Jalapeño Dijon Kale Salad

Tangy, sweet, a little kick, and tons of delicious textures make up this Jalapeño Dijon Kale Salad. Afraid of kale salads? Don’t be! Kale can be tough and dry if left alone, but I’ll show you an easy trick to make it just as great as your other favorite greens.

A few simple ingredients and you have yourself a tasty lunch or side. I use manchego cheese, thinly sliced apples, and toasted pine nuts in this salad. Crispy, crunchy, nutty, and creamy. Manchego is a sheeps milk cheese and has a buttery smooth mouth feel, with a slight nutty flavor. You should be able to find it at most grocery stores in the specialty cheese section. Romano or Parmesan would be great substitutes.

The Dressing

Homemade vinaigrettes are so easy! Fresh flavors, and come together quick. Similar to my last post, this vinaigrette can be used as a tasty marinade for your favorite meats. It’s tangy from the Dijon, sweet from the honey, zippy from the lime zest and juice, and has a slight kick from the minced jalapeño. You can really control the heat by either using or leaving out the seeds and membrane of the jalapeño pepper.

So how do you make kale soft and easy to eat? Massage it with a teeny tiny bit of olive oil! I remove the center stems of the kale, using only the leafy parts, and cut my kale into thin ribbons. This makes it easy to eat, and more uniform in size to the other salad ingredients. Once the kale is thinly sliced, rub a small amount of olive oil on one hand, and gently massage it into the kale for about 1-2 minutes. This really softens the kale, and makes it easier to consume.

This Jalapeño Dijon Kale Salad makes a simple lunch, or side salad. Add grilled or rotisserie chicken to make it a meal! Hot tip: marinate some chicken in a portion of the dressing, grill, slice and serve on the salad! YUM!

Fresh, light, and delicious! Hope you enjoy this Jalapeño Dijon Kale Salad as much as I do. Try these other new salad options:

Italian Chopped Salad Flatbread

Avocado Ranch Wedge Salad

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Jalapeño Dijon Kale Salad

A sweet and tangy jalapeno honey Dijon dressing over shredded kale with pine nuts, apples, and creamy manchego cheese.

Course Main Course, Salad, Side Dish
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 2
Author Laura Doerr


For the dressing

  • 1 tbsp Dijon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper minced

For the salad

  • 3 cups packed kale stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 1/8 tsp olive oil for massaging kale
  • 1/2 cup Manchego cheese shredded
  • 1 apple sliced into matchsticks
  • 2 oz toasted pine nuts


For the dressing

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the Dijon and honey. Whisk in the lime juice and zest, followed by the salt and pepper. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking continuously until fully emulsified. Whisk in the minced jalapeno.

For the salad

  1. Add shredded kale into a medium bowl. Put the 1/8 tsp of olive oil onto the palm of one of your hands. Using that hand massage the kale for about 1 minute. This softens up the kale, making it less coarse.

  2. Add in the shredded Manchego, apple, and toasted pine nuts. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing, and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

This dressing makes more than you would need for two salads, it will keep in the fridge for about a week. It also doubles as a great marinade! 

Toast your pine nuts for optimal flavor, I like to sprinkle with a little salt after I remove from heat. Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over med heat until golden and fragrant. 

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