Rainbow Kale Salad with Lentils

kale apple salad

This is how we used up the last of our red Russian kale that had actually, quite literally, turned red in the last frost of spring. The result was a rainbow of a salad—yellow flecks of lemon zest, spots of Granny Smith green, slivers of bright pink radish, and the deep purply-red tones of the kale. Even the compost was photo-worthy. This dish tastes bright but earthy, and the lentils and kale give a good protein punch.

kale salad compost

Rainbow Kale Salad with Lentils

The red kale we used certainly gave a nice look, but the good ol’ green variety works just as well here. As when eating any hearty green raw, it’s best to slice the leaves rather thinly so your jaws don’t have to work so hard chewing ‘em up!

Serves 3–4 as a meal.


1 bunch of kale
1 cup cooked lentils
1 or 2 stalks celery, sliced thinly on a diagonal
3 or 4 breakfast radishes, sliced thinly
1 granny smith apple, cubed
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup almonds
A handful of parmesan, thinly shaved
A handful of herbs, chopped (we used oregano)

1 clove garlic
2 lemons, zest and juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Drizzle of honey
Salt and pepper


  • Cook the lentils until just done, but not yet mushy. Drain well and spread on a plate to cool. (Tip: don’t add salt until the end. Salt makes the lentils’ skin tough if you add it too early in the cooking process.)
  • Wash and dry the kale. Remove the tough stalks and set aside for another purpose (they’re great juiced, or chopped and braised with other greens). Stack the leaves and roll them into a cigar shape, then slice the bundle into thin ribbons. Cut the whole bunch in half down the center of the bundle.
  • Preheat a heavy, dry skillet over medium heat. Toast the seeds and nuts, stirring constantly, until fragrantly nutty and just beginning to take on a nice brown color. Roughly chop the almonds. Set aside.
  • Put all dressing ingredients in a jar with a tight lid, and shake vigorously to emulsify.
  • Combine all the salad ingredients in a serving bowl, then toss gently with the dressing.