The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic (Vegan High-Protein)

This The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic is a delicious, high protein salad ready in 10 minutes or less. It’s packed with flavour, crunch and is so healthy.

This is my go-to salad that I have pretty much every day, give or take a few ingredients, so it’s about time I wrote down a recipe to share with you all here. I often share this one to my social media and they always get a lot of love.

A salad tossed together with two forks in a bowl with beans, cucumber and tomatoes
The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic

Here are the rules to the best salad:

  • Some greens
  • Some crunchy veggies
  • A fruit of some kind
  • A source of protein
  • Healthy carbohydrates
  • Fresh herbs
  • A creamy, tangy and delicious dressing
  • Some crunch on top
  • Something fermented on the side

As long as you follow the rules above, you’re going to have the best salad experience. This every day kale salad is my daily summer salad and for good reason.

Two forks in a bowl of The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic
The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic

Why will I love this?

This everyday salad is so good I actually eat this every day:

  • Fresh, zesty, wholesome and filling
  • Good for you and delicious
  • High in protein and fibre
  • Naturally vegan, gluten-free and nut-free
  • Great for a quick lunch for one
  • Easily doubled or tripled to feed friends and family
  • Great for lunchboxes and meal prep
  • Ready in 10 minutes or less
  • Highly versatile and good for using up any veggies you have
  • Vibrant and tasty
  • Has a creamy and “cheesy” balsamic dressing

If you already love the sound of this salad then skip ahead to the recipe card below. Or, let’s discuss the recipe in more detail.

What ingredients do I need?

I love all of the ingredients in this salad and remember you can play around with them. You can also see my favourites in the “shop the recipe” section below.

The base of this recipe is really versatile:

  • Kale and lettuce: I love using kale for the base of salads as it’s so good for you and is sturdy meaning the leaves won’t wilt easily. I also add some lettuce for crunch and freshness. Feel free to add in some spinach, watercress or other salad greens.
  • White beans or chickpeas: these are my favourite to use for salads especially the Bold Bean Co juicy cannellini beans, butterbeans or queen chickpeas. You can also use some cubed fried off tofu or lentils.
  • Sourdough bread: or your favourite bread. This salad is loosely based on a panzanella salad so it’s great for using up a slice of bread, toasting and chopping into croutons. You could also add some crackers or use up some cooked grains as the source of carbohydrates. You can also make your own Buckwheat Bread, Super Seedy Grain-Free Bread or Homemade Tortilla Chips.
  • Cucumber: use baby or regular cucumber and slice or chop small for freshness and crunch.
  • Tomatoes: any cherry or small tomatoes are great for this salad and especially in the summer when they are in season.
  • Radishes: the colour and crunch of radishes works so well in salads and you can also swap this for sliced or chopped carrot.
  • Fresh herbs: I love playing around with fresh herbs and at the moment we have lots of homegrown basil and mint. You can also use coriander, chive or parsley.
  • Sprouted beans: these are great for gut health and are a powerhouse of nutrition and you can find them in most supermarkets, but they’re not essential if you don’t have them.
  • Grapes or berries: I love adding grapes as they are so sweet and juicy and great in salads. I’ll often use blueberries or strawberries, when in season, or slice some orange, too.
  • Kimchi: adding some fermented foods to this salad is a great boost for gut health. You can also add some sauerkraut.
  • Nuts, seeds or roasted beans: I always use the Natures Heart Crunch snacks for my crunch on top and these are nut-free, high protein and packed with good-for-you ingredients and are baked not fried.

For the dressing:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil: the better the quality of your olive oil, the better the flavour of the dressing so use the best you have.
  • Balsamic glaze: this adds a lovely Mediterranean flavour and richness to the dressing. If you don’t have the sticky sweet balsamic glaze then use regular balsamic vinegar, but you may want to add 1 tsp maple syrup to add that sweetness.
  • Coconut yoghurt: this is the best ingredient for a creamy dressing (I don’t like mayonnaise so never use it in salads) and make sure it’s unsweetened, natural and as thick as possible. I use the Cocos Organic natural yoghurt here.
  • Lemon: use fresh lemon for the best flavour or lemon juice from a bottle for tang.
  • Dijon mustard: for a slightly head and rich flavour.
  • Nutritional yeast: this adds a rich umami flavour that isn’t quite cheesy but adds so much flavour.
  • Tajin or chilli lime seasoning: I am slightly obsessed with Tajin at the moment (which is a chilli lime seasoning) but this is optional and the dressing is still delicious without it.
  • Salt and pepper: for seasoning.

Is this gluten-free and nut-free?

Yes this is gluten-free (as long as your bread does not contain gluten) and it’s also nut-free (as long as you don’t add nuts on top).

Close up of a dressed salad with beans, grapes and cucumber
The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic

How do I make this?

This salad is so easy to make in less than 10 minutes (all the effort is in the chopping):

  • Toast the bread: and chop into cubes.
  • Chop and slice all the vegetables: into pieces.
  • Massage the kale with some olive oil and salt: to wilt the leaves.
  • Stir together all of the dressing ingredients: until smooth.
  • Add all of the ingredients to a bowl with the dressing: and toss well.
  • Top with the crunch and kimchi: and dive in.

How long will this last?

Once made, this is best eaten within a couple of hours as they croutons will soften, but if using another grain then it will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge in a sealed container. If you are using croutons, keep the rest of the salad together in the fridge and add the bread cubes before serving.

A salad bowl with two forks, bread, dressing and radish
The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic

What else can I make?

If you are looking for more fun and fresh salads:

A salad tossed together with two forks in a bowl with beans, cucumber and tomatoes

The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

This The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic is a delicious, high protein salad ready in 10 minutes or less. It’s packed with flavour, crunch and is so healthy.


For the Salad:

  • 1 slice sourdough (or other bread)
  • 100g white beans or chickpeas
  • 40g kale, de-stemmed
  • ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • A few lettuce leaves
  • 80g cucumber
  • 80g tomatoes
  • 3 radishes
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped herbs e.g. coriander, mint, basil
  • 1 tbsp sprouted beans, optional
  • 60g grapes or blueberries

To Serve:

  • 1 tbsp kimchi
  • 2 tbsp nuts, seeds or roasted beans

For the Dressing:

  • ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp balsamic glaze
  • 2 tbsp coconut yoghurt
  • ½ lemon, juiced (1 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Pinch tajin or chilli flakes, optional
  • Salt and pepper


  1. For the croutons: toast the bread and slice into cubes.
  2. For the kale: chop the kale roughly and add to a bowl with the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Massage with your hands to wilt the leaves.
  3. Prepare all the vegetables: roughly chop the lettuce, slice the cucumber into rounds, halve the tomatoes, thinly slice the radishes, chop the herbs and slice the grapes, if they are large.
  4. Make the dressing: add all the ingredients to a jar and whisk well or place a lid on and shake to mix.
  5. To prepare the salad: add all of the ingredients (apart from the kimchi and nut/seeds) to a large bowl with the dressing and toss well. Top with the kimchi and nuts/seeds and enjoy.
  6. Best eaten straight away as the croutons will turn softer over time. You can make the rest of the salad 2-3 days before, keeping it in the fridge in a sealed container and add the croutons before serving.

Shop the recipe

Stay in touch

I look forward to hearing what you think of this The Best Vegan Kale Salad with Balsamic so please let me know in the comments below and leave a star review. If you do make this, I’d love to see so please tag me in them, I’m @nourishing.amy on Instagram and use the hashtag #nourishingamy. I’m also on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest  – please say hello!

With kale salad love x

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