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Detox Kale and Beet Salad

This kale beet salad features flavorful, healthy ingredients bursting with nutrients. This superfood-packed detox salad is made with beets, kale, walnuts, and a simple olive oil and garlic dressing. Serve it as a light yet filling lunch salad or as an impressive colorful side dish.

Top view of the detox kale and beet salad in a bowl standing on a grey board.

Have you overindulged in heavy, not-so-healthy foods lately? It happens. This detox kale and beet salad is the perfect light lunch or dinner side to have you feeling your best in no time. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and super nourishing.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This tasty salad is beautiful and packed with nutrients.
  • It can be made in advance, so it’s perfect for gatherings. Make it the night before and serve it the next day alongside your holiday spread to really impress your guests.
  • Have extra salad ingredients to use? Throw them in! This salad is super easy to customize with add-ins.
  • This kale beet salad recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, and totally plant-based!

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Cooked Red Beets – My favorite way to cook beets for this recipe is by steam-roasting them. This method results in soft juicy beets with a rich earthy flavor and highlights the natural sweetness of this root vegetable. Roasted beets are also perfect for this salad.
  • Fresh Kale – This popular leafy green is loaded with vitamins and nutrients. The thick leaves hold up to moisture, so kale is a great salad green for salads made in advance.
  • Walnuts – Chopped walnuts add bits of nutty crunch to each bite. They are high in healthy fats and make this kale and beet salad more filling.
  • Garlic Cloves – Chopped garlic adds a great layer of flavor to the dressing. Don’t be shy. The more, the better.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This rich oil is used to soften the kale leaves and dress the salad.
  • Sea Salt – Coarse sea salt highlights the natural flavors of fresh beets, kale, walnuts, and garlic.

How To Massage Kale For Salads

If you’ve ever worked with raw kale, you’re probably aware that you must massage it first if you are planning to use it in a salad.

Kale leaves are thicker than most salad greens and need extra TLC. Massaging kale breaks down the fibers making it easier to chew and digest.

The good news is that this extra step will only take a couple of minutes:

  1. Thoroughly wash the kale leaves. Shake off the excess water and pat the leaves dry with a paper towel.
  2. Remove the stems. Tear the soft green portion of the leaves and chop them into bite-size pieces.
  3. Place the kale into a large bowl and add a small amount of oil.
  4. With clean hands, begin massaging leaves between fingers. Continue for about 1 to 2 minutes or until leaves have softened and become vibrant green.

How To Make This Kale and Beet Salad

Step 1. Cook the Beets.

For this recipe, you’ll need cooked beets. Follow my guide to cooking beets, where you will find five easy methods as well as tips and tricks on how to buy, store, and prep beets.

To prep the cooked beets for the salad, peel them first and then chop them into bite-size pieces. Make sure the beets are cold before adding them to the salad.

Step 2. Prepare the Kale.

Tear the kale leaves away from the stems and chop the leaves into small bite-size pieces (discard the stems or save them for juicing).

Place the chopped kale in a large bowl and massage the leaves with your hands for about 1 to 2 minutes (see the notes above for kale massaging instructions).

Step 3. Assemble the Salad.

To the bowl with kale, add the chopped beets, walnuts, garlic, and olive oil. Toss gently to combine.

Step 4. Garnish and Serve.

To finish, add the rest of the olive oil and sprinkle the salad with sea salt. Toss well to combine and serve!

Close-up side view of the detox kale and beet salad in a grey bowl.

Recipe Tips

  • Be patient when massaging the kale. This step in the recipe is necessary to achieve the right flavor and texture.
  • This beets and kale salad recipe calls for two garlic cloves but if you love this amazing and tasty superfood, feel free to add more.
  • Chop the kale leaves and the beets into similar sizes, so each bite gets a good balance of everything.
  • Allowing the salad to marinate in the dressing for at least 30 minutes enhances the flavor. All of that garlicky goodness infuses into the cooked beets and kale leaves.

Flavor Variations

As is, this kale beet salad is exactly what it should be – healthy, filling, and absolutely delicious. But if you still want to experiment with flavor and nutrition, here are a few ideas:

  • Bulk up the root vegetables. Add roasted golden beets, carrots, sweet potato, radish, etc.
  • If tolerating dairy, you can top the salad with freshly grated parmesan or crumbly cheese like blue cheese, goat cheese, or feta cheese.
  • Don’t like walnuts or don’t have any on hand? You can use pecans, pistachios, or almonds, as well as pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
  • Add a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice or a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar to balance out the sweetness of the beets.

Storing & Making Ahead

  • Storing: This salad keeps well in the fridge stored in an airtight glass container, but keep in mind that the kale will continue to wilt the longer it’s stored. Use within a couple of days.
  • Make-Ahead: This beets and kale salad becomes even more flavorful when made ahead. Follow the recipe as is, leaving out the walnuts, so they don’t get mushy. Toss the walnuts with the salad before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use sliced canned or pickled beets?

This salad tastes best when it’s prepared with fresh cooked beets. Canned and/or pickled beets might taste “vinegary” or have ingredients that are not desirable in a detox salad.

Having said that, I know that a few readers made it with canned beets and liked it.

Can I use spinach instead of kale?

Yes! This salad will taste great with spinach. Just keep in mind that spinach leaves are much softer than kale and will quickly wilt once you add the dressing to the salad. If you decide to use spinach, don’t add the dressing until you are ready to serve it.

More Beet Salad Recipes You Might Like

If you love beets as much as I do, check out these healthy beet recipes:

Detox Kale and Beet Salad

Detox Kale and Beet Salad

Yield: 4 portions
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Beet Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

This kale and beet salad is chock-full of awesome nutrients. It's made with superfoods such as beets, kale, walnuts, garlic, and olive oil. It's light, detoxing, and filling at the same time.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium cooked beets, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 medium bunch kale (about 4-5 cups loosely packed torn kale leaves)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 chopped garlic cloves (3 if you love garlic)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Tear the kale leaves from the stems and chop the leaves into small pieces (save the stems for juicing).
  2. Place the torn kale leaves into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Massage the leaves with your hands for about 1 to 2 minutes. This helps to break the fibers and soften the kale. You will notice that the kale will become bright green.
  3. To the bowl with kale, add the walnuts, garlic, and olive oil and toss to combine.
  4. Add the beets to the kale, season with salt, and mix.
Nutrition Information
Yield 4 portions Serving Size 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving Calories 232Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 2.3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 16.8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 145mgCarbohydrates 12.1gFiber 4gSugar 6.4gProtein 4.5g

Nutrition facts provided on this website are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a qualified health care provider for personalized diet advice and make sure that each of the ingredients is allowed in your diet.

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