Summer Lemon Kale Salad with Brined Salmon

by Kaitlynn Fenley

Try this fresh and nourishing lemon kale salad with brine marinated, succulent grilled salmon, crispy baked sweet potatoes, and crumbly feta cheese. This dish was inspired by my favorite lemon kale Caesar salad and is made with baby kale, sauteed Tuscan kale, and the best from-scratch lemony dressing. This summer kale salad is ready in just 30 minutes and perfect for lunch or dinner.

Tuscan Kale Salad

If you are here for the vegan version of this recipe, please scroll to the section right above the recipe card! This recipe was once a vegan Tuscan kale salad with roasted sweet potatoes. While I did like that recipe, it was time for a serious update. I am no longer a vegan, and I want all my recipe blogs to be more nutritionally balanced. This recipe now includes more than just Tuscan kale and potatoes. I added healthy protein-rich salmon, delicious calcium and healthy fat from the feta cheese, and probiotics from the yogurt in the dressing. If you are still interested in making a vegan salad, I’ve got you covered! See the last section of this blog post.

Lemon and Baby Kale

This salad is simple to make, and it starts with good ingredients. I suggest using organic kale and baby kale in this recipe since you probably want it to be the best for gut health. Conventional kale can be a very dirty crop, so it’s better to go with organic for most leafy greens. I get my baby kale and Tuscan kale from Whole Foods Market. I also want to emphasize using freshly squeezed lemon juice. I’ve used bottled lemon juice in this recipe before, and it was okay, but it wasn’t as good as fresh squeezed.

Here are all the salad base ingredients you need:

  • Tuscan kale
  • Baby kale
  • Grape tomatoes
  • One large sweet potato
  • Feta cheese

Here is what you need for the dressing

  • Yogurt
  • Tahini
  • Lemon Juice
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Salmon Kale Salad

The star of the show in this salad is the brine marinated salmon. You only need to marinate it for about 15 minutes before cooking, but it can go longer if you want. I instruct you to cube the salmon in this recipe, so you should go with a “BBQ cut” of salmon. It’s a thicker cut than a filet, which makes it easy to cube.

Here is everything you need for the salmon:

  • 1-2 pounds BBQ cut salmon
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • fermented vegetable brine (I used sauerkraut brine, you only need three tablespoons)
  • fermented garlic (or any garlic)

Summer Lemony Kale Salad

Jon and I have been enjoying this lemony kale salad all summer! The bright citrus flavor makes it light yet filling on those hot summer evenings. I like to pair it with an ice-cold glass of sauvignon blanc for dinner. While this recipe is relatively easy, it takes a bit of multitasking to make it in 30 minutes. You can get a lot of the steps done while the sweet potatoes cook in the oven.

For a Vegan Option, Make This a Kale Chickpea Salad

If you found this blog on Pinterest and want to make the vegan kale salad with crispy baked sweet potatoes, you can still use this recipe! You need to make a few minor substitutions:

Print

Summer Lemon Kale Salad with Brined Salmon

Try this fresh and nourishing lemon kale salad with brine marinated, succulent grilled salmon, crispy baked sweet potatoes, and crumbly feta cheese. This dish was inspired by my favorite lemon kale Caesar salad and is made with baby kale, sauteed Tuscan kale, and the best from-scratch lemony dressing. This summer kale salad is ready in just 30 minutes and perfect for lunch or dinner.

  • Author: Kaitlynn Fenley
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Ingredients

Scale

For the salad:

  • 5 cups chopped Tuscan kale
  • 4 cups fresh baby kale
  • 1/2 cup Grape tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1/4 cup Feta cheese

For the Dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Tahini
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon Extra virgin olive oil

For the salmon:

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel and cube the sweet potato, toss in a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Roast for 15 minutes. Toss the potatoes and roast for 10-15 minutes until lightly crispy.
  2. While the potatoes are cooking, remove the skin from the salmon, and cube the salmon. Add it to a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, fermented vegetable brine, and garlic. Let the salmon marinate for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or wok, and lightly sauté the Tuscan kale for about 1 minute. Remove the kale from heat and add it to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining salad ingredients to the bowl and toss to combine.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the salad dressing ingredients, and set aside.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Sear the salmon on both sides until slightly brown and crispy. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes; flip the salmon pieces, then cook for three more minutes.
  6. Add the salmon, roasted sweet potatoes, and the dressing to the salad, toss to combine, and serve.

Notes

  • to make this recipe vegan, see notes above the recipe card

Keywords: kale, salad, salmon, sweet potato

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Recipe rating

11 comments

marquis July 12, 2020 - 12:59 am

omg this is honestly my go-to comfort meal ?? the sauerkraut is clutch

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley July 13, 2020 - 1:35 pm

So happy to hear that you love it!

Reply
Elizabeth September 19, 2020 - 4:33 pm

If I were to meal prep this for the week, would it be best to not massage the kale all at once? I haven’t done much kale so I don’t know how it will last through the week!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley September 19, 2020 - 6:33 pm

Yes, that would be best. I’d prep all the potatoes and the dressing, then just prepare the kale right before eating.

Reply
Megan November 8, 2020 - 11:07 pm

Would love to try but allergies. Do you have a suggestion for dressing that isn’t tahini?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley November 9, 2020 - 1:24 pm

Any dressing you normally use will work! We have another dressing recipe in this blog: Fall Harvest Salad with Maple Dijon Dressing

Reply
Rachael Z December 16, 2020 - 3:09 pm

Just made this for lunch…..Dear God…..it is SO GOOOOOOD!!!!! I am SO glad I took a chance on this and tried it!! It tastes so so yummy! Tangy and savory and umami (I hate using that word but that literally describes the flavor). I do have some leftover massaged kale (1 serving). Do you think it will be ok if I put it in the fridge for tomorrow or should I make my Husband eat this when he gets home lol. Thank you so much for this!

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley December 16, 2020 - 4:34 pm

It should be okay in the fridge overnight. I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe!

Reply
Darnell S. Collier August 8, 2022 - 6:20 pm

Thank you

Why did you stop being a vegan?

Reply
Kaitlynn Fenley August 9, 2022 - 10:49 am

vegan diets are not metabolically supportive, especially since I cannot digest fructans. Plus, I’d prefer to get all nutrition I need through real food without having to take a bunch of supplements.

Reply
Kristyn January 21, 2021 - 6:10 am

First ever review to say this is DELICIOUS and so well thought out. Its like a powerhouse of nutrients and gut boosters. We added some chick peas and avacado to bulk it up but I’ve been having the original fur lunch and I am SO EXCITED to have found a way that I truly enjoy kale.

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