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Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

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This Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing recipe is based on the popular Emerald Kale Salad at both Hillstone and Houston’s Restaurants.

Hillstone Emerald Kale Salad Beauty and the Beets

Many years ago, I was introduced me to a restaurant called Houston’s (also known as Hillstone Restaurant in some markets). I ordered a veggie burger and by my Mother’s suggestion, substituted their Emerald Kale Salad in place of French fries. (On the current menu, the Emerald Kale Salad is now served with chicken. If I were to substitute the salad for fries I would order it without the chicken). The Emerald Kale Salad is topped with shaved parmesan and tossed with a peanut vinaigrette.

Beauty and the Beets Houstons Kale Salad twins

A few nights later back at the apartment, my Mom and I decided to try and recreate this. I have to say- we both agreed that it turned out pretty spot on! I love the bitterness of the kale combined with the crunchiness of peanuts and the sweetness of mint. It’s a very tasty combination. Here is the copycat recipe for Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing adapted from a recipe by Cook Forrest Cook.

I first published this recipe in 2013 and it quickly became one of my most popular posts. Copycat recipes seem to have a bit of a cult following as we all love to recreate and re-experience our favorite restaurant dishes, especially in this era of a pandemic.

Houstons Kale Salad Peanut Vinaigrette Beauty and the Beets

So why is Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing so popular? Well, for one, it’s healthy. Kale is packed with iron, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and Omega-3 fatty acids- a laundry list of essential vitamins and minerals we all need in our diets. It was just a few years ago that kale was all the rage and now it is a mainstream restaurant ingredient.

Kale Salad with Peanut Beauty and the Beets

Secondly, this a super easy salad to make. Hands on time is about 10 minutes and the recipe doesn’t require any cooking or heat. Throw it together and serve. This just proves that salads don’t have to be complicated or boring.

Houstons Kale Salad Peanut Vinaigrette Beauty and the Beets
Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

Houston’s Kale Salad with Peanut Dressing

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Based on the delicious salad at the Houston's restaurant chain.


For the dressing:

For the salad:

  • 2 1/2 cups curly kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 10 mint leaves, chiffonade
  • 1/4 of a bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese


  1. Combine the ingredients for the dressing together in a jar and shake until blended.
  2. Place the kale, cabbage, mint, cilantro and chopped peanuts in a bowl and toss well with the dressing. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
  3. Sprinkle the whole dry roasted peanuts and parmesan cheese just before serving.

Did you make this recipe?

Share it on Instagram and mention @beautyandthebeets or tag #beautyandthebeets. I would love to see what you made!

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Houston's Emerald Kale Salad from Beauty and the Beets

You may also like this recipe for Kale and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad

Kale and Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad Beauty and the Beets

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Friday 12th of April 2024

Does the left over dressing need to be refrigerated?


Tuesday 23rd of April 2024

Hi Debbie! Yes, you should store the leftover dressing in the refrigerator. It will last up to 5 days. Thanks for visiting!

Loretta Gruber (Personal email)

Friday 17th of February 2023

How many calories in the dressing and the salad overall?

Elizabeth Perrin

Saturday 11th of June 2022

Can I sub another oil for peanut oil?


Saturday 11th of June 2022

You can use extra virgin olive oil but it will drastically change the flavor of the dressing.


Monday 21st of June 2021

My heart is broken!!! My salad came out soooo bitter. Can anyone tell me why this happened?? I followed the recipe to a tee. ?


Monday 28th of June 2021

A lot can depend on the lettuce and the seasons. Lettuce can be more bitter in the summer?


Tuesday 16th of March 2021

I am new to making kale salads.... I know. I know. But I love the kale salad from Hillstones and bought all to make this recipe. I’ve read other recipes that indicate to “massage” kale. Do we need to massage here? Lol


Tuesday 16th of March 2021

I personally like to massage my kale but the Hillstone version does not require the massaging.

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