Warm Kale Salad – with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Caramelized onions and sautéed mushrooms make everything better. This warm kale salad is no exception! Add chickpeas or beans for extra protein.
Kale salad with caramelized onions and mushrooms in a white bowl with silver tongs.

I know it’s hard to believe that a salad could be comforting, but there’s something about this warm kale salad that makes me crave it even on the coldest days. Learning how to caramelize onions is one of the easiest cooking tricks you can use to instantly add layers of flavors to soups, salads and stews, and it’s one of the component that makes this salad so good.

The browned onions and mushrooms are finished off with garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper and a splash of balsamic vinegar, then tossed with the kale. The warm veggies lightly wilt the kale leaves, leaving you with a plate of healthy ingredients, all masked in sumptuous flavors.

How to dress kale salad:

This vegan warm kale salad doesn’t have a dressing per se, but the warm, sautéed balsamic mushrooms and caramelized onions coat the kale leaves and wilt the salad perfectly. No oil needed. No cream needed.

That being said, a more traditional dressing can be a great way to go. Since kale leaves are so hardy, they can take on almost any type of dressing. Some of my favorites are:

Caramelized onions and sliced mushrooms in a nonstick skillet.

Should I massage the kale leaves?

Typically I massage kale leaves under warm water to tenderize them before incorporating into a salad, but the warmed vegetables do the job of the water in this circumstance.

Stir in the warm vegetables right before serving the salad so that the greens don’t become too wilted.

How to serve this as a dinner salad:

For a meatless dinner salad, add some canned beans, such a cannellini (white kidney) beans or chickpeas.

Alternatively, shredded chicken (see How to poach chicken), grilled shrimp or baked salmon (break it into chunks). Cheese, such as feta or goat cheese, would pair well with the onions and mushrooms, and become beautifully soft and melty from the heat of the cooked veggies.

Add a scoop or two of a cooked whole grain to increase the fiber. Brown rice, quinoa (keep frozen quinoa on hand for quick meals) or farro are some of my favorites.

Kale salad with caramelized onions and mushrooms in a white bowl with silver tongs.

Other kale recipes:

Kale, Mushroom & Goat Cheese Quesadillas {Cookin’ Canuck}
Vegan Potato Soup with Beans & Kale {Cookin’ Canuck}
Sauteed Kale with Cider Vinegar {Healthy Seasonal Recipes}
Soothing Chicken & Kale Soup {Killing Thyme}

Kale salad with caramelized onions and mushrooms in a white bowl with silver tongs.

Warm Kale Salad with Caramelized Onions & Mushrooms

Warm Kale Salad with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms…Serve this up as a healthy side dish or double up for an entrée serving. 102 calories and 2 Weight Watchers Freestyle SP


Course: Salads

Cuisine: American

Keyword: Clean Eating, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Servings: 4 Servings

Calories: 102.2kcal


  • Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are starting to brown, about 15 minutes.

  • Add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender and the onions are light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute.

  • Place the kale in a serving bowl. Add the onion and mushroom mixture, and toss to combine. Serve immediately.


Weight Watchers Points: 2 (Freestyle SmartPoints), 2 (SmartPoints), 3 (Points+), 2 (Old Points)


Serving: 1.25Cups | Calories: 102.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 12.2g | Protein: 4.6g | Fat: 5.5g | Saturated Fat: 0.8g | Sodium: 179.7mg | Fiber: 3.9g | Sugar: 3.9g

Tried this recipe?If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it on Instagram! Just use the hashtag #COOKINCANUCK and I’ll be sure to find it.

This post was first published on February 8, 2017 and updated on August 25, 2020.

Disclosure: This post contains links to my Amazon affiliate page. Any revenue made from sales through these links helps to support this blog. Thank you!


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