by Olena

Lemon Kale Salad with Garlic and Parmesan

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 8 votes

Flavorful, easy and 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 alongside this Mexican kale salad or strawberry spinach salad!

Kale Salad with Garlic, Parmesan and Toasted Nuts

Easy Kale Salad

Lemon kale salad 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 a healthy, more nutrient-dense version of Caesar salad.

That is when I make this easy lemon garlic kale salad. 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.

lemon dressing pouring over kale salad

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 to make this kale salad with lemon dressing. I personally do not love purple kale for this lemon kale salad recipe. Or maybe at all. 🙂

Baby kale is also an option – like I’ve used in this baby kale salad! Then again, I’m just nuts for a kale salad in the first place. So much so that I’ve already shared a blueberry kale salad, apple cinnamon walnut kale salad, Winter fruit kale salad, and even sweet kale salad (and that’s not all!) There’s one for every occasion!

2 bunches of kale

How to Make Lemon Kale Salad

  • Prep kale: Make sure to remove the leaves from the ribs and chop them finely. removing kale leaves from the rib
  • No need to massage it: 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 simple kale salad. The keyword is “chopped”. Then lemon juice in the salad dressing helps to break down the fibers of raw kale within minutes. chopped kale on a cutting board
  • Toast nuts: Cook nuts in a skillet until fragrant and lightly browned. Watch closely not to burn and stir often.toasted nuts in a skillet with spatula
  • Make dressing: This is the best kale salad dressing based on quality extra virgin olive oil. 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?! lemon garlic salad dressing in a glass jar with a fork
  • Combine and mix: 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!

Tip: Kale salad might be a 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. kale salad in a glass bowl

Make Ahead, Storing and Serving

This kale salad is the ultimate side salad for any dish you can think of. It’s simple and flavorful without taking over.

Serving: Kale parmesan 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 or even something like grilled shrimp.

Storing: Unlike its cousins, kale is a very sturdy leafy green. 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 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.

More Healthy Salad Recipes

Alternatively, check out this big list of healthy salad recipes for more salad inspo!

kale salad with parmesan cheese, toasted nuts and lemon

Lemon Kale Salad with Garlic and Parmesan

Lemon Kale Salad with Garlic and Parmesan

Flavorful, easy and no massaging Lemon Kale Salad with toasted nuts and fresh Parmesan cheese, tossed in lemon and garlic dressing.
5 from 8 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Ukrainian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6 servings (side dish)
Calories: 175kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

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

  • Remove ribs from kale, rinse with cold water and spin in a salad spinner.
  • Chop into thin stripes and add to a large salad bowl.
  • Toast nuts in a skillet on medium heat until fragrant, stirring often. Transfer to a salad bowl.
  • Add Parmesan cheese to the salad bowl.
  • In a small bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk with a fork and pour over salad.
  • 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.

        Nutrition

        Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 266mg | Potassium: 131mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 982IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 1mg
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        olena osipov in the studio

        Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

        My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

        16 comments on “Lemon Kale Salad with Garlic and Parmesan

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        1. 5 stars
          My husband usually doesn’t like kale or spinach and was skeptical about eating this kale salad. But after a few bites, he actually asked for more and ended up finishing the rest of it! 🙂 Thanks for helping me feed my family more nutritious meals that they actually enjoy. I have made this salad, the avacado and egg salad and the beet and arugula salad and all of them were a hit with my family!

        2. 5 stars
          Very tasty recipe!
          Had with our wing night and combination was delicious.
          NB Hint-make ahead Allowing kale to warm up and absorbs dressing ?

        3. 5 stars
          I thought I only liked cooked kale until I made this recipe. The flavors are so good together. Great for a dinner side then work lunches for several days after.

        4. 5 stars
          Luv this salad !! Great way to use kale from my garden
          Almonds instead of croutons are amazing
          Easy & delicious recipe
          Thankyou!!

        5. This recipe looks really delicious! It mentions adding Dijon mustard but no amount is mentioned. What would you suggest. I’m going to make this for a potluck this Thurs. Thanks

          1. Silly me. I think I wanted to add Dijon but then couldn’t find it in my house fridge (it was in the studio though) and left it out. You can add a squirt or skip, either won’t hurt. I skipped.

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