This hearty summer kale salad features some of the best in-season summer produce, goat cheese, macadamia nuts and a tangy homemade grapefruit vinaigrette. It’s an easy, healthy warm-weather meal for any night of the week!
There’s nothing better than a huge bowl full of a particular season’s finest produce, all combined with an easy homemade dressing. Just like my Fall, Winter and Spring Kale Salads, this summer version will make it easy for you to get in your daily dose of fruits and vegetables. Serve it alone as a light meal, as a hearty yet healthy side dish, or topped with your favorite protein.
Why This Recipe Works
- It features the freshest in-season summer produce, so you know it’s going to stun in the taste department.
- Unlike most salads, it can be prepped earlier in the day (or even the night before) and left to marinate in the fridge for a while.
- It layers on all of the flavors – sweet, savory, salty, crunchy.
- It’s incredibly versatile and can be served as a side dish, vegetarian main dish, or heavier entree by adding some of your favorite protein.
Ingredients You’ll Need
While this recipe uses some of my favorite summer produce that can be found here in California, feel free to substitute other fruits and vegetables that grow well in summer wherever you are from.
Kale – Any type of kale will work here, although I recommend removing as much of the rib as possible for ease of chewing.
Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes – There’s really nothing better than tomatoes at the peak of their season. I love the different colors of heirloom tomatoes, but feel free to use regular cherry tomatoes as well.
Corn – While I much prefer fresh corn cut off the cob, you can also use frozen if you’re in a pinch.
Padrón Peppers – Truly some of my favorite summer produce! You’ll roast these up to add a great depth of flavor to this hearty salad.
Beets – Beets lend a subtle sweetness to the salad and a ton of nutrients. Feel free to use red or golden beets here!
Green Onions – If you haven’t ever added green onions to your salads before, you’ve really been missing out. Don’t skip these!
Shallots – Same goes for shallots. Onions are a great way to add flavor to an otherwise bland bowl of greens.
Peach – Summer peaches are right up there with tomatoes for some of the best in-season produce. Be sure to find one that’s perfectly ripe.
Goat Cheese – One of my biggest salad secrets is to ALWAYS add cheese. I love the saltiness and tang that the goat cheese lends to this combination.
Macadamia Nuts (not pictured) – What better nut to celebrate summer with? Macadamia nuts take me straight to the tropics, but if you can’t find them (or don’t want to splurge) feel free to substitute any type of nut you have on hand.
Ready to make your homemade grapefruit vinaigrette? Here are the only ingredients you’ll need!
Fresh Grapefruit Juice – Buy a whole grapefruit to get the freshest juice there is. If you’re in a pinch and can’t find one, you can use store-bought grapefruit juice.
Avocado Oil – The perfect oil base to contrast the acidic grapefruit juice.
Dried Oregano – This adds the perfect touch of flavor to the dressing and is a great complement to the grapefruit.
While this recipe does involve a little bit of cooking, it’s nothing even the most novice chef can’t handle. And the great thing is, you can do much of the cooking well in advance as everything can be served in the salad cold.
First, roast your peppers and beets in the oven. This will give your salad a nice, earthy depth of flavor.
Next, sauté your corn so it gets nice and golden.
Finally, the last bit of prep work is to mix up the grapefruit vinaigrette. Use a Mason jar if you have one, or simply vigorously whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl.
Now you can compose your salad! Throw everything together (including the dressing) in a large bowl and – ideally – let it marinate in the fridge for at least an hour or two. If you want to make the salad a heartier meal, simply throw on some of your favorite protein such as chicken, shrimp or even sausages.
Yes, you definitely want to cook them. That being said, you can often find beets that are precooked at the grocery store if you don’t want to go through that process on your own.
Absolutely not. A great way to see what’s in peak season in your area is to visit your local Farmer’s Market. Grab whatever looks good to you, just try to stick to similar flavor profiles to the ingredients listed here. You want to cover all the tastes: sweet, savory, salty and crunchy.
You can make this salad in its totality up to one day in advance of when you want to serve it. If you want, you can make the separate components (dressing, roasted beets and peppers, corn) up to two days in advance and store everything in the refrigerator. I definitely recommend dressing the salad at least an hour in advance of serving and letting it marinate in the refrigerator for a little bit.
This Summer Kale Salad can easily be served as a meal as-is, but you can also fancy it up a bit by adding some of your favorite protein (like shrimp, chicken, etc.) or serving it with a crusty loaf of bread.
More Salad Recipes You’ll Love
Salads are one of the easiest go-to meals if you have everything you need on hand. Check out these other salad ideas to find one that’s perfect for you!
No-Guilt Southwestern Corn, Kale and Quinoa Salad
Mango Shrimp Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette
Fresh Fig and Burrata Salad with Toasted Hazelnuts
Chilled Shrimp and Fennel Salad with Tangy Crema
Watermelon Caprese Salad with Prosciutto
Tried this recipe and loved it?? Be sure to leave a comment and five-star rating in the recipe card below!
Summer Kale Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette
For the salad:
- 2 beets peeled and diced
- 6 ounces padron peppers stems removed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 bunch kale cut off the rib and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1 small shallot sliced
- 1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes halved
- ½ cup macadamia nuts chopped
- 2 green onions sliced
- 1 yellow peach thinly sliced
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
For the dressing:
- ¼ cup fresh grapefruit juice
- ½ cup avocado oil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- First, roast the beets and the peppers. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large jelly roll pan with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Combine beets and peppers in a large mixing bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to coat. Pour onto prepared jelly roll pan and place in preheated oven. Roast beets and peppers for 20 minutes, or until beets can be easily pierced with a fork and peppers have charred slightly. Remove from oven and let cool.
- While beets and peppers are cooking, prepare the corn. Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and corn, cooking until corn has started turning golden. Remove from heat and set aside.
- While vegetables are cooling, prepare the other ingredients for the salad. In a large salad bowl, combine kale, shallot, tomatoes, macadamia nuts, green onions, peach and goat cheese. Once other vegetables have cooled, add those as well.
- Finally, make the dressing. If you have a mason jar with a lid, combine all ingredients in the jar, put the lid on, and shake to combine. If you do not have a mason jar, simply add all of the dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. Add dressing to salad right away and toss to combine.
- This salad can be enjoyed immediately, but for best results, let marinate for a few hours or overnight before serving.
- Feel free to sub in whatever fresh produce is abundant in your area in the summer, no need to stick to exactly these ingredients!
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