Northern Spy's Kale Salad

By • January 6, 2012 61 Comments

3,117 + Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

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.

More Great Recipes: Kale Salad|Kale|Ribs|Vegetables|Salads

💬 View Comments ()

Comments (61) Questions (3)


4 months 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...


4 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.


5 months ago Lilismom

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


7 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.


8 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.


8 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!


8 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.


9 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.


9 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!


9 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?


9 months ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52

No, it should hold up fine!


10 months ago MOMMAK75

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


10 months ago Gurleygirl

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


10 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.


12 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.


about 1 year 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!


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!


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!


almost 2 years ago Erin.Quinn

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


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.


about 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.


over 2 years ago Angela Brown 1

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


over 2 years ago ortolan

Every bit as delicious as the below comments indicate. An unexpected mix of ingredients gives kale the ultimate winter comfort food treatment! Thank you for the inspired recipe.


over 2 years ago pascale721

BEST Kale Salad EVER. I had to tweet about it! I've sent this recipe to several people and now they are a fan of your site! Thank you Food52!!!!


over 2 years ago ENunn

I'm going to use some leftover cooked sweet potato. Is that kosher?


over 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52



over 2 years ago nadupor

This salad is my OBSESSION. I had it at Northern Spy Food Co a couple of years ago and have eaten it at least once a week since then. I also have served it to many guests - and everyone raves about it!! The Cabot clothbound cheddar and pecorino combo really make the salad. I have used marcona almonds in the place of regular almonds. I have also had great success using honeydew melon, mango, strawberries, etc in lieu of the squash.


10 months ago Shannon

Are Marcona almonds easy to find?


over 2 years ago Jacqueline Jauregui

Made this today, but blurred it with the farro, kale pomegranate recipe, adding cooked farro and seeds from half a large Pom, leaving the kale raw, as here. Yum.


almost 3 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Made this salad using smoked sharp cheddar and pistachios with a little pumpkin seed oil in the dressing. Was for a post Thanksgiving gumbo party and it was a big hit. People literally went back for seconds.


almost 3 years ago SusanQ

I always double the recipe and eat it in a flash. This is one I've come back to again and again! I crave it!


over 2 years ago pascale721

me too!


about 3 years ago KelsoGarza

I have been making this salad since this recipe was first posted. It has taken me from “Eh, maybe I’ll toss some kale into this soup before it goes bad” to “Ahh! It’s Sunday night and I have no kale. Quick! To the store!” I have made it as written and have altered shamelessly based on what I had on hand. I think I could eat this, or versions of it with every meal.
My favorite, altered, version:

Curly kale – I like the prickliness
Parmesan grated on the big holes of a box grater
1 apple, grated on the big holes
1-2 beets, raw, peeled and grated on the big holes
Whatever nut I have on hand

I usually toss half the dressing with the kale first. Then mix the apple, beet, cheese and nuts with the other half of the dressing. Finally toss it all together thoroughly. There is no prettier salad out there.


about 3 years ago EmilyC

I finally tried this salad over the weekend and loved it so much I made it two nights in a row. I used baby kale (which I roughly chopped), marcona almonds, and sweet potatoes. It was absolutely delicious and such a lovely combination of flavors and textures. It's definitely going into the rotation.


about 3 years ago Ham

I made this late at night to bring to lunch the next day and really must have been asleep because I used roasted sweet potato instead of butternut squash. Luckily, it turned out delicious. Once I realized the flub I roasted for only 25 minutes, first massaged the kale with the olive oil, lemon juice, and a little bit of honey, and then only sprinkled a bit of parmesan on top at the end. Really tasty, especially if the sweet potato is served warm. Worth a try!


about 3 years ago dani

I had this at Arielle's house and I've made it myself. It's a wonderful recipe. So good for you, too.


over 3 years ago IORA83

Refreshing and lovely salad. I have never thought about how roasted squash can actually be a substitute for croutons in a salad. Great idea to use in other salads too.


over 3 years ago met0813

Made this last night and we loved it (everything's better with cheese)! Decided we need to have it a few times a week, even. :) Thanks for posting!!


over 3 years ago catskill weather

i made this and threw in some chopped apples.....delicous!


over 3 years ago mizerychik

I'm definitely going to try this next week, after I go to the market. I'm deathly allergic to almonds, but I have some roasted pumpkin seeds that I think would play off the flavors of the squash and kale nicely.


over 3 years ago MOMMAK75

This was one of the most amazing uses of kale. I am totally addicted to this salad.


over 3 years ago MOMMAK75

This was one of the most amazing uses of kale. I am totally addicted to this salad.


over 3 years ago Jenb42

I was out of nuts so toasted the butternut squash seeds and used them instead. Lovely!!


over 3 years ago denise37

I brought this to a community dinner and it was a big hit! I had bought a kale salad mix and Whole Foods and then found this recipe and used it. I was really easy, very fresh and something different that people had not had. I will make again for sure!


over 3 years ago StephyB

I made this for dinner last night - it was outstanding! (I am totally buying more kale today) I substituted apple for the squash, doubled the lemon juice (equal parts lemon and oil) and used some lemon avocado. The only reason I didn't eat the entire bowl - was that I needed something for lunch today.


over 3 years ago rlb296

This was delicious! I didn't have the right kind of kale, so I steamed it just a bit to make it more tender. I will definitely make this again.


over 3 years ago Jrsbaking

Very tasty dish. Can be a side salad or the main dish. Super delish! i might add currants or raisin next time.


over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I added some chopped, crisp apples and it was wonderful!


over 3 years ago cancook

Made this last night to serve with braised short ribs my good friend made from this site. Off-the-charts delicious and the perfect antidote for Chicago's first heavy snowstorm. Yummers!!!


over 3 years ago Rachel Gaffney

Being Irish, Kale, root vegetables are IT for me... Thank you for sharing. Delicious


over 3 years ago ECava

The only way I could have liked this salad more is if I went to Northern Spy and had them do all the work. :) Thanks for sharing!


over 3 years ago Mianna

Soooo good! I made this last night with lacinato kale that was conveniently on sale @ Whole Foods along with their fabulous, warm, out of the oven Seeduction loaf. My 12 year old son was skeptical, loved it and even talked about it today!


over 3 years ago lynnegreen

Made this last night. It was our first kale salad and will definitely not be our last! Unable to find the aged cheddar so used parmesan, but want to try it with the cheddar. We served it with another recipe from Food 52, Misoyaki Roast Chicken with Shoyu Onion Sauce. This salad was a perfect compliment. I had hoped to have leftovers of it for lunch today, but the salad bowl was practically licked clean!


over 3 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

Made this tonight for dinner. Fabulous!!!!


over 3 years ago annaknitsetc

I made this without the cheddar and extra parmesan. My roommate and I loved it!


over 3 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

I made this today; used a bit more olive oil than necessary to roast the squash, then used in the dressing the squash-infused oil from the roasting pan. Didn't have any Cabot cheddar, but Dubliners did a great job standing in. Excellent salad!! And so, so pretty, too. ;o)


over 3 years ago kvass2

As you are on the subject of kale might I suggest my way of dealing with that stem problem which also afflicts
sorrel leaves. Use you pizza wheel. It is fast and efficient.


about 3 years ago BocaCindi

Brilliant! Thanks for this great idea.


over 3 years ago Lisa Cole

I have been looking for a great kale recipe ever since a friend made it for me after my mother passed away. Will try it with apples, per AlohaGirl too! Thanks for the funny article & great recipe!


over 3 years ago AlohaGirl

This is the best use of kale ever! I did not have squash (and my husband hates it) so substituted crisp apple slices as chef suggested. Kale is tender and wonderful done this way. The combo of flavors actually made my family say they like it better than spinach salad or arugula. What a simple yet elegant way to get the benefits of kale weekly. Better raw than sauteed, we say. This will be a staple salad and can be done in variations, such as the candied walnut sprinkle I added. The dressing makes it and ties it together. Will give recipe to my married daughter for her family since even her kids will like this.