Kale Power Salad with Spicy Almond Dressing

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 56 votes

This vegan kale power salad is so satisfying and loaded with flavour. Kale is topped with tender roasted sweet potatoes, crispy baked tofu bits, avocado, and red onion. A super creamy spicy almond dressing that you'll want to drizzle on everything finishes it off.

An overhead shot of a kale salad with creamy dressing on top, crispy bits of tofu, chunks of roasted sweet potato, slices of red onion, and cubes of avocado. The salad is in a white bowl.
An overhead, up close shot of a kale salad with creamy dressing on top, crispy bits of tofu, chunks of roasted sweet potato, slices of red onion, and cubes of avocado. The salad is in a white bowl.
An overhead shot of ingredients used in a vegan kale power salad, featuring sweet potatoes, tofu, and avocado among other ingredients.
An overhead shot of two bowls on a parchment lined baking sheet. In one bowl is cubed sweet potatoes and spices. In the other is crumbled firm tofu and spices.

I have been eating a version of this kale power salad on repeat for weeks now. Something about the tender sweet potatoes, the spice-crusted crispy bits of tofu, avocado, and red onion mingling with that spicy almond dressing. So many flavours and textures that are extra good when you get them all in one bite.

This looks like a ton of ingredients, but a lot of them are pantry items that I bet you already have on hand. We’re talking spices, nutritional yeast, arrowroot powder, cornmeal, Dijon mustard, maple syrup, olive oil, Tamari soy sauce, and white wine vinegar. A lot of my go-to’s! In terms of prep, we blend the dressing, roast the sweet potatoes and crispy baked tofu, massage the kale in some olive oil and lime juice, and then assemble.

The dressing is truly the real winner of this recipe though. It’s spicy, tangy, savoury, creamy, and so delicious. I make a double batch and use it on grain bowls, to finish tacos, drizzled over crispy air fried broccoli, as a dip for fresh veg, and all kinds of salads.

Some Tips for Making This Kale Power Salad:

  • You can substitute raw sunflower seeds or cashews for the almonds. 
  • I go up to about 1 tablespoon of hot sauce total in my dressing. I like the zing and the hot sauce that I typically use for things like this (Cholula) isn’t overly hot. 
  • If you’re using coconut aminos in place of the Tamari, I would double the amount to 2 teaspoons. 
  • You can substitute cornstarch for the arrowroot.
  • Use the biggest baking sheet you’ve got for the sweet potatoes and tofu. You want to give each piece as much space as you can!
  • You will find yourself wanting to put this dressing on everything. I double up on this one.

If you’re a fan of this salad, you’ll probably love my Sweet Potato Kale Salad, Chopped Apple, Kale & Parsnip Salad or my Vegan Kale Cobb Salad. You might also like this roundup of Sweet Potato Recipes.

An overhead shot of a hand using a spoon to stir up a creamy, light orange sauce in a grey bowl.
An overhead shot of crispy roasted tofu bits and cubes of sweet potato.
A hand is seen sprinkling crispy little bits of tofu over the top of a kale salad in a white bowl.
An overhead, up close shot of a kale salad with a hand using a spoon to drizzle a creamy dressing on top. The salad also features crispy bits of tofu, chunks of roasted sweet potato, slices of red onion, and cubes of avocado. The salad is in a white bowl.

Kale Power Salad with Spicy Almond Dressing

This vegan kale power salad is so satisfying and loaded with flavour. Kale is topped with tender roasted sweet potatoes, crispy baked tofu bits, avocado, red onion, and a super creamy spicy almond dressing that you'll want to drizzle on everything!
5 from 56 votes
An overhead shot of a kale salad with creamy dressing on top, crispy bits of tofu, chunks of roasted sweet potato, slices of red onion, and cubes of avocado. The salad is in a white bowl.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings 4 -6

Ingredients

Spicy Almond Dressing

  • ½ cup sliced almonds, soaked for 1 hour and drained
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon Tamari
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1-2 teaspoons hot sauce of choice, or to taste
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Kale Power Salad

  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 500 grams), peeled and diced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 350 gram block firm OR extra firm tofu, drained and torn into little pieces
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 2 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 6 cups chopped kale, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thin
  • ¼ cup toasted sliced almonds

Equipment

Notes

  • You can substitute raw sunflower seeds or cashews for the almonds. 
  • I go up to about 1 tablespoon of hot sauce total in my dressing. I like the zing and the hot sauce that I typically use for things like this (Cholula) isn’t overly hot. 
  • If you’re using coconut aminos in place of the Tamari, I would double the amount to 2 teaspoons. 
  • You can substitute cornstarch for the arrowroot.
  • Use the biggest baking sheet you’ve got for the sweet potatoes and tofu. You want to give each piece as much space as you can!

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Make the spicy almond dressing. In an upright blender, combine the almonds, garlic, nutritional yeast, water, olive oil, white wine vinegar, lime juice, Tamari, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Blend the mixture on high until smooth and creamy. If it's a little thick and pasty, just add a big splash of water and blend it again. Taste the dressing and check for seasoning, adjust if necessary, and set aside.
  • In a small bowl, make a little spice blend: stir together the nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and chili powder. Set out two medium bowls. Place the chopped sweet potatoes in one of the bowls and the tofu pieces in the other. Using a clean kitchen towel, really do your best to blot all moisture from the tofu.
  • Divide the spice blend evenly amongst the sweet potatoes and tofu. Drizzle both the sweet potatoes and the tofu with 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil. Season both with salt and pepper. To the tofu only, add the arrowroot and cornmeal. Toss the sweet potatoes until evenly coated. Then, using a spatula, toss the tofu bits until evenly coated.
  • Spread the sweet potatoes and tofu out on opposite sides of the baking sheet. Give each piece as much space as you can. Pop the baking sheet into the oven and roast for 35 minutes, stirring and flipping the pieces at the halfway point. At the end of the roasting, the sweet potatoes should be tender and the tofu bits should be crunchy on the outside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the kale, remaining tablespoon of olive oil, lime juice, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Use your hands to massage the kale until it’s slightly tenderized, about 1 minute.
  • Drizzle the top of the kale with some of the spicy almond dressing. Then top with roasted sweet potatoes, crispy spiced tofu bits, avocado, and red onion. Drizzle more of the dressing on top. Finish the salad with the toasted sliced almonds. Enjoy immediately.
A 3/4 angle shot of a kale salad with creamy dressing on top, crispy bits of tofu, chunks of roasted sweet potato, slices of red onion, and cubes of avocado. The salad is in a white bowl.
02/02/2022 (Last Updated 27/09/2023)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, gluten free, kale, main course, roasted, salad, salty, side dish, spicy, spring, summer, tofu, umami, vegan, winter

60 comments

Recipe Rating




  • Marg James

    5 stars
    I just made this using chickpeas instead of tofu which I roasted in the spice mixture and this salad was amazing! I am eating it while I am writing this and I just can’t stop eating it even though I was full a long time ago. Great healthy ingredients, great flavor profile with the spices and the dressing is so flavourful! This is a keeper recipe for sure. I am looking forward to checking out your other recipes!

  • Emily

    5 stars
    Yum! Made this tonight. Really tasty with a unique salad dressing! Does take a bit of time and effort.

  • Amy

    5 stars
    Delicious!!!

  • Ann

    “power” in the name of this salad has a double meaning…eating it both gives you energy, of course, but making it requires A LOT of time and effort. The hour it took to make this salad did indeed results in a tasting salad though. I used a big spoonful of tahini instead of soaked almonds for the salad dressing to save time and because that figured it would also be good (and it was). I also moved around the order of things to help with time…first put the sweet potatoes and tofu in the oven, then made the salad dressing, and then prepped the greens. Despite the large time investment, I thoroughly enjoyed this salad and will probably make it again. I also appreciated learning this particular technique of cooking tofu. That alone was worth the time because it is definitely something I’ll use again (with different spices, etc.). Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!

    • Laura Wright

      I really appreciate this feedback, Ann! Really glad that you enjoyed the salad as well. Thanks so much.
      -L

  • Sasha

    5 stars
    A truly incredible, hearty salad. I subbed the almonds for cashews and used Tobasco. I also replaced the avocado for salted roasted pumpkin seeds (just for fun!). Absolutely divine, thank you Laura!!

  • Michelle

    5 stars
    This is fabulous! I had given up on eating raw kale. I can eat kale cooked, but raw? Forget about it. And I’ve tried to have it in different ways in a salad even mixed with other leafy greens to tame their highly chlorophyll/bitter taste. With this recipe, I’m going to name Laura the kale whisperer . The sweetness of the roasted potatoes, and the flavor bomb that is that creamy slightly bright dressing balances out the kale. The one thing I changed is that I added yellow split peas to compensate for using less avocado bc I’m not a huge fan of avocado. Shocker, I know. The addition of yellow split peas w my less avocado kept the creaminess factor but I did lose a bit of fat bc of that it was fine. I feel like there’s enough healthy fats in the dressing and then adding crushed nuts in there helps too. Highly recommend!

  • Anna

    5 stars
    This was PHENOMENAL and, I admit, my first time ever cooking with tofu.

    I used Fontaine Santé extra firm tofu and blotted like crazy, but then my tofu “bits” turned out totally hard, like edible rocks. Did I mess it up? My bits were about 0.5-1 inch, maybe they were too big?

    It doesn’t really matter because this salad was still the absolute best, but as I will definitely make it again I would love to know the secret to crunchy tofu!

  • Sherryn

    5 stars
    One more comment: the recipe says to cut the sweet potato into 2″ pieces…That’s rather large :-) I diced mine into 1″ pieces.

  • Sandra

    5 stars
    This salad is simply amazing and is worth every step. I could eat this every day. I’m so glad I can make this myself because if I’d ordered it in a restaurant I’d spend all my money and live in fear that it would be removed from the menu.

  • Kristen

    5 stars
    This is on my monthly rotation and I cannot get enough. I honestly think this might be my favorite salad ever.

  • Nayanna Holley

    5 stars
    BOMB! BOMB! BOMB! Recipe slaps as usual. Perfect combo of flavors and textures! Thanks for always having the most delicious and reliable recipes. I’m not even vegan but I come here SO often for dinner ideas!

  • Kelsey

    5 stars
    I just made this and it was *amazing*! Just right as we’re transitioning into Fall. To the comments on how to streamline it: I used tahini instead of soaking and blending almonds, and I made the sauce and the roasting spice blend ahead of time, then roasted and assembled another day when I was ready to it. Made it pretty easy! 

  • Lindsey

    5 stars
    This salad is SO GOOD. I made this for a friend and I for dinner last week and they told me the next day that they were dreaming about this salad. The flavors are just excellent, and the crunchy cornmeal on the tofu is a technique that I will 100% use again! 1000/10, will be adding to my meal plan rotation.

  • Maya

    Delicious! I made this today and used ground flaxseed in place of the cornmeal. This was a lovely salad, which I’ll definitely make again.

  • Rachel

    5 stars
    Made this and it was amazing, especially the dressing! Will 100% make again!Also thank you for not posting the nutritional content and focusing on the joy and love of cooking and eating! :)

  • Kortneii MacKenzie

    5 stars
    Yass Laura this is so good! Yum! All the things are so good together!

  • Samantha

    5 stars
    I implore anyone who considers making this salad recipe to make it immediately! A total smash hit in our house and will be on heavy rotation. My fiancé loved the way the tofu crisped up and he has requested the coating of arrowroot + cornmeal for future tofu or soy curl recipes where we want to emulate that fried chicken feeling. The flavors as a whole are fantastic, we love spice so making the dressing with some extra oomph suited us well. Fabulous and hearty. Don’t miss this one!

  • Shelby

    5 stars
    I never thought that I would love a kale salad. Kale salads are good, I like how hearty they are for salad and how they can hold rich, creamy dressings, but I have never had my mind blown by a kale salad. Until I made this one! I have made this recipe four times now in the past month or so, which is also something I never really do. It is so satisfying, easy, and delicious! The spicy almond dressing is one of my favorite things I have tasted recently! Also, I love that that you dress and massage the kale with a more simple dressing and the spicy almost dressing gets a double drizzle! I’ve never dressed a salad in this way and it amplifies the flavor! Full disclosure: I have not made it with the tofu. I have followed everything else to a T, maybe added extra sweet potato, and it is so delicious. I just don’t ever have tofu on hand and I’m not sure it’s something I enjoy or want to eat, although the method described does sound unique and it’s probably delicious and probably adds a textural element. Anyway, thank you so much Laura! I love your blog and your cookbook! Your writing and recipes continue to inspire me!

  • Alex

    5 stars
    This was such a lovely salad. Love the texture the tofu gets with the cornmeal, and the spice mix is just so savory and delicious! Thanks for this recipe, Laura! 

  • Jennie

    5 stars
    This was delicious! You have such a way with flavor, the dressing had such a nice kick and blended really well, texture wise, with the crispy tofu and sweet potatoes. You are my favorite cooking blog, I love everything I’ve tried!

  • Penny

    5 stars
    This is DELICIOUS! I used Japanese sweet potatoes and Ancho chili powder. Was sooo good! 

  • Sara

    5 stars
    This was DELICIOUS!!  What an awesome entree salad.   Made exactly as-is.  Thank you!!

  • Kaitlan

    5 stars
    I usually HATE eating salads at home, and this salad just changed true game for me. SO GOOD. I didn’t want to purchase a bunch of kale (rising food prices) so subbed out with a power greens blend and it was just as tasty. Thanks for this goodness! More please

  • FLP

    5 stars
    This salad was everything I wanted it to be and more. A perfect winter salad for when you need something warming and comforting. 

  • Anna

    Do you think instead of tofu I could use chickpeas? If so, do you think it would be worth trying to toss them in the seasoning mix and cornmeal and then add them to roast or pan fry?

    • Laura

      Hi Anna,
      You could definitely do chickpeas instead, but I would skip the arrowroot and cornmeal and just coat them in the oil and spices. Make sure they’re nice and dry before doing so.
      -L

  • Anne

    You make the best meal salads. This one is no exception. That tofu!! <3

  • Shannon

    I made this tonight and it was absolutely incredible. Thank you Laura!!

  • Kate S

    I only have whole raw almonds…any advice on how much i should use?  Would 1/2 cup be too little?  Thank you!

    • Laura

      I would use a slightly heaped half cup and try soaking them for at least 2 hours.
      -L

  • Leah

    5 stars
    Made it exactly as written (except for adding cornmeal to the tofu because I was out) and it was fantastic. I will be making this again. Most of the ingredients were pantry staples so it was pretty simple. 

  • Debbie

    5 stars
    I made this last weekend and my meat-eating husband LOVED it (as did I!) He has already asked me to make it again next weekend!

  • Kathy Bresnahan

    5 stars
    Loved this!

  • Jules

    5 stars
    I want to make this daily! It was so delicious and flavourful. I had all the ingredients except for raw almonds, so I subbed 2 tbsp of almond butter in the sauce recipe. I think I could have probably used 3 or 4 tbsp, but it was still delicious (likely just much thinner than the original sauce recipe). I loved the tofu cooking method, too! Excited to copy that in other meals, as well. Thank you, Laura! 

    • Jennifer

      I was just wondering if almond butter could work in the dressing – this was helpful, thank you! Can’t wait to try the salad this weekend :)

  • Marena

    5 stars
    This salad is amazing! I added raw broccoli, chickpeas and a handful of romaine to the mix. Sooo good  

  • Thea

    This is such a flavourful and well rounded salad – love the balance of creaminess and body that make it and awesome winter salad (kale is mostly seasonally grown only in the winter months in Germany) – thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Sissel

    This recipe looks delicious! I have one question: the chili powder you use, is it pure chili or is it a chili spice mix?

    • Laura

      Hi Sissel,
      I used 100% ancho chili powder.
      -L

  • Ella K

    5 stars
    Absolutely incredible salad. I’ve never really found a salad recipe I’ve enjoyed so much before. It was the perfect balance of salt, acid, heat plus creamy, sweet, savory, crunch. Kale is no longer really in season here in Vermont so I used local red cabbage and homegrown mung bean sprouts instead. I massaged the cabbage while the sweets and tofu were roasting since it takes longer to break down the cell walls and have flavor be absorbed than kale. I really can’t get over how good this was, and a delightful way to eat the produce we have in storage mid winter (these days mostly roots and cabbage plus homegrown sprouts). Next time I’ll try subbing the almonds in the dressing for sunflower seeds, since we don’t typically have almonds around, but they were really good as both the dressing component and the toasted topping. Every recipe I’ve ever tried of yours has become a regular winner in our house. Thank you forever! 

  • Kathy

    5 stars
    Fantastic!! We enjoyed tonight and will keep this one in our rotation. Thank you for this awesome high nutrition high calcium salad!!

  • Sheila

    5 stars
    Made this salad for dinner tonight and it was a 10/10!  Loved all the textures and the dressing is a total flavour bomb, I made it with sunflower seeds and it was SO good!  The salad came together easily, will one hundred percent be on repeat!!!  Thanks for another brilliant recipe Laura!

  • Elaine

    5 stars
    This popped up in my email yesterday and I made it last night! Great recipe, I had not had tofu that way and loved the texture. I under-seasoned the tofu and potatoes a bit but that ended up working out because I put a Tbs of Tamari in the dressing instead of a tsp, oops! I would definitely make this again, thanks!

  • Lesley O’Neill

    5 stars
    This looks so tasty, Laura! Can’t wait to try! 

  • Carla @ Foodie Digital

    5 stars
    This was so great! It came together pretty quickly and was super delicious. My definition of a well-built salad!

  • Joanell

    Made this for dinner tonight and it was great.  I strongly second the suggestion of using FIRM tofu.  I had only medium firm on hand and it was rather gloppy after roasting.  Still tasty.  One could freeze the tofu and then use it after thawing… gives it a more dry and crumbly texture. Your website has become my go-to for most dinners!  Thank you!

    • Laura

      Hi Joanell,
      I love the freezing suggestion for this! The texture of frozen and thawed tofu is always preferable for me personally. I’m going to try that next time I make it, thank you!
      -L

  • Marylynn

    Another amazing salad option – your creativity never stops! thank you!

  • ME

    5 stars
    I personally prefer to NOT see the nutritional content. The ingredients are good and TASTE IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT, and this is delicious ! Thank you for your website❤️

  • Tracey

    Hi Laura: I appreciate the time and effort that goes into your posts and recipes. I’ve made several and will often sub for ingredients I have on hand or even change a cooking method depending on time required in the kitchen. My point is I don’t request the author “streamline” the recipe nor request  “nutritional content”. It may have been asked in a kind way but come on people, these are free recipes! If you’re counting macros or whatever then do the math yourself. I’d rather Laura come up with more great recipes than these mundane requests. 

     

  • Elizabeth

    Wow, this looks so good, I can’t wait to try it!  And I’m not even a person who typically gravitates towards salads.  So many textures and flavors that all sound so perfect together.  Thank you for sharing!

  • Terri

    Laura, I’d love to see a “streamlined” version of this recipe. It looks great but there are so many parts that I don’t think I’d get around to making it. 

    • Laura

      Hi Terri,
      I honestly don’t know how you could streamline this if you’re truly doing it from start to finish. The only strategy I can offer is to prep some of the components ahead of time when you have an extra 15 minutes or so. The spice blend for the tofu and sweet potatoes can be mixed up well ahead of time. The dressing can be made up to a week ahead of time and kept in the fridge. You could chop the kale in advance or even buy pre-chopped kale if that’s available to you. You could pre-crumble the tofu and store it in a container in your fridge so that it’s ready when you are. When I personally do my grocery shopping for the week, I often do these little steps when I get home if I have time (prep and chop the veg, make a sauce etc), and it does help our meals come together faster.
      -L

      • Sherryn

        Ha! I totally did this! Getting ready to make the sweet potato and tofu bake. I’ve actually been doing this with all this week’s line up and it’s been a game changer.

  • Caitríona O'Leary

    This looks absolutely delicious – I can’t wait to try it! Thank you!

  • Lisa A

    would be really helpful to have nutritional content on your recipes 

    • Laura

      Hi Lisa,
      Please see my comment to Deb on this. Though I appreciate your feedback, I will never post nutrition information here.
      -L

  • Deb

    Nutrition content?

    • Laura

      Hi Deb,
      Thanks for your comment. I never post nutrition content or calorie counts here. I cook and eat for pleasure first, and I try to maintain the spirit of that in all of my work! The site of a calorie amount/grams of carbs etc can also be troubling for folks recovering from eating disorders, which I try to be sensitive to.

      I do understand that some folks prefer to have this information, and for that there are a lot of free resources online like My Fitness Pal. With these, you simply input the ingredients yourself and the serving size, and it will give you a rough estimate.

      -L