Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

January 26, 2022

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Bright and citrusy Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad – an Italian inspired salad made with nutritious Kale, juicy tomatoes, crunchy almonds and croutons, flavorful parmesan and it’s tossed with a fresh lemon dressing.

Healthy Lemon Kale Salad

To say kale salad took us by surprise is an understatement. You may think kale salad, how boring, but with the right dressing and a few complementary mix-ins you can make bold earthy flavored kale turn into something truly delicious!

We’ve been eating this apple kale salad almost every week since I shared it (my kids even request it for school lunch believe it or not). So I thought it would be nice to throw another one into the rotation. One with the tantalizing flavor trio of parmesan, lemon and garlic.

I think you’ll love this one paired with a pasta main dish or just add some chicken and turn it into the main course. Just hold the crouton crumbles until you’re almost ready to serve it so they don’t get soggy.

Lemon Kale Salad Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 pinch salt, or to taste (you shouldn’t need much since the parmesan and croutons can be salty)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1 lb. kale (about 2 large bunches)
  • 1 cup unsalted slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup croutons, slightly crushed

How to Make Lemon Kale Salad

  • Make the lemon dressing: In a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, salt, pepper and garlic. Transfer to fridge while preparing remaining salad ingredients.
  • Clean kale leaves, dry: Remove kale leaves from thick ribs (you can pull and run along the rib to tear off or cut off). Rinse then run through a salad spinner to dry well.
  • Shred kale: Working in batches transfer a few handfuls to cutting board, bunch kale together and thinly slice.
  • Add salad ingredients to bowl: Transfer kale to a very large bowl. Add almonds, parmesan and tomatoes.
  • Toss with dressing: Whisk dressing again then pour over salad. Toss well to evenly coat. Finish with croutons just before serving (you can lightly toss them into salad if desired).

Helpful Tips

  • I highly recommend a salad spinner to dry the kale leaves. As with any salad if you don’t dry away the extra water properly then the dressing just ends up watered down and not clinging to the leaves as well.
  • Cut the kale very thin so it’s not overly crunchy. If you prefer a softer texture you can massage it gently with your hands for a few minutes before adding to the salad.
  • Recipe can be halved, or just make the extra and wait to add tomatoes and crouton crumbles to that extra portion and store in the fridge for a day. Kale salads store well even with dressing.

Possible Variations

It’s a salad and there are many ways to make it. Use up what you have on hand:

  • Try Romano cheese in place of parmesan cheese.
  • Dice up Roma tomatoes in place of cherry tomatoes.
  • Use another nut such as pine nuts or walnuts.
  • Try the salad with some crumbled cooked bacon.
  • Add other veggies such as bell pepper, black olives or red onion.
  • You could sub 2 Tbsp vinegar for 2 Tbsp lemon (if you only have one lemon on hand). Try red wine vinegar or white wine vinegar.
  • Make your own croutons by slicing bread into cubes, toss with a bit of olive oil, salt and pepper and bake on a baking sheet in a 325 degree oven until dried and toasty about 30 minutes (toss halfway).

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Lemon Kale Salad
5 from 1 vote

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

Italian inspired salad made with nutritious kale, juicy tomatoes, crunchy almonds and croutons, flavorful parmesan and it's tossed with a fresh lemon dressing.
Recipe can be halved, or just make the extra and wait to add tomatoes and crouton crumbles to that extra portion and store in the fridge for a day.
Servings: 8
Prep20 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
  • 1 lb. kale (about 2 large bunches)
  • 1 cup unsalted slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz) finely grated parmesan*
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup croutons, slightly crushed

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, salt, pepper and garlic. Transfer to fridge while preparing remaining salad ingredients.
  • Remove kale leaves from thick ribs (you can pull and run along the rib to tear off or cut off). Rinse under water to clean then working in batches run through a salad spinner to dry well.
  • Working in batches transfer a few handfuls to cutting board, bunch kale together and thinly slice.
  • Transfer kale to a very large bowl. Add almonds, parmesan and tomatoes.
  • Whisk dressing again then pour over salad. Toss well to evenly coat.
  • Serve within a few hours and finish with croutons just before serving (you can lightly toss them into salad if desired).

Notes

  • *To grate parmesan I buy a whole wedge or Parmigiano Reggiano, cut the rind off (reserve for soups or sauces). Cut into chunks about 1 inch or so then add to a food processor. Cover and process for a few minutes to a finely grate.
  • Another option is to use 1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Facts
Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 332 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 18g
Cholesterol 9mg3%
Sodium 224mg10%
Potassium 419mg12%
Carbohydrates 13g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 10g20%
Vitamin A 4929IU99%
Vitamin C 62mg75%
Calcium 231mg23%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.