Northern Spy's Kale Salad

By • January 6, 2012 61 Comments

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Author Notes: This salad is ideal for making ahead for company (or tomorrow's lunch) and has been a mainstay on the menu at Northern Spy Food Co. in Manhattan's East Village since they opened in 2009. The kabocha is traded out with the seasons for things like fresh apricots, kohlrabi, or patty pan squash -- slices of apple or persimmon are also good when you don't feel like waiting for the squash to roast. Unless you wind up with especially burly kale, there's no need to massage the dressing into this salad, unlike others with raw kale.Genius Recipes

Serves 2

  • 1/2 cup cubed kabocha, butternut, or other winter squash
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bunch kale (preferably lacinato or dinosaur kale), ribs removed and finely sliced, about 2 1/2 cups
  • 1/4 cup almonds, cut roughly in half
  • 1/4 cup crumbled or finely chopped Cabot clothbound cheddar (or any good, aged cheddar -- if you can't find aged cheddar, use parmesan)
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 425° F. Toss squash cubes in just enough olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet (lined with parchment for easier cleanup), leaving space between the cubes. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing with a spatula every 10-15 minutes. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale with the almonds, cheddar and squash. Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (approximately 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Divide salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved pecorino cheese, if desired, and serve.
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Comments (61) Questions (3)

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about 1 month ago Petite fee

My friend made this for me after much talk. IT WAS Fabulous!! great texture and flavor. I also added red cabbage and spinach with beans for protein. AWesome!
Thx for sharing...

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2 months ago Andrea

I made this a few nights ago and really enjoyed it. It was a hit with everyone at the dinner table. The kale I bought was a little on the tough side so I gave it a good massage. I nearly always cook kale or put it into juices so having it in a raw salad was a nice change of pace. I'll definitely put it into my more regular rotation.

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3 months ago Lilismom

I do not like lemon in my salads. Will a good vinegar work at well?

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5 months ago NancyJ

Hate to be so late to the party. I have never had kale before - always thought of it as the greenery between meats in the butcher case. I made this salad tonight, not lacinto or dinosaur kale available. It was unexpectedly delicious! And if it keeps 'til tomorrow - better yet.

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5 months ago Lo

I don't get it. Maybe its because I'm a vegetarian and eat salads all the time but this seemed really plain to me. It was a big let down. I even went to a special cheese store and got really good cheese for this... and I massaged the kale... Did anybody else think this was incredibly plain tasting?? I'm confused how this is a genius recipe.

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6 months ago Adam G

I make a recipe very similar to this, I'll have to try this because it sounds absolutely fantastic!

One note, some people are commenting about the toughness of the raw kale. One thing that may help is if you firmly 'massage' the kale with a sprinkle of sea salt to help draw out a bit of moisture and break down the large fibers in the kale. I find that it helps most if you do it once you've cut it down to size!

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6 months ago Denise Rinaldo

I loved the combination of flavors/textures, however if I made it again I'd use a lot less kale--maybe a cup. There was too much cud-chewing going on. I did try to pick the tenderest kale in the store, but ultimately raw kale is raw kals.

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7 months ago Regine

Excellent. But I doubled the recipe for practicality purposes. Really delicious. But for company of 8, I would do 4 times the recipe. My bunch of lacinato kale luckily gave me 5 cups. Also I found that the amount of squash once baked shrank a lot so I remeasured it after it came out from oven. The calbot cheese is a must. I don't think that the optional additional cheese (shaved pecorino) is necessary. I salted the dressing a bit which with the cheese was more than enough salt. Can't wait to make this again for company, but at least 4x the recipe.

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7 months ago Goo

Made this salad for the Thanksgiving ... it was a big hit. And best of all, the kale stayed crunchy and firm under the dressing for days. No wilted, soggy leaves. I already purchased the fixings to make it again. Delicious!

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7 months ago senorahughes

Can I roast the pumpkin the day before and leave separate or will it become mushy when I mix in with the kale?

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7 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

No, it should hold up fine!

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8 months ago MOMMAK75

Maybe because it includes fall vegetables and you should be able to multiply quantities?

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8 months ago Gurleygirl

Why do you have a recipe in the Thanksgiving section that is only for 2 people?

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7 months ago Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Not everyone has a bunch of people to be with on Thanksgiving. What an odd complaint.

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9 months ago koc

Absolutely the best salad I've ever had, especially topped with poached eggs! From looking at the ingredients, I never would have guessed the results would be so fantastic.

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10 months ago patw

Spectacular salad, I make it a lot in the winter, there's something very cozy about it, probably due to the squash. My husband usually turns up his nose at kale, but this converted him. Thank you!

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over 1 year ago Skinny bitches

A lot of people are reluctant to try raw kale because they think it is bitter. In fact, they are really earthy and nutty!! I love this recipe so much!

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over 1 year ago nyc123

northern spy is one of my favorite restaurants, and this salad is amazing. they do it for brunch w a poached egg on top. so excited to have the recipe!

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over 1 year ago Erin.Quinn

Used baby kale and it was absolutely delicious. Will be making it again and again and again.

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almost 2 years ago SunBunny

I saw almonds and was a pleasantly taken back. It makes me think walnuts and cranberries could add an inquisitive spin to this as well.

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almost 2 years ago bleuquila

I was so skeptical of this when I realized the kale *wasn't cooked at all* . raw kale?! that sounds terrible! I tested this out on a few friends and everyone, even my husband an avowed kale-hater, cleaned their plates. I was pretty amazed! It's really good! Now I want more kale.

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over 2 years ago Angela Brown 1

Oh, so delicious!!! I will make this again and again.