Crunchy and flavorful Thai kale salad. It’s packed with massaged kale, cabbage, carrots, bell pepper, cilantro, and green onions tossed in the most delicious and creamy cashew dressing!
I truly enjoy recreating Thai flavors in my kitchen. I’ve been to Thailand twice now and the food was my favorite part of both trips. Most of the food is naturally gluten free, packed with veggies, and I just love all the flavorful spices used in Thai cooking. It inspired me to create this easy Thai salad recipe and I just can’t get enough of it!
Thai Kale Salad Recipe with Creamy Whole30 Cashew Dressing
This Whole30 kale salad with Thai cashew dressing is perfectly crunchy, nutrient dense, and filling as well. It can be made ahead of time, and the flavors actually improve the longer it sits. The creamy Thai salad dressing made with cashews is so addicting, and I always make a double batch so I can have some leftover to put on other things!
How to Massage Kale
When using raw kale in a salad, you want to massage the kale with oil or dressing to soften the leaves and make them more digestible. It also gives it a gentler flavor so it doesn’t taste so “green” and hardy. Here’s how to massage kale for this easy Thai salad recipe:
- The first thing you want to do is make the creamy Thai salad dressing. This is so easy! All you need to do is blend soaked cashews with the rest of the ingredients until smooth and creamy.
- Remove the thick stems from the kale, and slice the leaves thinly. I like to stack the leaves on top of each other, roll them up, then slice. This makes it much easier and faster to do.
- Add the sliced kale to a large bowl and add half of the Thai cashew dressing.
- Use your hands to massage the kale leaves and infuse the dressing into the kale. It’s done when the kale is wilted, slightly reduced in size, and has a shine to it. This takes around 3-4 minutes.
Once the kale is massaged, you can add in the rest of the vegetables for the Thai kale salad, as well as the other half of the Whole30 cashew dressing. Toss together to coat evenly. Serve right away, or chill until ready to serve!
Tips for Making This Whole30 Kale Salad
- I used purple kale for this recipe, but you can also use curly kale or lacinato kale.
- Remember to soak the cashews for at least 2 hours before beginning this recipe. If you have a high powered blender, you can skip this step, but I do recommend it for an ultra creamy Thai salad dressing.
- You can make this easy Thai salad recipe ahead of time, and the flavors will meld together and taste even better after sitting for a while. It will last 3-4 days in the fridge.
- If you want extra crunch, feel free to add nuts or seeds to the salad.
- Make it a complete meal by adding cooked chicken, beef, or shrimp. I like to pick up pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and shred the meat to mix into this salad for a quick meal!
- If you are not in the middle of your Whole30 challenge, you can sweeten the salad by adding honey or maple syrup to the dressing.
If you enjoyed this Thai salad with Whole30 cashew dressing, you might also love…
- Whole30 Kale Chicken Caesar Salad + The Best Whole30 Caesar Dressing
- Paleo Spring Rolls with “Peanut” Sauce (Whole30, Keto)
- Paleo & Whole30 Mandarin Chicken Salad with Coconut Chips
- Paleo Asian Coleslaw
- Paleo Asian Chicken “Noodle” Salad
Thai Kale Salad with Cashew Dressing (Paleo, Whole30, Vegan)
- 1 bunch kale stems removed and thinly sliced
- 2 cups shredded cabbage
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 2 stalks green onions chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Option add ins: chicken, beef, shrimp, nuts, and/or seeds
- Make the creamy Thai cashew dressing first by blending all its ingredients in a blender until smooth and creamy. If the dressing is too thick, you can thin it out by adding a bit of water or more coconut milk.
- Add the sliced kale leaves in a mixing bowl and add half of the dressing.
- Use your hands to massage the kale until the leaves are slight wilted and shiny, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the rest of the salad ingredients to the bowl, and the other half of the dressing. Toss to mix together. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
- Serve right away, or chill until ready to serve. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
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