Northern Spy's Kale Salad

By • January 6, 2012 • 50 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.
Jump to Comments (50)

Comments (50) Questions (3)


19 days ago MOMMAK75

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


19 days ago Gurleygirl

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


3 days ago Susan W

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


2 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.


3 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!


10 months 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!


10 months 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!


about 1 year ago Erin.Quinn

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


about 1 year 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.


over 1 year 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 1 year ago Angela Brown 1

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


over 1 year 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.


almost 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!!!!


almost 2 years ago ENunn

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


almost 2 years ago Kristen Miglore

Kristen is the Executive Editor of Food52



almost 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.


17 days ago Shannon

Are Marcona almonds easy to find?


almost 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 2 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.


about 2 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!


almost 2 years ago pascale721

me too!


about 2 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 2 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.