Copycat Sweet Kale Salad Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

Copycat Sweet Kale Salad Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing by Paleo Parents

If you’ve been following along on our meal plans, you’ve probably noticed that we usually serve Costco’s Sweet Kale Salad at least once a week. We love that it’s hearty, it’s affordable, there’s almost always leftovers, and most importantly: our boys love it. Specifically, Finian, known to many a podcast listeners as the boy who “only ate salads to get tall enough for roller-coasters” will shovel multiple plates of this salad into that pie hole when we serve it.

After posting this picture on Instagram of me enjoying the salad, I was asked for the recipe we use to replicate the dressing that comes in the package, which isn’t actually paleo (although seriously folks, if you’re eating salad and that dressing is the worst thing you have going on in your life – I’m certainly not judging).

The key to this creamy, sweet recipe recreation are two surprising ingredients: mayonnaise and white balsamic vinegar. While you could use the recipe in any of our cookbooks to make your own mayo, we used Chosen Foods brand* because we find the avocado oil and other ingredients to be the most mild of any paleo-friendly mayonnaise’s we’ve tried. Feel free to use whatever brand or recipe you prefer.

Ah Love Oil White Balsamic on Paleo ParentsMy favorite store and specific selection: Ah Love Oil’s Apricot (White) Balsamic

The white balsamic vinegar is something you will probably have to especially buy for this recipe, and for that I do sincerely apologize. We try to keep our recipes and ingredients as simple as possible on the site, but this ingredient is absolutely key. It is what creates the “sweet” flavor of the Sweet Kale Salad. However, it does so without the sugars and other ingredients found in the traditional dressing. I highly recommend seeking out as high a quality white balsamic for this as you can, it will make or break this recipe! A lower-grade balsamic will probably require a bit more mayonnaise and honey to both provide the sweetness and thickness the higher quality balsamic will have. I feel like Ina Garten telling you this; please accept this buzzfeed clickbait of what I mean as my apology.

Sweet Kale Salad Lemon Poppy Seed Copycat Dressing by Paleo Parents

Copycat Sweet Kale Salad Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing



  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on medium speed to combine for 30 seconds.
  2. Pour into a bowl and stir in poppy seeds.
  3. Drizzle on salad to serve. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Note: We HIGHLY recommend adding the cranberries and seeds to the salad but then leave the dressing on the side for people to dress on their own plates. The dry salad keeps in our fridge for weeks before it wilts – although rarely lasts that long!

Copycat Sweet Kale Salad Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing on Paleo Parents

*Unfortunately Chosen Foods Avocado Oil Mayo is currently only available through their website. But you can buy it here and get 10% off with the code PALEOPARENTS10! Check out how much we love this brand of avocado oil here on our ambassador page, including our favorite recipes to use their products!

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  • Stacey Chevalier Kerr

    Stacy–That sounds delicious! Can you tell us what’s in the kale salad itself, for those of us who don’t shop there? Thanks!

    • The mixture includes kale (ribs removed, finely chopped), shredded cabbage, shredded broccoli, shredded brussels sprouts, dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds. Hope that helps!

      • Stacey Chevalier Kerr

        Thank you!

  • NSum

    I picked up a bag of this salad the other day and opened it last night, threw away the dressing and used a homemade orange-ginger dressing I copycatted from a local restaurant. Thank you for this one, it has a lot more ingredients than I would consider optimal but it is a great jumping off point. Of course the ingredients are either already in my cupboard or easily obtainable so I will try your recipe before I dumb it down.

  • Matt


  • Katrina

    This is one of my favorite quick salads so I was very happy to find your replacement dressing. I LOVE your recipe, it’s tasty, refreshing and not too sweet. I did find it a little runny for my liking so added 1/2 teaspoon of grass fed gelatin to the lemon juice before mixing it in and it gives it a consistency more like the Costco one. Thank you!

  • Beth Hayes

    We tried this dressing tonight. As has been mentioned, we found it runny. It is not as sweet as the dressing that comes with the costco salad, so I would add extra honey.

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