This tofu feta kale salad is fresh and light, yet packed with plant protein and good nutrition. It’s made with a tangy lemon hemp dressing and sun-dried tomatoes.
Sometimes I get reluctant to make kale salad when I’m in a rush. The thought of de-stemming, washing, drying, and chopping kale can be a little discouraging.
What I forget, however, is that kale salads make great leftovers. Unlike other types of salad, they’re often better after a day or two of storage. They don’t take on the wilted, sad texture that tends to befall mesclun or baby greens.
This means that kale salad is actually a great option for busy, tired weeks. It’s ideal for piping hot days of summer, when I want to spend as little time as possible cooking.
And this tofu feta kale salad is such a good one! It’s full of bright, tangy, lemony flavors. And even though it’s a lighter salad, it packs a lot of protein into each bite.
Kale salad can be prepared in many different ways. Most often, I like to “massage” raw kale with an olive oil based vinaigrette. The oil helps to soften and break the kale down, so that it becomes pleasant to eat in its raw state.
I use vinaigrette in my autumnal kale brussels sprout salad and my cauliflower pomegranate kale salad. I use a vinaigrette in my wintery, blood orange kale salad as well.
Of course, you can use other types of dressings for massaging your kale. I love tahini dressing on a kale salad, especially this version with mint. I’ve prepared kale salads with peanut butter based dressings, which works well. I love a kale Caesar.
Finally, avocado is a great source of fat for kale salad. Sometimes I just use avocado and lemon for my kale salad “dressing,” and sometimes I use avocado as well as olive oil.
For this tofu feta kale salad, I use a dressing that includes olive oil and shelled hemp seeds, which are a great source of protein and essential fatty acids.
In other words: you can use your favorite fat source (nut butter, tahini, oil, avocado, etc.) and acid source (lemon, vinegar, lime) in your kale salad experiments. No matter what, chop your kale finely, massage it thoroughly, and have fun preparing it!
Kale salad packs in all of the good nutrition that kale provides. Kale is one of the most nutrient dense vegetables—and nutrient dense foods—there is. It’s an excellent source of Vitamins A, K, and C. It provides calcium, fiber, and some plant-protein.
Additionally, kale is rich in phytonutrients, or chemical compounds, that may have a protective effect against chronic diseases.
This tofu feta kale salad provides all of these nutrients as well as plant protein. The protein is thanks mostly to the presence of tofu feta, one of my favorite homemade staples, in the salad.
Simply put, tofu feta is a plant-based spin on feta cheese. It’s made with marinated cubes of tofu, rather than dairy. While not identical to the “real thing” in terms of texture or flavor, it is similarly acidic and rich in umami.
Tofu feta is simple to make. You’ll simply cube tofu and give it a nice, long marinade with nutritional yeast, miso, lemon, salt, and water.
The trick to really great tofu feta is to marinate it for a good long time. Four hours will be enough if you’re in a rush, but if you have time to marinate the tofu overnight, that’s better.
For this tofu feta kale salad, I prefer a plain version of my herbed tofu feta. I simply omit the oregano to achieve this. If you’d prefer to leave the oregano in the tofu feta, that’s totally fine.
Aside from the tofu feta, this salad is relatively simple. You’ll need a bunch of curly kale and some sun-dried tomatoes.
You can use oil-packed or dry sun-dried tomatoes for the salad. If you’re using dry tomatoes, you may need to rehydrate them in warm water before adding them to the salad. Sun-dried tomato packaging will usually indicate whether this step is necessary for softening the tomatoes. Just take a peek at the labeling and follow instructions.
Finally, the tofu feta kale salad gets a boost of flavor from a lemony, slightly garlicky hemp dressing. Hemp seeds are nutritional powerhouses, and I love using them wherever I can—this nutritious salad included. If you don’t have shelled hemp seeds, you can substitute cashews or pine nuts.
This salad is ideal for meal prep and make-ahead cooking. The kale will only become more tender and flavorful as the leftovers sit!
You can store the tofu feta kale salad for up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge. This means that you can certainly prepare it a couple days in advance of serving it to friends, if you’d like to make it part of a summertime lunch.
Speaking of, I love to serve the tofu feta kale salad with pita wedges or some nice, crispy sourdough toast. It’s also nice with a toasted piece of multigrain bread and some smashed avocado.
If you like, you can make the salad even more satisfying and nutritious by adding a whole grain to it. I’ve experimented with folding in cooked farro, barley, and quinoa. They help to make the recipe more of a meal-sized salad, and they add nice, additional texture to the dish!
I can’t rightly end this post without mentioning how much I love the hemp dressing!
It’s similar to other dressings I’ve made, including my cashew lemon dressing and creamy hemp basil sauce. Still, one can never have enough dressings, right? I know I’ll be making this one again and again.
If you like, you can make the dressing oil free. I think a small amount of olive oil helps to give the massaged kale an ideal texture, but it’s not essential to the recipe.
No matter how you serve this summery, protein-rich tofu feta kale salad, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do.
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Such a good salad – even my husband finished his huge serving of it!
Thank you for the recipes
I am so glad you (and your husband) liked it!
This was so good! I added a cup of cooked quinoa to make it more of a full meal, and it turned out great. I would absolutely make this again, and I think I would add slivered almonds for a little crunch. I want to try tofu feta in a Greek salad next time!
I made this salad and it is absolutely amazing and restaurant quality — just as good as some I’ve had at L.A. vegan restaurants. There is the step of letting the tofu marinate overnight but the salad comes together pretty quickly. Don’t hesitate, make it!
This dressing is amazing!! Quick question, how long does it last in the fridge? Thank you!
Should last about 5-6 days!
Thank you! Btw: I just purchased your raw cookbook on amazon, so excited!!!
i am always a bit sceptical about recipes who try to emulate cheese.
maybe because i haven’t been a vegan long enough, maybe because i was a “picky cheese connaisseur” before i went vegan.
so, i tried this recipe and wasn’t expecting it to taste like feta, and it didn’t.
but it tasted great! not as a feta substitute, but in it’s own right!
maybe it’s more important to get accustomed to new tastes, instead of comparing them to formerly known ones?
i will definitely make this recipe again, and next time maybe try it fried or baked.
thanks for the inspiration!
Kales with green juices, very wonderful. kales are the most locally found greens so its very easy to prepare, if i add some recipes will be delicious. Thanks for the article
Thanks for thegreat receipe.
The lemon hemp dressing really seals the deal here! It ties all the ingredients together. Definitely a refreshing salad, makes eating raw even more fun and enjoyable!
Looks really delicious and that is saying something since I am not really into raw salads. I would like to give it a tweak by adding some bacon bits. I really love meat in my food and bacon looks like a healthy complement for kale.
Nutrition Club Canada
Thanks for the great recipe! David and I have really been enjoying it, and he said it’s his favorite salad dressing EVER. As luck would have it, the little packet of hemp seeds from VVC was the perfect amount for the dressing recipe. I’ve had to stop myself from just eating the tofu feta right out of the container and remember to save it for salads. This recipe arrived at the perfect time while I’m overflowing in kale from the CSA.
I’m so happy that you and David liked it! And “favorite salad dressing ever” is quite the superlative. How you continue to enjoy 🙂
Sorry, to take it back to basics, but I find Kale to be bitter, when raw. Do you ‘massage’ the kale to remove the bitterness?
I find it works well for green juices, as the bitterness is masked, and use it for a spinach substitute in my omelettes. But, raw just doesn’t work for me.
Is massaging all I’m missing here?
Hammo, it’s a great question. The massaging doesn’t entirely take away the bitterness, but it does transform the texture, making the kale more tender (and I do think it makes it a little less bitter). There is a LOT of flavor in this salad, and I think that helps offset any natural aversion one might have to raw kale taste. Hope this helps!
I just love kale. First I like make some chips out of it but I also use them for salads. Thank you for sharing your delicious recipe.
Just when I think I have exhausted different ways of making kale salad – you post this =) Yum!
Love love love that lemon hemp dressing! <3
Hi! Thanks so much for all that you do. You’ve helped me learn so much about the raw/vegan kitchen. I’m just wondering, I only have apple cider vinegar in the apartment (no red wine vinegar), should I hold off until I buy red wine vinegar or can I substitute?
You are so very welcome, Jackie!
Apple cider vinegar is fine for this recipe. Enjoy 🙂
Made the dressing, tossed with Red Russian Kale and topped with baked falafel for a delicious dinner last night. Yum!!!
I’m so glad it was a success!
I’ll have to try tofu again. I haven’t really touched tofu in a number of years (from a bad experience I think). Still, this looks yummy 🙂
Plus I love kale.
Yes, please! I haven’t had a kale salad in a few months, and now I’m wondering why. Love all the intense flavors!
Wow! This recipe sounds amazing! I too didn’t care for kale for the longest time and then when my mom started making kale salads I began to love it! I’ve never made one quite like this though. With tofu feta…so unique…sounds delish. Can’t wait to try it!
Kale and sun dried tomatoes are such a great combo! 🙂
Well…I know what I’m doing with the greens in my CSA this week! Kale or collards – they’re getting used towards this.
Also: thank you for always sharing what else you’d eat this with. Its not something you see a lot on blogs and I for one really truly appreciate it.
I’m glad that you notice and like it, Kait — it’s a big part of helping folks to translate recipes into meals!