Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad

$6.19 recipe / $1.55 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.95 from 20 votes
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If you think a salad can’t fill you up, think again. This awesomely crunchy and flavorful Kale and Chicken Salad is chock full of juicy chicken breast, almonds, celery, and lots of fiberlicious kale to keep your belly full. And flavor? Oh don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the flavor. A tangy, sweet, and creamy honey Dijon dressing drenches the salad in tons of flavor. Throw a few sweet golden raisins on top for a pop of sweetness and you’ve got salad magic. And the best part? All of these ingredients hold up well to refrigeration, so this salad is perfect for your weekly meal prep. 🙌

Dressing being poured over a kale and chicken salad If you love regular chicken salad, I think you’ll love this kale and chicken salad as well. It has all the same flavors as traditional chicken salad, but the ingredients are piled onto a bed of greens and the dressing is made slightly thinner so that it’s pourable instead of acting like a thick binder. And just as with regular chicken salad, there is a lot of room for customization here, so keep reading for some ideas.

Can I Use Different Greens?

Sure! If you’re not into kale, you can swap it out with your favorite greens. I think a crunchy green like Romaine or finely shredded cabbage would probably be best, but you could use any green that you like to use for fresh salads.

What Kind of Chicken to Use

I used plain chicken breast that I cooked quickly in a skillet and then diced, but you can take a shortcut and use store-bought rotisserie chicken instead. You’ll need about 1.5 cups of chopped cooked chicken for this recipe. 

Raisin Substitutes

I love the mildly sweet golden raisins in this recipe, but you could swap them out with dried cranberries, chopped apples for more crunch, or even fresh grapes (sliced). 

Dressing Options

If you don’t want to make your own homemade dressing for this salad, a store-bought honey mustard or poppyseed dressing would be awesome with the flavors in this salad.

How to Meal Prep Kale and Chicken Salad

The sturdy, crunchy nature of the ingredients in this salad means that it holds up extremely well to refrigeration without much effort. I would store the dressing on the side just to maintain maximum crunch-factor, but other than that, all of the ingredients can be stored together in single-serving containers. The prepped salads will stay good in the fridge for about 3-4 days. Side view of dressing being poured onto kale and chicken salad

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Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad

4.95 from 20 votes
This Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad is full of flavor, texture, and a tangy-sweet homemade dressing. It's perfect for your weekly meal prep!
dressing being poured over kale and chicken salad
Servings 4
Prep 15 minutes
Total 15 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1.5 cups chopped cooked chicken ($4.33)
  • 6 cups chopped kale ($1.25)
  • 1 cup chopped celery ($0.37)
  • 1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds ($0.79)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins ($0.47)

Dressing

Instructions 

  • Chop the cooked chicken into small, bite-sized pieces. Clean the celery and chop into similar small bite-sized pieces.
  • Remove the kale from the stems, tear it into 1-2 inch pieces, rinse well in a colander, and drain well.
  • To make the dressing, whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, honey, Dijon, salt, and pepper.
  • To build the salad, start with a base of kale, top with the chopped chicken and celery, almonds, and raisins. Drizzle the dressing over top, toss until everything is coated, then enjoy.

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Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 446kcalCarbohydrates: 28gProtein: 23gFat: 28gSodium: 444mgFiber: 2g
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Love kale salads? Try these other awesome kale salads:
Tossed kale and chicken salad in a bowl next to the serving platter full of kale salad

How to Make Crunchy Kale and Chicken Salad – Step by Step Photos

Cooked chicken breast in the skillet

You can us any pre-cooked chicken for this recipe and you’ll need about 1.5 cups once chopped. I used one chicken breast (⅔ lb. total) that I filleted into two thinner pieces so that it would cook quickly in a skillet. Once browned on the outside and cooked through, I simply let it cool for 5-10 minutes and then chopped it into small pieces.

Salad dressing ingredients in a bowl

While my chicken was cooling, I made the dressing. This dressing is very similar to a dressing you’d use for chicken salad, but it’s a little bit thinner so it’s pourable and will easily coat all of the kale. In a bowl, whisk together ½ cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1.5 Tbsp honey, ½ Tbsp Dijon mustard, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper. Set the dressing aside.

Washed kale in a colander

Next, prep the kale. I used bagged kale that comes pre-chopped because it’s super convenient and just about the same price as bunched kale. If your kale is still on the stem, simply pull it off the stem and tear it into 1-2 inch pieces. Rinse it in a colander and then let it drain well. Watery salad is never good. I used ½ of a one-pound bag, or about 6 cups of chopped leaves.

Chopped celery on a cutting board

Next, dice two ribs of celery, or about 1 cup once chopped.

chopped chicken on a cutting board

Chop the cooked chicken to similar sized pieces (about 1.5 cups chopped).

Kale salad topped with chicken and celery

Then just build your salad(s)! You can either build one large salad or build it as four smaller single-serving portions. Start with your bed of chopped kale, then add the chopped chicken and celery…

raisins and almonds added to the salad

Then add ⅓ cup almonds (sliced or slivered) and ⅓ cup golden raisins.

dressing being poured over kale and chicken salad

Pour your dressing over top just before serving.

tossed kale salad in a bowl next to the serving platter

Toss to coat everything in dressing and enjoy! (I added a little extra cracked black pepper on top because I love pepper!)

Check out these other great summer salads

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  1. This is one of my favorites! I’ve made it three or four times now. With this recipe, I’m actually *excited* to eat a big bowl of kale. Perfect mix of tangy and sweet flavors, with some satisfying crunch.

  2. I made this salad yesterday and loved it! I don’t usually eat kale much but I realized I needed to branch out (heh) with more leafy greens, so I took a chance and BudgetBytes came through. I made both salad & dressing according to the recipe and felt it was delicious as is, though today I added some leftover shredded Parmesan that I think rounded it out with some salty/savory flavor. I’m definitely adding this one to the meal prep rotation.

  3. Really tasty salad and very easy to make! The dressing oddly kind of reminded me of a deviled egg, and that’s not a bad thing haha.

  4. I made this exactly as outlined for my family and it was so good that I scrapped my plans for a dinner party the next night and made it again. Everyone loved it! The dressing is unlike others I have had. The second night I just dressed the greens, apples, and raisins and then added the chicken and almonds on top which I think made their flavors stand out a bit more. I will definitely keep this one in the summer salad rotation!

    1. Of course! I was trying to think of a substitute for celery — and apples fits the bill! Thank you! We’ve been working more kale into our diets and I love the versatility of this recipe. Perfect!

  5. I’ve made this several times and it is always a big hit. This is a remarkably satisfying salad; I’m commenting again because I added a can of drained cannellini beans and it was a very nice addition.