cleanse/ recipes/ salads + greens

Kale Detox Salad w/ Pesto

Kale Detox Salad w/ Pesto | Well and Full

Another healthy, green recipe for January! Although, I feel like once it hits the second week, we all stop talking about our resolutions and whatnot. But I actually just wrote an article for MindBodyGreen about “detoxing” and what it really means. (Although please note that I am NOT a health professional, just a humble nutrition student! Always consult your doctor before starting any dietary changes!)

Detoxing was in vogue a few year ago, but now it’s kind of lost its steam as body positivity has come more into the light. Which I want to address – you can be body positive AND want to eat healthier. One does not preclude the other. And I am all for body positivity AND eating healthy. But it’s important to mention that TRUE detoxing happens in the body already – your body actually has a very efficient system for removing toxins. A juice cleanse is not a real detox. However, we CAN make it easier for our bodies by eating the nutrients it needs for these detoxifying processes to happen – i.e. foods that aid in digestion and elimination, foods that promote liver health, etc. But let me stress again that the foods are NOT the detox themselves – they’re just helping the body do what it already does.

Enter this kale detox salad. The overarching principle behind this salad being a “detox” salad is that it’s super green, which means chlorophyll. I love talking about chlorophyll as a detoxifying agent because it’s one of the best things you can have for your liver. Without getting too science-y, chlorophyll helps increase the activity of Phase II Biotransformation Enzymes, which have been shown to help remove toxins and carcinogens from the body. So basically, eat green and help your liver.

But I had to make this salad delicious, because what’s the point of eating it if it’s not delicious?! It’s got roasted potatoes and carrots, brown rice for fiber, chickpeas (of course), and lacinato kale – all topped with a deliciously chloro-filled (see what I did there!?) green pesto. It’s delicious, AND good for your bod! I hope you all love it!

Kale Detox Salad w/ Pesto | Well and FullKale Detox Salad w/ Pesto | Well and FullKale Detox Salad w/ Pesto | Well and FullKale Detox Salad w/ Pesto | Well and Full

Detox Kale Salad w/ Pesto | Well and Full
5 from 3 votes

Kale Detox Salad w/ Pesto

This kale detox salad is the perfect meal for a cleanse, made with whole, real ingredients. Made with a mouthwatering carrot top pesto and roasted vegetables.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 2 as a Main, 3-4 as a Side


Carrot Top Pesto

  • Tops of 1 Bunch Carrots
  • 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp Pepper
  • Juice from 1/2 a Lemon

Roasted Veg

  • 1 Lb Fingerling Potatoes cut into rounds
  • 3-4 Large Purple Carrots cut into rounds
  • 1 15 oz Can Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • A Generous Drizzle of Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 1 Tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 Tsp Dried Basil
  • 1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • Few Sprinkles of Dried Thyme

The Rest of the Salad

  • A Few Handfuls Lacinato Kale Sliced Thin
  • 1 Cup Cooked Brown Rice
  • Sliced Jalapeño if desired
  • Sesame Seeds if desired


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Prep vegetables - wash and dry carrots and potatoes. Cut both into rounds (disks), about 1/4 inch thick.
  3. In a bowl, combine chopped potatoes, carrots, and chickpeas. Add in olive oil and spices, and mix well until everything is evenly coated.
  4. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, bake vegetables + chickpeas for 45-50 minutes. When they're done cooking, remove from oven and let cool.
  5. While vegetables are cooking, make pesto - combine all ingredients into a food processor and process on high until a slightly smooth pesto is formed.
  6. In a bowl, mix thinly sliced lacinato kale and pesto until kale is evenly covered. Then, add in roasted vegetables + chickpeas and brown rice. Mix well until everything is evenly combined.
  7. Serve in bowls and top with sesame seeds.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

If you can't find lacinato (Tuscan) kale, any other hardy green will do - like chard, regular kale, or collard greens.

Kale Detox Salad w/ Pesto | Well and Full

Quote of the Day:

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

– Oscar Wilde



  • Reply
    Abby @ Heart of a Baker
    January 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Ohh the combo of roasted veggies and kale here has me drooling! I used to think that I didn’t really like salads, but it turns out I just hadn’t found the right ones for me, which usually include chickpeas :) So excited to hear more about your journey in school! xo

    • Reply
      January 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      I love incorporating chickpeas and grains into salads, it makes them so much better!! :D Thanks Abby!!

  • Reply
    Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health
    January 19, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    So true what you said about detoxing! It can be just because you want to eat healthy not because you want to make up for a bunch of bad decisions.

    This salad has got to be the sexiest detox I’ve ever seen. Those crispy potatoes and that carrot top pesto are making me drool!

    • Reply
      January 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm

      Awww thanks Sarah!!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Wow wowoww. Heck yes on the chickpeas and potatoes for extra heartiness. I need to try carrot top pesto….my problem is I like the way they taste plain (well, blanched a little) that I just want to eat them like that. I never have the patience to turn them into pesto, even though I know it would be amazing.

    • Reply
      January 20, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      If you like them plain then you’d definitely like the pesto!! You should try it!!

  • Reply
    January 20, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    I definitely wish I could reach through the screen for this one omg. I’ve never heard of pesto made with carrot tops, heck I’ve never even put those in a salad! Definitely need to break my habit of eating the same salad every day and try this!

    • Reply
      January 20, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      You should definitely try it, Veronika! It’s so good!! :D

  • Reply
    January 20, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    SARAH! This is so beautiful!! I adore crispy chickpeas!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2017 at 10:19 am

      They’re the best!! :D

  • Reply
    Maya | Spice + Sprout
    January 21, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Sarah, this salad is absolutely beautiful !!! I have a complicated relationship with the terms “cleanse” and “detox”. I am totally on board for people eating healthy foods and doing what is best for their bodies, but sometimes I feel like the concept of a cleanse is another way to tell women that their bodies are somehow dirty or wrong and need to be altered. Not even in a weight loss sense, but merely the words used seem to express another thing women need to change about their bodies and it makes me uncomfortable. Especially the contrasting words of “cleanse” and “dirt”, ya know?

    I know that this is not at all what you’re saying here! I am just curious to hear your thoughts on this because I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately and I value your opinion <3

    • Reply
      January 21, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      Hmmm…the words “cleanse” or “detox” have never really offended me, because I love taking periods of time when I eat super healthy (meaning whole, unprocessed foods). It’s not necessarily about what you’re actually eating…. it’s about the mental effects of doing it. For me, it’s more that I KNOW I ate really healthy, which gives me confidence. And it’s true that some foods add to your body’s overall function, and others detract from it. That’s just science; something I’m learning about in my nutrition classes. For example, certain foods are more apt to add to your fat stores. Is that a bad thing? NO… it just IS. Not necessarily bad or good. But where I DO take issue is when people shame each other or judge each other’s eating choices. Any sort of commentary on your eating habits should only be given by a doctor or medical professional. Anyways, that’s my two cents on the matter… I’d love to hear what you think about it because I really respect your opinion as well! <3

      • Reply
        Maya | Spice + Sprout
        January 22, 2017 at 7:39 pm

        Yeah I totally hear you! I feel like everything you are doing here is amazing and I also love to think about the healthy foods I eat. It definitely makes me feel better in my body! I guess I was referring more to some mainstream ideas of cleansing and detoxing that feel less grounded in science (which I am totally interested in learning more about) and more in a type of shaming like you said. I guess it feels like those words are associated with people telling other people what to eat. But maybe if we all start talking about them as you are and referring to the actual science, that association will become less strong :)

        • Reply
          January 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm

          Oh yeah, mainstream ideas about how a juice cleanse will “detox” your liver is absurd. It’s not science-based at all. Of course, drinking and eating healthy foods will HELP your body in its natural detoxification process, but they are aids and not the process itself. ;)

  • Reply
    January 21, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    Your photography has been so dreamy lately! I am totally inspired to up my photo game now! And this salad is so cozy and definitely more exciting than typical “health food.” Looking forward to your upcoming posts as you learn more about the amazing healing power of food in your nutrition courses =)

    • Reply
      January 21, 2017 at 11:20 pm

      Aww thanks for your note about my photography, Ashley!! I’ve been working really hard on it so it’s nice to be noticed. :) :) And I’ll definitely be posting more about my nutrition classes!!

  • Reply
    January 22, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Love the information about detoxing! Thanks Sarah <3 and that last photo of the purple carrots.. swoon

    • Reply
      January 22, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Aren’t those purple carrots gorgeous?? :D Thanks Karlie! <3

  • Reply
    January 23, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Yay for chlorophyll! And thank you for clearing up this whole detox myth… I think the trend has gotten way out of control.

    I love that you roasted the veg and the chickpeas together! I would not have thought of that :)

    • Reply
      January 23, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      Thanks Alex!! And honestly, I just roasted them together so I only had to use one pan ;)

  • Reply
    Traci | Vanilla And Bean
    January 24, 2017 at 11:04 am

    For so long, when I was much younger, I thought detox was a destination. Something you did once or twice a year by staying on juice, nothing but salads for a week or getting a meal from a corporation by way of a powder, in a carton or box. But, I’ve learned overtime, it’s a way of life… a way of eating whole foods and making sure they are mostly plants (some would agree only plants). The labels always get me because they can be misinterpreted. Words like plant based, vegetarian, vegan, detox, paleo… but as bloggers, I guess it’s important to point out what our point is whether in a title, summary or about section. I just want to eat good food (and this is defined broadly, I realize, each having their own definition), and a variety of it with balance left in for indulgences and sweets. I love so much about this gorgeous salad, especially since I saw jalapeños! And brown rice is one of my favorite bases for salad… short grain even better! Delicious work Sarah!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm

      Thank you for your thoughtful note, Traci :) I love sweet short grain brown rice too! It’s so chewy and delicious :)

  • Reply
    January 27, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Absolutely no mention of how much kale…?!

    • Reply
      January 27, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Hi Deborah, the intent was for you to use as much kale as you like, because everyone has a different preference. But to clarify, I updated it to say “a few handfuls” :)

  • Reply
    Pre-IM training fun – Sarah and Kait Go the Distance
    February 14, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    […] option 1: kale/roasted vegetable salad with carrot top pesto (inspired by the recipe posted here) with tofu for added […]

  • Reply
    17 Easy and Healthy Kale Recipes – Tip Junkie
    February 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    […] up this Kale Detox Salad with Pesto by Well and Full for a healthy, green recipe just calling your name! […]

  • Reply
    February 26, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Is this good cold?

    • Reply
      February 26, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Hi Amy! I personally prefer my salads at room temperature, but you might like it cold if you like cold foods. For example, I hate cold pizza out of the fridge… But I’m not sure what your preferences are though!! If you try it cold, I’d love to know how you like it :)

  • Reply
    February: On my mind | Anna Gillar
    March 6, 2017 at 5:01 am

    […] Food: When being out on production starting super early and ending late at night, the way of eating tends to suffer a bit. You don´t eat enough and when you finally get the chance to do so you are so excited to see food so anything goes instead of eating smart and healthy. At least that´s the case for me. I only have prep work and no photo shoots this week so hopefully that will result in better choices and more clean eating. Would´t mind trying this Kale detox salad with Pesto to start with. See the full recipe here.  […]

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Absolutely delicious! My mom and I are vegan but I often cook for my whole family which splits us 50/50, vegan/non-vegan. Was really craving some greens for dinner and had saved this recipe so finally tried it! I don’t often use kale as the basis for a salad, but I have a feeling I will now! The combo of the warm roasted veggies with the kale really made a warm, hearty meal. The only change I made was making an avocado/spinach pesto because I’d been wanting to do that anyway, and didn’t get carrots with the leafy bit still on. The dressing I made worked well and was very creamy, next time I will have to find carrots with the leaves so I can try your pesto! Thanks for this lovely dish, we all loved it!

    • Reply
      March 28, 2017 at 9:03 am

      I’m so glad you liked the recipe, Cassidy!! I love the changes you made to the pesto – avocado and spinach sounds so delicious!! Plus, I love seeing people being creative with recipes and subbing in ingredients in they like :) Thanks so much for leaving a note!! :)

  • Reply
    April 21, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    It looks like there is some kind of pepper in your salad? Are those jalapenos? This looks amazing!

    • Reply
      April 22, 2017 at 6:46 pm

      Good eye, they are jalapenos! :) Thanks Emma!

  • Reply
    May 1, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    I keep trying to pin this but pinterest keeps saying “this site doesnt allow you to save pins” :(

    • Reply
      May 2, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      I know… this has been an issue with some SSL (secure) sites on Pinterest’s end. Hopefully it should be fixed soon! Sorry about this though :/

  • Reply
    Daniel King
    August 15, 2017 at 1:39 am

    Sarah, you did an awesome job with this recipe! This dish is super alkaline!

    • Reply
      August 22, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      Thank you Daniel!! :D

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