Sweet Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries and Poppy Seed Dressing

This sweet kale salad is a copycat of the popular bagged salad you find in grocery stores — but as always, homemade is way better!

Image of sweet kale salad topped with dried cranberries in a white bowl with black serving utensils.

Anyone else going through serious romaine and salad withdraws? I’ve started to see it slowly come back onto grocery store shelves, but I’m still a little nervous. I had no idea I could miss salad so much! 

One of the salads I often pick up from the store is the Sweet Kale Salad. You can find it at almost any grocery store, plus Costco. It’s really tasty and so great in a pinch! As an added bonus for our family, it’s nut-free. It’s crunchy and it’s great topped with chicken or as a side salad with almost any meal.

Sometimes if we’re having family over for a football game or something, I’ll just grab a bag of this salad to go along with carryout pizza. Everyone loves it and this girl is not above a bag of salad. 

This sweet kale salad is a copycat of the popular bagged salad you find in grocery stores -- but as always, homemade is way better!

However, I did want to create a copycat version and I’ll admit, it’s even better than the store-bought kind. It’s fresher and you know exactly what is going into it, which is always a bonus. Plus, even though this salad is romaine-free, it’s still not always east to find on the shelves. Being almost the only salad in the grocery store causes it to disappear pretty quickly! 

About this sweet kale salad:

The base of this sweet kale salad is kale (obviously), broccoli slaw, and thinly sliced or shaved Brussels sprouts. It’s crunchy and holds up really well to salad dressing (it arguably gets better as the dressing sits on it). That means it is great for meal prep and stays crunchy and fresh in the fridge for at least 2-3 days, even with dressing on it. 

This sweet kale salad is a copycat of the popular bagged salad you find in grocery stores -- but as always, homemade is way better!

I used a bag of broccoli slaw and I love the little flecks of orange and purple in there from the carrots and red cabbage. You could also thinly slice broccoli stems into matchstick size pieces, but I’m all about making things a little easier. 

I also thinly sliced Brussels sprouts. You could shred them very quickly in a food processor which I do for this Brussels sprouts salad, but most times when I make this salad, I don’t feel like hauling out my food processor. You could also use a mandoline to slice the Brussels sprouts, but pleassssse be careful not to cut yourself if you choose this method. 

This sweet kale salad is a copycat of the popular bagged salad you find in grocery stores -- but as always, homemade is way better!

Next up, the kale. I used curly kale, which is what you most commonly find in grocery stores. Lacinato kale would also be great for this salad. You’ll want to finely chop the kale so you don’t have any large, tough pieces. 

The dressing that comes with the sweet kale salad that you buy it in the store is a creamy, sweet poppyseed dressing. Sometimes I make my own using this homemade poppy seed dressing recipe that uses yogurt for a healthier option. You can also use a store-bought brand with less sugar and strange ingredients – I like Tessemae’s Honey Poppyseed Dressing (not sponsored!). 

This sweet kale salad is a copycat of the popular bagged salad you find in grocery stores -- but as always, homemade is way better!

Additional Delicious Toppings

This salad is great as is, but here are some additions I like:

  • Sliced Apples (my favorite addition for this salad)
  • Grated or Chunked Cheese – I like Parmesan, Pecorino, Asiago, or Feta on this salad
  • Grilled Chicken – a quick and easy way to turn this salad into a meal
  • Shredded Rotisserie Chicken – same as above
  • Garbanzo Beans (aka Chickpeas) are a great vegetarian way to add protein to this salad
  • Diced Avocado – Avocado is always a good idea
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