This emerald kale salad with peanut vinaigrette is a copycat of the Houston’s emerald kale salad! It’s so crunchy and flavorful, savory and nutty. It’s addictive and a fantastic base for chicken, steak, shrimp or beans.

This salad is about to change your life! Not being dramatic at all.

crunchy emerald kale salad with peanut vinaigrette

I hate to be cliche and share a salad as the first recipe of 2022, but OH MY GOSH is this one fantastic.

And while it certainly can be a meal, it’s more of an accompaniment to any meal. Or a really good lunch.

Like one that you can’t stop thinking about. I swear.

kale, cabbage, herbs, green onions

This recipe is a version of the Hillstone Emerald Kale Salad. Lacy had it this summer and raved about it over and over again – the way she described it practically made my mouth water. Shredded kale and cabbage that has tons of texture. All coated in the most delicious peanut dressing, with some herbs and green onions, tons of crunchy peanuts and parmesan cheese. Sounds like savory city. 

The salad is SO crunchy. So savory. So crisp and fresh and hearty. The flavor is absolutely amazing and one I crave so often, it’s unbelievable. 

making roasted peanut dressing

Here’s what we’re working with:

The shredded kale and green cabbage. I like to use savoy or napa cabbage. They are my favorite variety. Either crunchy green or tuscan kale works too.

Fresh herbs and green onions. Some cilantro – a good handful of it. You can toss in some parsley and mint too if you have it.

Parmesan cheese. The good cheese, of course! Freshly, finely grated.

Roasted, salted peanuts, all chopped up for extra crunch. Ooooh these are so good.

And a peanut dressing that will make your taste buds explode. It’s true. Lime spritz and all. 

pouring dressing on salad

This dressing!! I have no words.

Now it does require a specific ingredient, which is kind of a pain. However the dressing is SO good that it’s imperative to keep the ingredient on hand so you can make it all the time.

It’s a roasted peanut dressing. Originally, I thought I would just use regular peanut oil, which is totally doable. But then after researching a bit, I discovered this roasted peanut oil

Holy cow, it is a game changer. 

crunchy emerald kale salad with peanut vinaigrette

I found mine on amazon, but my local grocery store carries this brand so some stores may have it too. I also bought the roasted almond oil too! (side note: this is also the brand that makes my favorite olive oil spray that you guys always ask about over on instagram!). 

Whether you go for the roasted peanut oil or use regular peanut oil, the peanut flavor is KEY. It makes this salad so incredibly savory and nutty – almost buttery. This is definitely my new favorite dressing and one I can find myself using constantly in 2022! 

I finish the entire thing off with a spritz of lime because it brightens everything up and really makes the flavor POP.

crunchy emerald kale salad with peanut vinaigrette

This salad usually comes with chicken but I left it off because I love to use it as a base or side salad. It works SO well as a side to almost anything. It’s a crunchy salad meets slaw – because the kale and cabbage are shredded, you could even use it as a topping. 

If you want to add chicken or shrimp or even chickpeas, you totally can. Steak works too! A rotisserie chicken or can of beans would be the easiest thing ever. The base flavor is so incredible that the meat you add only needs a simple seasoning. If you really want to take things over the top, add some popcorn chicken and it’s the best salad. 

Another thing I love is that the kale and cabbage are sturdy enough to hold up awhile in the fridge. I still prefer them freshly tossed in the dressing, but if you end up with leftovers, they will be pretty darn good the next day.

Oh and P.S. serve with fries on the side, of course!

crunchy emerald kale salad with peanut vinaigrette

Emerald Kale Salad with Peanut Vinaigrette

Crunchy Emerald Kale Salad with Peanut Vinaigrette

This emerald kale salad with peanut vinaigrette is a copycat of the Houston's emerald kale salad! It's so crunchy and flavorful, savory and nutty. It's addictive and a fantastic base for chicken, steak, shrimp or beans.
4.99 from 80 votes
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kale salad

  • 6 cups shredded green kale (tuscan or curly both work)
  • 4 cups shredded green cabbage (I like napa or savoy the best)
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
  • lime wedges, for spritzing

peanut vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • cup roasted peanut oil


  • Combine the shredded kale and cabbage in a large bowl. Drizzle on ¼ cup of the peanut vinaigrette and use your (clean!) hands to massage the dressing into the kale and cabbage, doing so for a minute or 2. Let the kale sit for 5 minutes.
  • After it sits, toss in the green onions, cilantro and parmesan. Toss well. Add in the peanuts. Drizzle on more dressing if needed. Serve and spritz with fresh lime right before eating.

peanut vinaigrette

  • Whisk together the vinegar, lime juice, dijon and honey with a pinch of salt and pepper. Whisk in a pinch of pepper flakes. Slowly stream in the roasted peanut oil while whisking constantly. This stores great in the fridge for a few days, just shake/mix well before using.


slightly adapted from food network

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crunchy emerald kale salad with peanut vinaigrette