Cheesy Leafy Green Salad (Low-Carb, Keto, Gluten-Free)

Nutrient-dense and delicious, this creamy, cheesy leafy green salad is fantastic as a side dish or a light main, especially with extra protein on top. Made with healthy leafy greens like kale, parsley and rocket (arugula), this salad is brimming with vitamins and antioxidants, and is low-carb, keto and gluten-free. 

Cheesy Leafy Green Salad (Keto, Low-Carb, Gluten-Free)

I got addicted to this cheesy, creamy and garlicky green salad while doing the Low-Carb Challenge. I would often make a batch to have for lunch with some protein on top like chicken, prawns or crispy bacon (hello!). We also had it as a side dish with meatballs and pan-fried fish for dinner. 

This leafy salad is low in carbohydrates, high in fibre, and plenty of fats to keep you satiated. It’s great for vegetarians too as you will get a fair bit of protein from the cheeses in the dressing.


Leafy Green Salad Ingredients

Full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, green vegetables are a must-have in a healthy diet. Dark leafy greens in particular – like kale or Swiss chard – contain very high amounts of vitamin K (and calcium!). These support bone health and protect from osteoporosis.

Because of their high content of antioxidants, green leafy vegetables may be one of the best cancer-preventing foods. They are needed for good eyesight, heart health, a well-functioning immune system and radiant skin, to mention just a few benefits.

As such, you can use any leafy greens in this salad. I went with kale, rocket (arugula), iceberg lettuce and parsley (yes, green herbs are concentrated sources of all those nutrients!). 

Leafy greens for a salad: kale, rocket, lettuce and parsley

Cheesy Creamy Dressing

This creamy dressing is SO SO tasty! It’s thick and heavy, which gives substance to the light, low-calorie greens. With ingredients like Parmesan and Cheddar cheese, mustard, onion powder, garlic and mayo, this dressing is full of umami flavours. It’s a little bit like the Caesar or Ranch dressing but with its own character. 

If you can’t do dairy, you can try my creamy avocado dressing instead. 

Cheesy Creamy Dressing Ingredients

How To Make Cheesy Leafy Green Salad

Wash and drain the leafy greens and chop them roughly. If using kale, I recommend massaging it first to break down its fibres and making it less chewy or sturdy, so to speak. It’s going to be more gentle on the tummy. I sprinkle kale with a tiny bit of salt and lemon juice, grab handfuls and scrunch them a few times between my fingers until it is bruised. 

Leafy greens chopped up in a bowl
How to massage kale

In a large bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. It will look quite thick at this stage. Once you add the greens, use your hands to mix everything. 

Prepare the creamy dressing
Cheesy Creamy Kale Salad With Other Leafy Greens

More Healthy Salad Recipes

Leafy Green Salad With Cheesy Creamy Garlicky Dressing

Cheesy Leafy Green Salad (Low-Carb, Keto, Gluten-Free)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Author: Irena Macri
Servings: 4
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Healthy
Print Pin Save
5 from 5 votes
Calories: 155kcal
Healthy and delicious leafy green salad with creamy, cheesy, and garlicky dressing. Made with nutritious greens like kale, arugula, and parsley. Enjoy this gluten-free, low-carb, and keto salad as a side dish (4 servings) or as a light main (2 servings). You can top it with your favourite protein of choice for a more substantial meal.


  • 3 large kale leaves separated from the stem
  • 1.5 cups iceberg lettuce chopped; Cos, Gem, or Butter lettuce is also great here
  • 1.5 cups rocket arugula, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chopped parsley

For the cheesy dressing

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 small clove garlic grated or minced
  • 30 grams Parmesan cheese grated finely (1 oz.)
  • 30 g cheddar cheese or Tasty, grated (1 oz.)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon or yellow mustard
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice


  • Wash and drain the leafy greens and chop them roughly. If using kale, I recommend massaging it first to break down its fibres. This will make it softer and less chewy, and gentler on the tummy. To do so, sprinkle kale with a tiny bit of salt and lemon juice (if you like it tangy), grab handfuls and scrunch them a few times between your until wet and bruised.
  • In a large bowl, combine the dressing ingredients. It will look quite thick at this stage. Once you add the greens, use your hands to mix everything through.


Make-ahead tip: The leafy greens and the salad dressing can be prepared ahead but keep them separate until you're ready to serve. 
Leftovers: Pre-mixed salad leftovers will keep for a day. After that, the leaves will get quite soggy.
The nutritional information is calculated for four servings as side dishes. Double the information to calculate nutrition info for two larger servings.


Calories: 155kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 21mg | Sodium: 259mg | Potassium: 327mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 6042IU | Vitamin C: 63mg | Calcium: 298mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Keto, Vegetarian, Salad, Cheese, Kale, Parsley, Arugula, Side
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookedandloved or tag #cookedandloved
Green Salad With Creamy Dressing
Irena Macri
By Irena Macri

About the author: Hi, I’m Irena Macri. I share delicious recipes that I have cooked and loved. I am a published cookbook author, have been food blogging for over 10 years and have a Diploma in Nutrition. You will find many healthy recipes as well as my favourite comfort food. More about me here | Subscribe to my newsletter and freebies

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Recipe Rating


  1. Can’t wait to try this….this is the type of recipe I love as it’s the only way I can get the kids to eat more kale

  2. 5 stars
    I want to say naughty but nice! Healthy greens and super indulgent cheesy dressing! Our kind of salad – truly delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    I love using kale in salads and the cheese really makes this salad moreish. Perfect with my bext barbecue

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