I'm sharing one of my favorite quick clean simple vegan dinners that I make for myself at least once a week. This vegan kale salad with roasted veggies takes only 5 minutes to prep and the roasted vegetables take 10 minutes in the air fryer. It's a very clean, colorful, dish and it's grain-free and dairy-free, made with only vegetables.
The reason I wanted to share this particular meal with you is that its part of my intuitive cooking digital course that I will be launching soon. This course will teach you how to properly build basic salads and vegan bowls, swap ingredients, mix textures and seasonings and eat for optimal health, wellness, and beauty. The goal of learning this skill is so that you can save time, energy, and money. One of the things people say to me quite often is "how did you just whip up that gourmet meal in seconds?" or "when I eat the dish at your house it tastes better than when I make it home!" I want to show you all my tips and tricks for making a boring bowl of raw vegetables taste gourmet and beautiful.
I will take you step by step here in this blog post on how to build a basic flavorful SUPER healthy salad with a combination of protein, fat, fiber, micronutrients, minerals, vitamins, water, and carbs.
Add freshly pressed juice and some green smoothies to this type of diet and you'll be losing weight and glowing in no time.
The ingredients in this salad are so basic. They are ingredients you should have on hand most of the time in your healthy superfood kitchen. Or be growing in your yard. The carrots, bell pepper, cilantro, and kale are all from my garden.
I wish the zucchini was from my garden but sadly, I planted 6 plants and none of them made it. I'm somewhat new to gardening so I'm learning as I go and making mistakes along the way.
- Red onion
- Red bell pepper
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
See recipe card for quantities.
Vegan Kale Salad Instructions
In this section, I will show you visually how to dress and layer your mixed textures - both raw and roasted vegetables and greens.
You will start off by slicing and chopping all the vegetables VERY thin. That's the key to this recipe. Everything needs to be similar widths. The onion, bell pepper, and carrots will be the only ingredients you air fry.
Notes: You can definitely roast these in the oven if you don't have an air fryer but for you to succeed at healthy intuitive cooking and meal prep you should definitely invest in a good air fryer with a dehydrator feature. They are only $100-400 max and I use mine almost every day maybe twice a day. I have the Ninja which was less than $100 and it works GREAT plus it's easy to clean.
Coat the veggies in a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt and pepper. Then air fry.
While they cook, start on the zucchini. Using the julienne Y peeler, you will make long strands of noodles with your zucchini - also known as "zoodles". I don't go all the way to the center of the zucchini, but you can if you want to be less waste full.
Layer the "noodles" on a plate. Sprinkle a tiny bit of olive oil. Coat and leave alone. Don't salt them. Add the cilantro.
Then you'll layer the walnuts. Use the raw ones, not roasted.
Next up In a separate bowl, you will want to massage chopped kale with olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice using your hands. Do not salt. Make sure you chop the kale very finely. Add the kale to the zucchini noodle bowl.
Finally, you will add the air fryer veggies to the raw vegan kale zucchini salad. These will be warm and that's great! This adds warmth and a toasted flavor to the raw ingredients.
Top with avocado and toasted sesame seeds. This is optional and you don't need it if you want to lower the fat content and calories. But this is dinner after all, so the calories are a good thing! Plus, I love the creaminess of the avocado.
Serving Suggestion: You can share this salad. Depending on your appetite and how much you ate all day and/or worked out, you might not want the whole thing. It can be a lot for one person and I had leftovers. The nutrition info is for 1 large salad, you can half it if you share the salad.
Before avocado, the salad has 441 calories, 32g fat, 31g carbs, 12g protein, 10g fiber, tons of calcium, iron, and potassium.
Substitutions & Variations
So depending on how much starch, protein, and fat you've had throughout the day, you can modify this basic vegan kale salad to fit your nutritional needs. Again, this isn't calculated it's intuitive. I only calculated the nutrition facts for you so you could see that a huge bowl of vegetables, no grains, or added "protein" is extremely healthy.
- Protein - feel free to add a protein if you feel like you're depleted or are craving the texture. Be sure it's clean and lean and you steam it or air fry it. Tofu or pumfu are great options. You can use vegan chicken strips or even fish or meat if you prefer. That's your choice.
- Grain - Brown rice, white rice, potatoes, sweet potato, black rice, farroh or quinoa would be a great way to turn this 1-2 serving recipe into a 3-4 serving dinner. Choose a sauce or just use oil and lemon to season the rice.
- Beans - I ate the leftovers today for lunch. I added lentils. I warmed them on the stove for 4 minutes, added a dash or salt and pepper. Then added the salad on top of those lentils.
- Vegetables - you can air fry whatever you have in the fridge for the roasted veggie option. Choose asparagus, white onion, cauliflower and broccoli if you'd like. But make sure you cut them into super small chunks if you are going to air fry with onion. Cooking times often vary and to keep it simple it's best to just use small slices and pieces.
Have fun with this but keep your substitutions clean.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes while cooking to imbue heat into the dish. Or even sliced jalapenos to the air fried veggies.
- Lemony - add lemon in place of half the olive oil. This will keep the calories and fat down and add an extra tang.
- Deluxe - add guacamole (as I did) or a fun sauce like tahini dressing or add smoked paprika, onion powder and garlic to this dish.
VEGAN KALE SALAD
- Air fryer (or oven)
- 1 cup Raw kale chopped
- ½ Zucchini julienned
- ⅓ cup Fresh cilantro
- 1 Red bell pepper Finely sliced
- ¼ Red onion Finely sliced
- ¼ -⅓ cup Raw Walnuts pieces
- ½ teaspoon Olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon Toasted sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon Sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon Cracked pepper
- ½ Lemon juiced
- ⅓ Avocado (optional)
- You will start off by slicing and chopping all the vegetables VERY thin. That's the key to this recipe. Everything needs to be similar widths.
- Set the sliced carrots, onion, and bell pepper in a bowl. Coat them in ½ teaspoon of olive oil and sea salt and pepper. Then air fry for 5 minutes at 375 degrees F. Toss. Put them back in the air fryer for another 4 minutes.
- While they cook, using the julienne Y peeler, you will make long strands or noodles with your zucchini. Set aside.
- Layer the zucchini "noodles" on a plate. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon olive oil. Coat and leave alone. Don't salt them. Add the cilantro. Then you'll layer the walnuts.
- In a separate bowl, you will want to massage chopped kale with toasted sesame oil and lemon juice using your hands. Do not salt. Add the kale to the zucchini noodle bowl.
- Next, add the air fried veggies to the raw vegan kale zucchini salad. These will be warm and that's great! This adds warm and a toasted flavor to the raw ingredients.
- Finally, garnish with avocado and toasted sesame seeds. This is optional and you don't need it if you want to lower the fat content and calories.
The air fryer is an important part of my quick mid-week intuitive cooking plan. It's low energy, all-electric, and doesn't require preheating.
Salting vegetables causes them to wilt and the water content leaks out of the food into the bowl or container. So if you think you won't eat this entire salad in one sitting, leave the salt off the portion you want to save. It should last 3 days like that. If you salt it, you can still have leftovers the next day but they won't last as long.