Chopped kale, avocado, cucumber, green onion, quinoa and apple create an incredible base for this Vegan Protein Kale Salad! It's topped with crunchy pepita seeds, hemp hearts and a delicious Creamy Tahini Dressing for over 30 grams of plant-based protein and the nutrients your body is craving. This salad is vegan, gluten-free, and even nut-free, so it's a colorful and flavorful dish that everyone can enjoy.
It might sound a little funny, but I get so excited about a salad like this one! It's colorful, crunchy, and balanced perfectly with sweet and savory flavors. Since a lot of vegetarians and vegans I know are always trying to add protein into their meals, I thought I'd create a plant-based salad that's filling and super satisfying.
It's a Vegan Protein Kale Salad topped with all kinds of goodies! It's one of those dishes where every single bite has the perfect combination of flavor and texture.
Vegan Protein Kale Salad Ingredients
These ingredients are absolutely incredible. Seriously...it's a little mind-blowing to think about all of the amazing nutrients you're getting in one dish here! I have a Master of Public Health degree (MPH) in addition to being a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing (NCHEC), which basically means I LOVE food and get to excited about the nutrition each ingredient offers.
This Vegan Protein Kale Salad is a satisfying complete meal that you'll enjoy from first bite to clean plate.
- Kale - Remove the large stems and chop your kale into bite-sized pieces. You could even shred it if you prefer a shredded kale salad texture. Chop and freeze your kale stems for smoothies.
- Avocado - Avocados offer healthy fats, dietary fiber and nearly 20 vitamins and minerals such as potassium, folate, vitamin E, C and B6. They also provide plant-based protein.
- Green onion - Talk about a flavor explosion! Green onions are high in vitamin K while also being a good source of vitamins A and C. They also have manganese, iron, and calcium.
- Mini cucumbers - I like to dice the cucumbers small so I get that fresh, hydrating flavor in every bite. You could also substitute sliced radishes or any crunchy veggie you like.
- Apple - I used a small sweet red apple, cored and chopped. I prefer not to peel apples before eating them because the skin contains amazing fiber and nutrients!
- Cooked Quinoa - Use my stovetop method or Instant Pot method to quickly cook your quinoa to fluffy perfection!
- Sweet & Salty Roasted Pepita Seeds - These are a really tasty, crunchy salad addition as well as being one of our favorite snacks. Make a double batch!
- Hemp hearts - I buy hemp hearts in bulk because we use them so often for boosting smoothies, sprinkling on toast, and adding vegan protein wherever possible.
Vegan Tahini Salad Dressing
I've been totally obsessed with my Creamy Tahini Dressing! In addition to flavorful tahini, it has Dijon, lemon and garlic. It's so good that we even eat it as a dip with chopped veggies! Tahini is a great source of fiber, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, iron, calcium, plant-based protein, and it has vitamin B and antioxidants galore. I stir my tahini really well every time I open the jar so it stays nice and runny!
All About Kale
I've been trying to cook with more kale lately because it's such a nutritional powerhouse! Kale is low in calories and provides plant-based iron, vitamin K, calcium, iron, potassium, fiber and loads of antioxidants. One cup of kale contains well over 20% of the daily recommended amounts of vitamins A and C. It's such an incredible addition to your diet.
More Vegan Kale Recipes
Mason Jar Salad With Protein
This salad recipe is AMAZING for making ahead of time and storing in a large Mason jar! Just layer your dressing on the very bottom and then put ingredients like apple and seeds on the very top so they stay crunchy. Whoever invented salad in a jar is seriously a genius! I love this for food prepping and use Wide Mouth Pint Jars for easy scooping.
Adding Vegan Protein to Salads
I have several toppings on this salad that add amazing plant-based protein! When you eat completely vegan, you hear it all the time: "But what about protein?!" I'm here to tell you that it's totally possible to get TONS of protein in a vegan diet. This salad has over 30 grams of protein...alongside other incredible nutrients, like 100% of your recommended daily intake of magnesium and vitamin C!
- Pepita Seeds - One ounce of pumpkin seeds provides 5 grams of plant-based protein and 5 grams of fiber! Plus, they contain heart-healthy fats (omega 3 and omega 6) and offer important minerals including iron and zinc.
- Hemp Hearts - I use hemp hearts all the time! They contain plant-based protein, dietary fiber and essential fatty acids as well as vitamin E, potassium, iron, and calcium.
- Quinoa - Quinoa is considered a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids! It actually has more protein than any other grain in addition to over 5 grams of fiber per serving, folate, magnesium, iron, phosphorous and many phytochemicals.
- See my post on Quinoa Benefits for Vegans (+ Recipes) for a complete guide.
- Optional protein boosters - One of the best ways to add protein to a soup or salad is with Crispy Chickpea Croutons! They add a satisfying crunch, and chickpeas also contain folic acid, complex carbs, fiber and no cholesterol.
This Vegan Protein Kale Salad is super allergen-friendly. It's vegan (no meat, dairy or eggs!), gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free. Everyone can (and will!) enjoy this dish. If you make it, tag me on Instagram so I can see your colorful creations! You can also leave a review below or ask any questions you have. I check and respond regularly!
More Delicious Vegan Salads
- Simple Side Salad Recipe
- Easy Kale Salad with Avocado, Crispy Chickpea Croutons and Vegan Ranch Dressing (gluten-free)
- Maple Roasted Butternut Squash and Apple Quinoa Salad
- Spinach Quinoa Salad with Roasted Blueberry Vinaigrette
- Spiralized Radish and Arugula Salad with Quinoa, Hemp Seeds and Pepita Seeds
- Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Candied Pecans, Green Apples and Pomegranates
- Pear and Roasted Beet Arugula Salad with Hazelnuts
- Vegan Apple Arugula Salad with Candied Walnuts, Dates and Feta
- Broccoli Salad with Avocado
@eatingbyelaine Vegan protein kale salad #proteinsalad #plantbasedprotein #vegansaladrecipe ♬ original sound - eatingbyelaine
Chopped kale, avocado, cucumber, green onion, quinoa and apple create an incredible base for this Vegan Protein Kale Salad! It's topped with crunchy pepita seeds, hemp hearts and a delicious Creamy Tahini Dressing for all the plant-based protein and nutrients your body is craving. This salad is vegan, gluten-free, and even nut-free, so it's a colorful and flavorful dish that everyone can enjoy.
- 2 large handfuls chopped kale leaves (large stems removed)
- ½ small ripe avocado, chopped
- 1 green onion, diced
- 2 mini cucumbers, diced (or sub 1 cup sliced radishes)
- 1 small sweet red apple, cored and chopped
- ½ cup cooked quinoa (use my stovetop method or Instant Pot method to cook)
- ¼ cup Sweet & Salty Roasted Pepita Seeds
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- ¼ cup Creamy Tahini Dressing
- optional additional protein boosters: crispy chickpea croutons, canned rinsed and drained black lentils
- Add quinoa to a large single-serving salad bowl. Top with chopped avocado, diced green onion, diced cucumbers or sliced radishes, chopped apple, cooked quinoa, toasted pepita seeds and hemp hearts.
- Drizzle creamy tahini dressing overtop. Toss and enjoy immediately.
You can use either type of kale. Usually for this recipe I use curly kale as opposed to lacinato (dino) kale.
- Prep Time: 10
- Category: Lunch
Keywords: protein kale salad