by Olena

Lemon Kale Salad with Garlic and Parmesan

by Olena

5 from 1 reviews

Flavorful and easy (no massaging) Lemon Kale Salad with toasted nuts and fresh Parmesan cheese, tossed in lemon and garlic dressing.

Hands down, one of my favorite leafy green salads ever!

Kale Salad with Garlic, Parmesan and Toasted Nuts

The Best Kale Salad

This is my “default” kale salad. Once in a while, I get a craving for chewy leafy kale leaves with a punch of garlic, lemon and Parmesan. Kind of like healthy version of Caesar salad.

Do you? Ever?

That is when I make this lemon kale salad recipe. Quick to whip up and I have ingredients on hand 99% of the time. It is simple enough for a weeknight dinner, yet fancy for guests and Holidays at same time.

Do you have a default salad? My veggie default salad is cucumber and tomato salad. And for soft leafy greens it is this spinach salad. All are easy because I frankly despise making complicated salad dressings. I might as well make 4 ingredient green smoothie then. 🙂

kale salad with parmesan cheese, toasted nuts and lemon

What Type of Kale Can I Use?

I absolutely love kale. Do you? I go through stages though. Fall and winter kale cravings truly hit. Must be lack of summer produce.

  • Green kale – Green kale is leafy, curly and light green kale variety. It has thick prominent ribs and creates a lot of volume in a salad bowl. It is more chewy than other kale. I can’t explain but kale choice depends really on the cravings. Once you try both kinds, you will know what I mean. Right?
  • Lacinato “dinosaur” kale – This is kale with dark green, long and narrow leaves with bumps. Hence, the name. It does look like a dinosaur skin and is very soft compared to green kale. I like to use it for kale Caesar salad because it is less voluminous and you get more dressing with each bite.

You can use any kale. I personally do not love purple kale for this recipe. Or maybe at all. 🙂

2 bunches of kale

removing kale leaves from the ribchopped kale on a cutting board

Do I Have to Massage Kale?

Do you have to massage kale? If you read many recipes online, most say you do. Well, I don’t. I just don’t think this extra step is necessary with this chopped kale salad. The keyword is “chopped”.

Instead, I make sure to remove the ribs and chop it finely. Then lemon juice in the salad dressing helps to break down the fibers of raw kale within minutes.

toasted nuts in a skillet with spatulalemon garlic salad dressing in a glass jar with a fork

lemon dressing pouring over kale salad

Kale Salad Dressing

Have I mentioned yet I do not like making complicated salad dressings? The ones I need to dirty a blender and with 10 ingredients particularly.

This is the best kale salad dressing based on quality extra virgin olive oil. I buy organic in a dark bottle at Costco. Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds acidity that is so essential to any salad dressing. And how this Ukrainian could skip a zip from freshly grated garlic?!

And once you drizzle this lemon-y garlic vinaigrette over finely chopped kale, toasted nuts and freshly grated Parmesan cheese, it makes the best kale salad ever!

kale salad in a glass bowl

Tip: Kale salad might be pain to mix because of its volume. To toss kale salad, I like to use Pyrex bowl with a lid and shake well. Then when I remove the lid, I give shrunk kale a few more final stirs.

glass bowl with blue lid and kale saladglass bowl with blue lid and kale salad

Make Ahead and Store

Unlike its cousins, kale is a very sturdy leafy green. You can store salad leftovers for up to 36 hours without salad becoming soggy.

If you would like to make salad ahead, prepare kale leaves and store in a zip top bag for up to 7 days. I often meal prep kale like this for easy use throughout the week. If you buy chopped kale in bags, you might have to remove the ribs.

Then store toasted nuts in a dry place. Salad dressing can be made for up to 7 days in advance and refrigerated. Remove it from the fridge 30 minutes ahead of serving to allow olive oil to warm up.

kale salad recipe in glas bowl and wooden tongs

Pairing Suggestions

Good kale salad goes well with beef, chicken or turkey. Slow cooked meats like pot roast or turkey breast roast compliment leafy green so well. And of course can never go wrong with a simple baked chicken breast.

More Kale Salad Recipes

Print

Lemon Kale Salad with Garlic and Parmesan

5 from 1 reviews

Flavorful and easy (no massaging) Lemon Kale Salad with toasted nuts and fresh Parmesan cheese, tossed in lemon and garlic dressing.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings (side dish) 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Chop + Stove
  • Cuisine: Ukrainian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, brazil or macadamia, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large bunch of kale (6 cups chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large lemon (2 tbsp), juice of
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Remove ribs from kale, rinse with cold water and spin in a salad spinner.
  2. Chop into thin stripes and add to a large salad bowl.
  3. Toast nuts in a skillet on medium heat until fragrant, stirring often. Transfer to a salad bowl.
  4. Add Parmesan cheese to the salad bowl.
  5. In a small bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork and pour over salad.
  6. Stir gently until well combined. Serve within a day.

Store: You can store salad leftovers for up to 36 hours without salad becoming soggy.

Make Ahead: If you would like to make salad ahead, prepare kale leaves and store in a zip top bag for up to 7 days. I often prep kale like this for easy use throughout the week. If you buy chopped kale in bags, you might have to remove the ribs.

Then store toasted nuts in a dry place. Salad dressing can be made for up to 7 days in advance and refrigerated. Remove it from the fridge 30 minutes ahead of serving to allow olive oil to warm up.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

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