Kale and Couscous Salad

Kale and couscous salad

Kale: From the Kitchen Garden to the Plate

I’ve always thought that a few kale plants in every backyard would go a long way toward solving world hunger. Kale is one of the easiest Brassicas to grow, and it grows prolifically. You can plant kale in the spring and, if you keep picking off leaves as they grow, the plant will continue to produce new leaves well into late fall and even winter. And it need not take up much room in the garden; I’ve learned that four plants are more than enough to keep two people in kale for months.

And see how pretty the curly blue kale leaves look in the garden:

Kale in the garden

Kale gained fame as a nutritional powerhouse a couple of years ago. While it may no longer be the It superfood (hello, seaweed), this cousin to the cabbage is packed with vitamins A and C and antioxidants like beta-carotene. Kale is rated higher than most vegetables in its ability to absorb free radicals that are linked to disease. Studies have found that eating kale may prevent some cancers and promote urinary health.

Eat kale cooked or raw, but if you are looking for the maximum nutritional benefit, raw is best. My recipe for Kale and Couscous Salad combines raw kale and other healthy ingredients in a delicious Medeterranean-style salad. The salad makes for a great packable lunch or meatless dinner.

Curly kale leaves

Kale and Couscous Salad: The Recipe

This recipe was inspired by a Mediterranean quinoa salad that my friend Heidi brought to a summer holiday potluck. My sister-in-law Jen gets credit for the idea to substitute kale for arugula. I swapped out the quinoa for couscous because I ran out of quinoa. And I added cucumber because I have them coming out of my ears in the garden.

For a successful kale salad, use the youngest, most tender leaves and chop them finely. Raw kale benefits from marinating for several minutes in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and salt before serving.

Chopped kale leaves


Kale and Couscous Salad

Yield: Makes four servings

Kale and Couscous Salad


  • 1-1/2 cups dry whole wheat couscous
  • 10 ounces kale leaves
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided use
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
  • 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
  • 1/3 cup roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 medium cucumber, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup thinly slivered fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (substitute 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme), crushed between your fingers


  1. Cook couscous according to the directions on the package. Cool completely.
  2. Thoroughly wash and drain kale. Remove thick stems and finely chop. Place in a large bowl.
  3. Combine 1/4 cup olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and garlic granules. Pour over chopped kale and toss thoroughly to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes.
  4. Add couscous, garbanzo beans, red peppers, kalamata olives, feta, cucumber and basil to bowl with kale.
  5. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with balsamic vinegar and Herbes de Provence in a small bowl. Pour over salad and toss to combine. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

This post was shared on the Home Matters Linky Party.

  • Bill

    Well, we have a lot of kale, so this is within our reach. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Deb!

    • I have been eating lots of kale these days, Bill. Last night we had kale tacos! I hope you enjoy the recipe, and thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Michelle Geis Retter

    Hey Deb. I love your blog. Saw the chickens and I’m definitely going to try the kale salad. We just planted sweet corn this year and I sure miss my fresh veggies.

    • Hi Michelle! Thanks for checking out the blog. I just got back from vacation and will be getting some new posts up soon.

  • Shauna Bowling

    Do you know I’ve never tried kale? I know it’s supposed to be a super food and all the TV chefs are using it in recipes, but for some reason, I’ve not tried it. Oh wait – I take that back. I bought a package of “power” greens the other day. It included baby kale, baby spinach, and baby Swiss chard. I made the most delicious salad with it. Very yummy. So yummy I made another one the next day!

    • Baby kale is definitely the way to go, but I just can’t eat it fast enough until it gets big. With mature kale, the lemon marinade is key. I hope you give my salad a try. It does make a great lunch. Thanks for reading and commenting.