, my mouth said, “Oooo, grapefruit with kale; what a great idea!” Thank you!!

  16. Dressler says

    OMG. Just made this for dinner/tomorrow’s lunch, and I am so absurdly happy. Delicious, simple, healthy, awesome. YAY salad!

  17. Sheila says

    Just made this for a potluck and it was a huge hit, even with non-vegans and non-vegetarians. It definitely still tastes great after a couple days in the fridge. I used oranges and added an avocado in here. I also squeezed a bit of lemon on top to keep the avocado and apple super fresh looking and tasting. Didn’t need to add quinoa or extras, it was a great dish as is.

  18. Kathryn says

    What a great recipe! I had never had raw kale before trying this recipe. I have always steamed it in the past, but now a whole new world has opened! Thanks and great blog! Seeing everything that you do here has helped to inspire me to start my own blog. I am still in the infancy stages. Thanks for following your heart to start this blog and inspiring me to do the same.

  19. Ashley says

    I can 100% relate to every word of this post. Over-committing, too many to-do’s, feeling paralyzed about certain things to the point where I put them off for as long as humanely possible, ETC. I’d say in the past 6 months I’ve also been trying carve out more “play” time because, as you said, life is insanely short. It has been fabulous, but I can’t say it hasn’t been a struggle. Letting myself play more has not come naturally and sometimes (on vacations + especially on a Sundays) it causes me quite a bit of anxiety. I guess it’s a learning process. I think if I keep practicing and learning how to better balance everything I’ll feel more calm and confident about that time off. Remember to celebrate any victory or accomplishment and maybe turn your book project into a bunch of “sprints,” which you said you work better at. It is extremely daunting to think about WRITING AN ENTIRE BOOK, but splitting it up into smaller projects may help out! And then you can be like, I’m 1/8th done! — Also, this salad. mmhm

  20. Kelzee says

    Dana, this salad was fantastic. What a great combination of flavors! In the winter, I find myself eating the same types of meals over and over again, but this was just what I needed to freshen up my go-to recipe list. I also really appreciate your fun take on in-season produce. I (and my wallet) thank you!

  21. Connie P says

    Just made your salad tonight and WOW! That is truly one of the best salads ever. THANK YOU! I live in the Czech Republic where kale just isn’t anywhere to be found so subbed baby spinach leaves for it, and still it was delicious. Paired it with quinoa and made it dinner tonight. Glad nobody will be home tomorrow so I can have all the leftovers! HA!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ah nice! We visited Prague a couple years ago and loved it! Such a beautiful area. Glad you enjoyed the salad with some substitutions. Thanks for sharing, Connie!

      • Connie P says

        Oh and also wanted to tell you I’m an Oregon girl, born and raised, so am delighted you’re in Portland now! I’ve lived in Czech for 21 years, and love it. But my heart is in Oregon too. Hope you’re enjoying it and finding your way around Portland! :)

  22. Abbie @ Needs Salt says

    First, this salad is gorgeous. I love all the bright colors going on — definitely refreshing in these bleak winter months. And second, I needed this post. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dana. I’ve been thinking about those three things a lot lately and most of all, “do I need to be doing less?” This time of year is always a good point to examine what we do and what is essential in our day-to-day lives. Needless to say, I’m trying to reassess my own to-do list and life. It’s so crazy important to get to those things that feed our souls and just breathe. But gosh, I’m rambling. Haha. Pinning this salad!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ah yay! So glad you enjoyed the post, Abbie! I usually just stick to food talk but felt inspired by my recent mindset shift! Glad it inspired / encouraged you in some way!

  23. Maria G. says

    Sounds familiar. Why is it there is never enough time to do all you need to do? Uggh. You must prioritize I guess. . . . Thank you for sharing this salad. I learned something new today: Rub the kale to get rid of the stiffness and bitterness! Thanks and God bless, He is always there to help and comfort.

  24. Megan @ The Nutrition Addiction says

    Great inspiration to just strip down the day and get done what you NEED to get done. I’ve started working on this myself this year. It’s tough when you think you have to be super(wo)man all the time.

    I’m excited to hear that you’ll be stepping up your salad game. My husband is Italian and grew up eating lettuce/cucumber/tomato w/ a homemade Italian dressing every.single.night and we’ve carried on the tradition but try to mix it up a little. For some reason I have trouble with salad because I can’t get over the fact that not all salads require olive oil, red wine vinegar and oregano so I love the inspiration :p

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks Megan! Slowing down and getting back to the essentials has been key for me. Hope this somehow helped / inspired you to do the same!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerDana @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! Use a serrated knife. Lop off the top and bottom, then carefully remove the skin one small section at a time. Then flip it on its side and cut out the segments individually one at a time. Hope that helps!

      • Sherrita says

        Perfect. Thanks it worked perfectly. I made this salad tonight and it was amazing. Thanks so mch for all your hard works.

  25. Kimberly/TheLittlePlantation says

    The ups and downs of modern living. It’s tough to strike the right balance but it sounds as though you are on your way. This salad will certainly help ;)
    Thx for sharing

  26. Jessica DeMarra says

    WOW such beautiful colours! Since reading this I have developed my own schedule for work/school/ recipe testing and photographing. At first it looked like a lot but once I broke it down, it wasn’t so bad! Thanks for all the tips and calendar :)

  27. Christie @ The Weekday Table says

    This salad look so so mouthwatering, I’m in love! I agree about over committing. I find I am so much happier when I am NOT over committed :)

  28. Medha @ Whisk & Shout says

    Thoughtful post! Planning out the days honestly helps so much. Love this salad too! Grapefruit is all I think about practically year round!

  29. Katie (Veggie and the Beast) says

    This post is just what I needed today. I’m a total over-committer, and have been fighting burnout lately. When you feel like that it’s easy to forget that every day is a gift, not a burden. Thanks for the reminder, and GORGEOUS salad! I’ve been on a big time grapefruit kick lately, too.

  30. Trang's corner says

    It looks amazzzingggggg! So delicious! Can’t wait to try it, thanks for the recipe! Need to try this recipe.

  31. Jeanne Valenta says

    Must have hit the jackpot! I have all the ingredients on hand (plus blood orange, cara cara orange= citrus trifecta.) Will make pickled onions today & salad tomorrow! Thank you for all of your efforts! I am enjoying your new cookbook. Best wishes!

  32. Margaret says

    And here is “The Summer Day” in it’s entirety, because the beauty of that last line cuts deep when you travel through the complete poem. Thanks for a beautiful start to my day!

    The Summer Day

    Mary Oliver

    Who made the world?
    Who made the swan, and the black bear?
    Who made the grasshopper?
    This grasshopper, I mean-
    the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
    the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
    who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
    who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
    Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
    Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
    I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
    I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
    how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
    which is what I have been doing all day.
    Tell me, what else should I have done?
    Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
    Tell me, what is it you plan to do
    with your one wild and precious life?

  33. jenna @ just j.faye says

    The colors in this salad are GORGEOUS! I am all about the citrus kale salads these days, so I’ll definitely be trying this combo.
    Also, your cookbook is going to be fabulous just like everything else you do!

  34. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables says

    That looks delicious! I’m always up for trying a new kale salad recipe and I bet the fruity flavors would be awesome!