Kale Sweet Potato Salad

Kale, savory red onion, creamy avocado & caramely sweet potato deliver flavor and nutrition in this tasty Kale Sweet Potato Salad.

Kale Sweet Potato Salad

This salad was inspired by a healthy sweet potato salad that’s popular on the Greek island of Ikaria.  The small Aegean Island found fame in a 2008 book about regions with unusual longevity.  I guess I wouldn’t mind getting a few recipes from people who (disproportionately) live to be 100!  

While over the years, I’ve piled on additional toppings, it’s still a healthy and (now even more) flavorful salad.  

Yes, it’s not all about health, and the flavors of this salad really took me by surprise.  Pungent red onion, creamy avocado, honey-like sweet potato (plus a few more toppings) deliver a sophisticated flavor blend!  Yum!  

Kale Sweet Potato Salad

Why You’ll Love This!

Flavorful.  With a beautiful combination of sweet, savory, creamy and crunchy, this salad is a taste delight!

Nutritious. With heart-healthy olive oil along with vitamin and anti-oxidant rich kale and sweet potatoes, this salad delivers nutrition too!

Impressive. Layers of impressive sliced toppings, make this salad perfect for an event where you want to wow your guests.


What You’ll Need

Ingredient Notes

  • Sweet potato.  This adds flavor and nutrition.
  • Olive oil.  This is for roasting and for the salad dressing.
  • Vinegar.  This is for the salad dressing.
  • Honey.  Used in the salad dressing and complements the sweet potatoes.  You could sub maple syrup for a vegan version.
  • Onion powder. Balances the sweetness in the dressing.  You can also use dried minced onion.
  • Salt, pepper. These enhance flavor.
  • Avocado.  This adds a creamy goodness to the salad.
  • Pear.  The adds sweetness (and crunch if you use an Asian pear).
  • Onion.  This brings a savory note to the salad.
  • Kale.  This is the nutritious base for the salad.  You can use arugula if you prefer.
  • Pecans, cranberries.  These add flavor and texture.
  • Feta cheese. This adds flavor and nutrition. Use a vegan cheese for a vegan salad.

Special Tools

  • No special tools are needed!

Step by Step Directions

Toss sweet potato cubes with oil (or spray), salt and pepper. Roast.

roast sweet potatoes

Cut up toppings as needed.

cut toppings

Whisk together dressing ingredients.

whisk dressing

Toss kale with dressing, then layer toppings on top.

layer more toppings

How to Serve

Kale Sweet Potato Salad would be delicious as a side dish or first course.  And it can also work as a light main course salad.  To serve as an entrée, I’d add a crusty bread or maybe a muffin basket.  A cup of soup or a cheese plate would be another nice accompaniment. 

I like to serve this salad with a small dish of feta on the side, in case anyone wants to load up their salad. Then you’ll get even more protein and calcium.

The salad leans a bit toward formal, but not so much I wouldn’t serve it for a weeknight dinner.  But it is pretty enough to make an impression for a formal dinner or holiday brunch buffet.

Kale Sweet Potato Salad served with wine

Variations and Special Diets

Someday I’m going to try using purple sweet potatoes, which are loaded with the antioxidant anthocyanin. 

If you’re looking for a little additional protein, you can add some chickpeas or some leftover chicken or turkey. 

And for some other tasty kale salads, take a look at my:

Special Diets

This salad is already vegetarian. To make it vegan, you’d need to use maple syrup instead of honey in the dressing and substitute a vegan feta—or perhaps use chickpeas instead.  To go zero sugar, you could use a little bit of a sweetener like stevia instead of the honey in the dressing. 

Kale Sweet Potato Salad

Preparation and Leftovers

You may be able to prepare this salad ahead of time with two reservations.  First, don’t dress it until serving time.  And second, pre-dip your avocados and pears in lemon juice to keep them from browning–or cut them fresh and add at the end.  Asian pears don’t oxidize, so they won’t need to be dipped.

Once you’ve dressed this salad, it should be served within a couple hours since the dressing will start to soften the components.  Happily, kale is more resistant to wilting. than lettuce, so your leftovers might be okay the next day, but I haven’t tried it to confirm.  I have successfully kept other kale salads for a day or two, so if you try it, let me know.   

eating Kale Sweet Potato Salad

Tips & FAQs

Be sure to remove any thick stems from the kale and chop it finely to ensure that it’s tender.  I use a food processor and, despite being told it will destroy the kale, it doesn’t.

If you really don’t like kale, arugula is a great alternative in this salad. It has enough flavor to stand up to a flavor-packed combo like this. You don’t need to pre-chop the arugula.

My first choice is to cube and roast my sweet potato because I like the caramelization.  But if you have a pile of leftover roast sweet potatoes that are firm enough to cube, go ahead and cut up those.  Can anyone say “Thanksgiving leftovers?”

If you happen to be missing a topping or two that I include, you can still make the salad—just leave that off.  No salad police here.  And remember, the original started out with fewer toppings anyway!

Kale Sweet Potato Salad

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Kale Sweet Potato Salad

Kale Sweet Potato Salad

Kale, savory red onion, creamy avocado & caramely sweet potato deliver flavor and nutrition in this tasty Kale Sweet Potato Salad.
Author: Inger
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Salad
Servings 4
Calories 506 kcal


Roast sweet potato (see note):

  • 1 large sweet potato peeled and cubed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt, pepper


  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar or combo
  • 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder or dried minced onion
  • Salt, pepper to taste


  • 1 avocado peeled, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 large pear or 2 small, Asian or regular, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion halved and thinly sliced pole to pole
  • 5 ounce kale or arugula
  • ¼ cup pecan halves
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup crumbled Greek feta cheese or vegan alternative


  • Cut the sweet potato into ½ inch cubes, then toss with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast at 400 F stirring part way through. Cook until starting to turn golden, about 20 minutes. (Alternatively, boil or bake your sweet potatoes until tender, then cool partially and cut into cubes.)
  • To make dressing, dressing ingredients and whisk until emulsified.
  • In a large salad bowl (or individual serving bowls), toss the arugula with the dressing. Top with sweet potato cubes and other toppings. Serve immediately.


You can use leftover boiled or roasted sweet potato if it firm enough to cube.  Just peel and cube in that case.


Calories: 506kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 9gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 483mgPotassium: 689mgFiber: 9gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 11802IUVitamin C: 43mgCalcium: 311mgIron: 2mg
I am not a health professional and nutrition data is calculated programatically. Accuracy may vary with product selection, calculator accuracy, etc. Consult a professional for the best information.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Updated from an Oct 28, 2015 post

15 thoughts on “Kale Sweet Potato Salad

  1. Melissa M

    Great salad! Found this recipe as I was searching for something with sweet potatoes as I recently learned they help lower cholesterol. I think roasting versus boiling made them sweeter and the combination of the arugula, red onion, and feta was perfect! Nice simple dressing and had with half an english muffin with hummus. Next time will have with a nice crusty piece of garlic bread and of course red wine. Thanks very much for sharing! Will definitely add to the winter rotation of dishes.

  2. grace

    sweet potatoes are one of my favorite foods this time of year and this is a unique way to eat them! sophisticated indeed!

    1. Inger Post author

      I love breaking down that sweet/savory barrier too David! It’s amazing what can come of it!

    1. Inger Post author

      Would it make you feel better if I told you they were very mild red onions Tammy ;-)?

  3. Juliana

    Somehow I have never had sweet potato in salad…and yes, it looks and sounds delicious Inger.
    I hope you are having a great week 🙂

    1. Inger Post author

      I don’t know that I’ve specifically had sweet potato in a salad before either, though I’ve had a collection of roasted vegetables on top. It’s one way I get rid of things toward the end of winter!

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