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The Best Ever Grilled Chicken Kale Salad – THM S

This Grilled Chicken Kale Salad is a great way to introduce kale to people who think they don’t like it! The thinly chopped kale and flavorful dressing are delicious with any grilled meat.

I didn’t like kale.

So imagine my surprise when I tasted this salad at a friend’s house!

I had to eat it to be polite and almost fell off my chair that I liked it so much!

The Kale Salad from our local Fresh Chef restaurant is now one of my favorite choices. In fact, I order it every time I go…

I seriously crave this superfood salad so I decided to figure out how to make it at home.

After all, eating out gets pretty spendy!

But I *really* don’t like kale!

True confession: *I* did not like kale.

bowl of grilled chicken kale salad sprinkled with parmesan cheese

At all.

I’d only ever had it cooked and it was disgusting with a capital D!

When one of my friends raved about this salad, I was pretty skeptical.

I put on my big girl pants and gave it a try: after all, kale is so good for you.

Y’all? I was hooked after the first bite!

And I was shocked.

Ironically, this is the same friend who reintroduced me to Brussels Sprouts which led to this tasty recipe.

Who even am I?!

Twenty-year-old me would not believe I’d be scarfing down kale salad and Brussel sprouts like it’s my job when I turned fifty…

But this kale salad? It was a little garlicky and the kale gave it just the right amount of texture and bitterness. The dressing is also really bright thanks to the lemon juice.

I think the key to this recipe is how the kale is sliced so thin and then the dressing is massaged into the kale to make the leaves soft and flavorful.

overhead view of a bowl of kale salad topped with chicken

This kale salad recipe is an S meal if you follow the Trim Healthy Mama way of eating.

If you follow another low carb lifestyle simply omit the crushed croutons, or substitute crushed pork rinds.

If you eat gluten-free, you can either omit the crushed croutons or you can substitute gluten-free bread crumbs.

*Please note that gluten-free products often include ingredients that aren’t considered “on plan” for Trim Healthy Mama.

Even if you don’t like kale, I hope you’ll give this a try!

Who knows?

Maybe you’ll end up loving it as much as I do!

How to Make Grilled Chicken Kale Salad


  • fresh kale
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • lemon juice
  • garlic powder
  • mineral salt
  • black pepper
  • shredded Parmesan cheese
  • grilled or cooked chicken (or protein of your choice)
  • sprouted grain croutons or pork rinds (optional)

Tips for Making the Best Kale Salad

Prep the Kale

I like to buy whole kale because that’s the easiest way to remove all the stalks.

You can also buy bagged kale that’s been cut into smaller pieces. Just be sure to remove any stalks from your kale.

For a single serving recipe, you’ll need 4-6 large leaves of kale depending on their size.

stalk of kale on cutting board with stalk cut out with chef's knife

Next, stack the kale leaves on top of each other and then slice them into thin ribbons.

You want your slices to be about 1/4-inch wide or even thinner if you’re really good with a chef’s knife.

Kale chopped into thing strips on cutting board with chef's knife
chopped raw kale on a cutting board

Once your kale is all sliced, transfer it to a medium-sized mixing bowl. You should have about 3 cups of lightly packed kale strips.

overhead view of thinly sliced kale in a mixing bowl

Then add the shredded Parmesan cheese. You can use the kind from a can, but freshly shredded has more flavor.

large mixing bowl with sliced kale and shredded Parmesan cheese

Prepare the Sprouted Grain Croutons

The croutons are optional.

When AnnMarie and I order the salad out, we order it without the croutons. But, they really do add something special!

Make up a batch of Sprouted Grain Croutons and see how good they are!

If you follow a low carb or keto diet, you can use crushed pork rinds for the same crunchy effect.

If you’re gluten-free, you can substitute gluten-free bread, but that change may make the recipe “off-plan” for THM.

Chop up the croutons.

You’ll be using 2 Tbsp for this recipe. Set these aside when you’re done: we’ll add them after the dressing.

You can save the rest in an air-tight container in your pantry for up to one week.

slice of grilled toast chopped into small crumbs with a knife

The Best Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette Dressing

To make the dressing, add the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, mineral salt, and black pepper to a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk it together until blended.

mixing bowl of salad dressing ingredients

How to Assemble Grilled Chicken Kale Salad

Pour the dressing over your kale and Parmesan cheese mixture.

salad dressing being poured onto bowl full of kale and parmesan cheese

This next step is important!

Mix the salad dressing into the kale REALLY REALLY well!

Sort of mash the dressing into the leaves with the back of a fork or spoon.

This tenderizes the kale so the flavors blend into the leaves.

overhead shot of kale salad with croutons added

Add the croutons and toss well.

overhead shot of kale salad in mixing bowl

You can add the grilled chicken on top and eat straight from the mixing bowl, or transfer to a salad bowl.

bowl of grilled chicken kale salad sprinkled with parmesan cheese

The vibrant green of the kale makes this a really pretty salad to serve at a brunch or luncheon.

And the flavor improves overnight so you can make it ahead up to the step of adding the dressing and refrigerate it beforehand.

Just wait to add the croutons and chicken until just before serving time.

bowl of grilled chicken kale salad sprinkled with parmesan cheese with wood salad tongs

After you give it a try, please be sure to leave a star rating in the comments to help other people find the recipe! Have I converted you to liking kale this way too?

overhead view of a bowl of kale salad topped with chicken

Grilled Chicken Kale Salad - THM S

Yield: 1 - 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

The ribbons of kale combined with a fresh, garlicky dressing and Parmesan cheese are perfect as a side salad or an entire meal.


  • 3 cups fresh kale, stems removed and sliced in thin ribbons
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp grilled sprouted grain bread crumbs, omit for keto or gluten-free diets
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 ounces grilled skinless, boneless chicken, can substitute steak, grilled shrimp, or grilled salmon


  1. Remove stems from kale then slice into thin, 1/4-inch wide ribbons. Place in a medium bowl and toss with Parmesan cheese. Add the bread crumbs and toss into kale mixture.
  2. In a small container, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, mineral salt, pepper and garlic powder until well blended. Pour over kale mixture and mix well either with a spoon or massage the dressing in with your hands, slightly crushing the kale to soften it.
  3. Top with grilled chicken and serve!


If you follow a keto lifestyle simply omit the crushed croutons or use pork panko when you make this recipe.

If you eat gluten-free, you can either omit the crushed croutons or you can substitute gluten-free bread crumbs. Please note that gluten-free products often include ingredients that aren't considered "on plan" for Trim Healthy Mama.

Nutritional Disclosure

Nutrition Information
Yield 1 Serving Size 1 grams
Amount Per Serving Calories 672Total Fat 41gSaturated Fat 9gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 113mgSodium 886mgCarbohydrates 26gFiber 9gSugar 1gProtein 55g

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