Chopped Kale Salad with Sweet Chili Almond Dressing

This Chopped Kale Salad is served with marinated tofu and a delicious creamy sweet chili almond dressing. Easy to assemble and great to meal prep in advance.

Serving bowl filled with chopped kale quinoa salad and topped with grilled tofu skewers and almond butter dressing.

Before becoming a dietitian, I was a dietetic intern. That meant, I wasn’t paid, but I was still expected to feed myself. I was fortunate enough to have savings and a place very close to an Aldi. I bought a lot of things in bulk and prioritized foods that would last in the fridge. Did foods repeat? Of course. Especially meals I knew that were reliable. This chopped kale salad was one of those meals!

Luckily, I never really got tired of it and I find myself going back to it a lot in the summer. I’d prep the salad, tofu and sauce in separate containers, then assemble my lunch the night before or morning of. Reliable as always and something I looked forward to enjoying.

Why You’ll Love This Chopped Kale Salad

  • High in protein. Using a combination of the tofu, quinoa and almond butter helps make this meal higher in plant-protein, which will help keep you feeling satisfied after eating.
  • Stores well in the fridge. Because of the nature of the ingredients, this whole meal can be prepped in advance and last you throughout your work week.
  • Naturally gluten-free. Using a wheat-free tamari helps keep this entire meal gluten-free.
Cutting board topped with bell pepper, tofu, mint, cabbage and snap peas.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Kale: You can use any variety of kale that you enjoy, but I personally went with classic curly kale. The nice thing about kale is that it is hearty, so it will last a long time in the fridge.
  • Quinoa: You can save time and purchase frozen quinoa that you can reheat in the microwave. You can also swap quinoa for some wild rice, crispy rice or farro.
  • Cabbage: Green or red cabbage works really well. Feel free to swap with a different green or use an equal amount of kale to replace it.
  • Sugar Snap Peas: Can be swapped for a number of hearty vegetables like green beans, broccoli, or even edamame if you want a boost in protein.
  • Bell Pepper: Any color bell pepper can work.
  • Almond Butter: If dealing with an almond allergy, swap the almond butter for peanut butter, sunflower seed butter or tahini.
  • Miso Paste: I recommend yellow or white miso paste. You can also swap for more soy sauce or coconut aminos to taste.
  • Sweet Chili Sauce: Helps balance the saltiness of the the miso. You can also use maple syrup along with some sambal oelek.
  • Citrus: I used a combination of lemon and lime to marinade the tofu. You can stick to one variety if preferred.
  • Tofu: I recommend pressed extra firm tofu. You can also freeze your tofu in advance for a chewier texture as well.
  • Tamari: You can use soy sauce. Using a wheat-free tamari or coconut aminos will help keep the recipe gluten-free.

How to Make A Chopped Kale Salad

Prepare the Tofu Skewers. To a large bowl or container, add the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, oil, lime juice, lemon juice, thyme and coriander then whisk to combine. Cut the pressed tofu into equal sized cubes then add the cubes to the marinade and toss to coat. Allow to marinade for 10-15 minutes, tossing the cubes occasionally.

Prepare the Chopped Kale Salad. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions then set aside. Add the chopped kale to a large mixing bowl with the tamari, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. With clean hands, rub the ingredients into the kale until it starts to soften and shrink in size. Once to your liking add the cabbage, bell pepper, sugar snap peas, scallions and herbs then toss to evenly mix together.

Cook the Tofu Skewers. Heat up a non-stick pan or grill pan and coat with a little oil as needed. If using skewers, thread the tofu onto the skewers and reserve the marinade. When the pan is hot, add the tofu and allow to cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes or until golden marks start to appear on the tofu. Flip the skewer and brush the cooked side with more of the marinade and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until golden. Before removing the tofu from the pan, brush the tofu with more of the marinade and set aside.

Mix the Sweet Chili Almond Butter Dressing. Add the almond butter, sweet chili sauce, miso paste, tamari, and rice wine vinegar. Use the back of a spoon to mash the miso paste into the other ingredients. Add the water then whisk together until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time when whisking until the sauce is at your desired consistency.

Assemble the Bowls. Serve a portion of the kale salad and top with the tofu skewers. Drizzle the bowl with the almond butter dressing and top with additional crunchy ingredients as desired before serving.

Expert Tips

  • Change up the vegetables. You can change up or leave out any vegetables you don’t like. For example, if you are nota fan of sugar snap peas, leave them out or swap for more bell pepper or edamame.
  • Press your tofu. This will improve the texture of the tofu and also allow more flavor to get in when marinated.
  • Use a different protein. If tofu isn’t your thing, try this with crispy roasted chickpeas or baked seitan.
  • If you have a nut allergy, swap the almond butter for sunflower seed butter or tahini.
Close up of a bowl of chopped kale salad topped with tofu skewered and almond dressing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to cook kale?

You can save the step of cooking and just massage the kale in a little oil and vinegar instead. Massaging the kale will help to soften the fibers and mellow out some of the natural bitter flavors. This process makes the kale easier to eat and more enjoyable without having to cook it down.

How long does this keep?

The nice thing about this salad is that it can be stored and will stay crisp for days thanks to the use of more hearty vegetables. Store the salad, tofu and almond butter dressing in separate airtight containers. Place the containers in the fridge for up to 5 days and use as desired.

Do I need to press my tofu?

In this application, yes. Pressing tofu can be done in many ways, which I detail in my How to Cook Tofu post. Pressing the tofu will help eliminate excess water, which will help make the texture chewier and also help with absorbing flavor.

Is there an alternative to grilling the tofu?

Absolutely. Just pan sear, bake or air fry your tofu. When pan searing, lightly coat the tofu in cornstarch after marinating then add a splash of oil to the pan. Once hot add the tofu to the pan and cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes then rotate and cook again for a few minutes until all sides or golden to your liking. To bake, preheat the oven to 425F and add the skewers to a parchment lined baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping half way. Air fryer instructions may vary depending on your air fryer, but I tend to do 400F and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.

White bowl filled with chopped kale and quinoa salad topped with grilled tofu skewers and almond butter dressing.

Balance Your Meal

To a large bowl, spoon in some of the kale salad then top with the tofu skewers. When ready to serve, drizzle on as much of the sweet chili almond sauce as you like.

For some added crunch, feel free to top with some chopped almonds or sesame seeds. You can also add additional protein by adding a sprinkle of hemp hearts or pepitas.

More Nourishing Summer Meals to Try

Close up of a large bowl of kale salad topped with tofu skewers and almond butter dressing and scallions.
Print
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Serving bowl filled with chopped kale quinoa salad and topped with grilled tofu skewers and almond butter dressing.

Chopped Kale Salad with Sweet Chili Almond Dressing

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 3 reviews
  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This Chopped Kale Salad is served with marinated tofu and a delicious creamy sweet chili almond dressing. Easy to assemble and great to meal prep in advance.


Ingredients

Scale

Citrus Tofu Marinade

  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp dry thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1, ~400g block extra firm tofu, pressed and drained

Chopped Kale Salad

  • 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
  • 4 cups curly kale, stems removed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced on a bias
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

Sweet Chili Almond Butter Sauce

  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
  • 1 tsp yellow miso paste
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 34 tbsp cold water

Instructions

  1. To a large bowl or container, add the nutritional yeast, soy sauce, oil, lime juice, lemon juice, thyme and coriander then whisk to combine. Cut the pressed tofu into equal sized cubes then add the cubes to the marinade and toss to coat. Allow to marinade for 10-15 minutes, tossing the cubes occasionally.
  2. Cook the quinoa according to package instructions then set aside. Add the chopped kale to a large mixing bowl with the tamari, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar. With clean hands, rub the ingredients into the kale until it starts to soften and shrink in size. Once to your liking add the cabbage, bell pepper, sugar snap peas, scallions, herbs and quinoa then toss to evenly mix together.
  3. Heat up a non-stick pan or grill pan and coat with a little oil as needed. If using skewers, thread the tofu onto the skewers and reserve the marinade. When the pan is hot, add the tofu and allow to cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes or until golden marks start to appear on the tofu. Flip the skewer and brush the cooked side with more of the marinade and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes or until golden. Before removing the tofu from the pan, brush the tofu with more of the marinade and set aside.
  4. Add the almond butter, sweet chili sauce, miso paste, tamari, and rice wine vinegar. Use the back of a spoon to mash the miso paste into the other ingredients. Add the water then whisk together until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time when whisking until the sauce is at your desired consistency.
  5. Serve a portion of the kale salad and top with the tofu skewers. Drizzle the bowl with the almond butter dressing and top with additional crunchy ingredients as desired before serving.

Notes

Change up the vegetables. You can change up or leave out any vegetables you don’t like. For example, if you are nota fan of sugar snap peas, leave them out or swap for more bell pepper or edamame.

Press your tofu. This will improve the texture of the tofu and also allow more flavor to get in when marinated.

Use a different protein. If tofu isn’t your thing, try this with crispy roasted chickpeas or baked seitan.

If you have a nut allergy, swap the almond butter for sunflower seed butter or tahini.

If you tried this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, then let me know what you thought in the comments below! And if you loved it, don’t forget to rate it too. Feel free to follow on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok for the latest nutrition tips and recipe videos.

 Catherine

This post contains affiliate links which means I will make a small commission if you purchase from those links. I only recommend and share products that I know, trust and personally use myself!

3 Comments

  1. Made this for dinner last night and absolutely loved it! The tangy tofu, the almond butter sauce, the crunch, everything about it. So so good. Definitely one for the regular rotation.






  2. Absolutely amazing! Made a huge portion and there was plenty of salad left for lunch the next day with my family of four. I also added some toasted almonds for extra crunch which was fab.






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