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Tropical Kale Salad

You know kale salad is good for you, but did you know it can be truly delicious, too? Say hello to our tropical kale salad recipe! Finished with a creamy coconut curry dressing, it’s irresistible.


Tropical Kale Salad with coconut curry lime dressing, carrots, mango, mint, cilantro, and macadamia nuts

A Raw Kale Salad Recipe to Love (Yes, Love!)

It’s true that a lot of people eat kale salad because it’s healthy. Kale salad recipes are often vegan, usually raw, and kale itself is brimming with nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and magnesium. We love kale because it’s healthy, yes, but also because it’s delicious! This tropically-inspired kale salad recipe is wonderful for a few reasons:

  • Yes, it’s super healthy! Vegan, raw, Whole30—you name it, this salad checks the box!

  • Raw kale is a little bit tough, which is actually a good thing in certain circumstances! It means that you can dress your salad way ahead of time, and it’ll actually get better and better (instead of soggy, like many salads).

  • The dressing ROCKS. We took our beloved red curry paste and built a salad dressing around it! Made creamy with coconut milk and macadamia nuts, it’s totally vegan (as long as you buy one without shrimp in it), but still incredibly rich and flavorful.

macadamia nuts spilling out of a jar
curly kale on a counter

A Tropical Take On Classic Kale Salad

We had macadamia nuts on the brain when we dreamt up this sunshine-y riff on kale salad and so we gave the whole thing—dressing and the salad itself—a bit of a tropical accent. The result? One of the very best kale salads ever to emerge from our kitchen (and many, many kale salads have passed through our salad bowls). With just about every color in the rainbow represented, and flavors as bright and enchanting as a tropical sunset, this salad is so easy to love. Here’s everything you’ll need to make the lightly sweet kale salad of your tropical dreams:

  • Kale. Any kind will do! Lacinato kale (sometimes labeled “dinosaur kale” or “Tuscan kale”) seems to tenderize a bit more easily than curly kale, but either will do. Red Russian kale is the most tender of the three, but the least readily available.

  • Mango

  • Red cabbage

  • Fresh mint leaves

  • Fresh cilantro

  • Bell pepper, julienned

  • Carrots

  • Macadamia nuts

coconut curry lime dressing in a jar

Our Favorite Kale Salad Dressing Recipe of All

Fresh lime juice and mint keep this creamy kale salad dressing from being overly rich, while a good dollop of red curry paste gives it tons of complexity with basically zero effort. You all know that we pretty much only use the Mae Ploy brand of red curry paste, but feel free to use whatever brand you love best—flavors and spice-level can vary quite a bit from brand to brand, so it’s always good to play around a bit. To make this delicious (delicious on just about anything, BTW) dressing, just grab your blender and blend together:

  • Coconut milk

  • Red curry paste

  • Cilantro

  • Mint leaves

  • Macadamia nuts

  • Lime juice

  • Green onions

Tropical Kale Salad with coconut curry lime dressing, carrots, mango, mint, cilantro, and macadamia nuts
Tropical Kale Salad with coconut curry lime dressing, carrots, mango, mint, cilantro, and macadamia nuts

How to Make a Kale Salad

We’ve got a few key tips for making this particular tropical kale salad recipe, or for branching out on your own and making whatever kale salad you’d like to dream up! Nothing too complicated, but following these basic guidelines will help you nail it every time:

  1. Do use fresh kale—the best you can find! It’s the star of the show! Old, wilty, less-than-fresh kale will always disappoint.

  2. Take a minute to massage the kale! After you wash it and shop it, you’ll want to massage the dressing into the kale a bit with your hands—just 30 seconds or so will go a long way towards making the raw kale tender and pleasantly toothsome instead of tough.

  3. Don’t skimp on the dressing! For any kale salad, a really good dressing is the secret to winning over any kale salad skeptics. We happen to think this coconut curry dressing is about as good as it gets.

Tropical Kale Salad with coconut curry lime dressing, carrots, mango, mint, cilantro, and macadamia nuts

What Goes With Kale Salad?

As a light vegan meal, this salad could totally stand on its own! Sweet, juicy mango, crunchy macadamia nuts, cabbage and peppers—it’s a feast for the senses. And the creamy dressing makes the whole thing extra satisfying. However, you could pair it with any simple dinner you love—try pairing it with:

Tools You’ll Need

Tropical Kale Salad with coconut curry lime dressing, carrots, mango, mint, cilantro, and macadamia nuts

Easy, Healthy Kale Salad to Win Over Even The Pickiest Eaters

Adding a little sweetness to vegetables seems to make them a little more appealing to the veggie-averse, and who could say no to kale salad when it’s topped with gorgeous fresh mango and a creamy coconut dressing? If you try the recipe, let us know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Tropical Kale Salad

  • Serves: 4
  • Prep Time:  35 min
  • Cook Time:  0 min
  • Calories: 467


  • 4 cups kale, leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 large mango, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup red cabbage, shredded
  • 1 cup fresh salad sprouts, optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, julienned
  • 1 large carrot peeled, julienned
  • 1/4 cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 Tbsp black sesame seeds, optional

Coconut Curry Lime Dressing

  • 1 1/2 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp red curry paste
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, packed
  • 8-10 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup macadamia Nuts
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 green onions, roughly chopped


  1. Make the dressing: Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl toss the dressing with salad ingredients and enjoy!

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories467
  • Protein9 g
  • Carbohydrates28 g
  • Total Fat39 g
  • Dietary Fiber9 g
  • Cholesterol0 mg
  • sodium394 mg
  • Total Sugars15 g

Tropical Kale Salad

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Julia

    Do you use raw or roasted macadamia nuts? Which tastes better? Thank you!

    You can use either, we use raw.

  • Elizabeth

    I'm not a big fan of mango. Do you have any recommendations for alternative fruits?

    You can just leave it out if you don't care for it. We haven't personally replaced it with another fruit.

  • Rachel

    It’s good and healthy. If I make it again, I would double or even triple the red curry paste.

    Thanks Rachel! We are so happy you loved it!

  • Rose

    This was really good! I did think the dressing needed more salt and lime juice but otherwise perfect. I made it with the Thai chicken skewers from once upon a chef.

    Sounds amazing! So glad you liked it.