Lacinato Kale & Mint Salad With Spicy Peanut Dressing

June 28, 2012

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes:

I try to incorporate kale into our diet as much as possible. Lacinato kale which is sometimes called dinosaur kale is my favorite. Mixed with fresh mint from the garden it makes a salad that I have become addicted to. The dressing works with other salads too.


Food52 Review: WHO: dymnyno is a vintner and winery cook at a vineyard in California.
WHAT: This salad has it all: sturdy greens that won't wilt, and a spicy peanut dressing that'll steal the show.
HOW: Chop kale, mix dressing, and toss.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Sure, we've seen kale salads in countless iterations, but this spicy, peanutty dressing lets us see the green through a different lens. Plus, the salad will hold up well in the fridge, making it a great dish for summer entertaining.
The Editors

Serves: 4 as side/2 as main
Prep time: 10 min


For the Lacinato kale and fresh mint salad

  • 1 bunch (large) lacinato kale, chopped very small, almost minced
  • 1 cup fresh mint, minced
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

For the spicy peanut dressing

  • 3 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
In This Recipe


  1. Toss the chopped kale, chopped mint and the walnuts together. If you haven't made the dressing yet, do that next.
  2. Put the peanut butter, warm water, garlic, rice wine vinegar, pomegranate molasses, soy sauce, minced ginger, sesame oil and red chili flakes into a blender and whirl away at high speed until everything is smooth.
  3. Toss the dressing with the salad. Maybe not all at one time. Pour and toss about half of the dressing and then decide if it needs more.

More Great Recipes:
Salad|American|Mint|Molasses|Peanut|Peanut Butter|Pomegranate|Sesame Oil|Soy Sauce|Vinegar|Walnut|Kale

Reviews (101) Questions (0)

101 Reviews

Andrea M. August 16, 2018
I've been making this recipe on repeat lately - it is so good!<br />I sub pecans or pistachios for the walnuts, and use a bag of prepped kale slaw from my local market.
janet T. July 29, 2018
Kale harvested fresh from the garden is much more tender than any I’ve ever bought in the store. It’s easy to grow and very hardy, endures hot weather and moderately cold temps. Haven’t tried this recipe, but it sounds great and I look forward to trying it.
Megan April 5, 2018
This is one of my all-time-favorites on Food52 and really, anywhere. Been making it for years now! Last night I roasted some shrimp that had been tossed in chili-garlic sauce and palm sugar while I prepped the salad. Honestly, you could hardly taste the shrimp over the strong flavors of the salad, but it was a nice way to add some protein and make it a meal. We'll be making this one for years to come!
goodTasha December 28, 2017
Company holiday potluck submission. Many did not try as it was green and made with kale - those who did, loved. I shared the recipe many times. The entire combination of flavors is fantastic.
KvellintheKitchen June 15, 2017
This dressing is fantastic!! I literally caught my husband eating leftovers straight out of the jar. Honey is an easy sub for more obscure pomegranate molasses and makes this basically a pantry recipe. It also works wonderfully as a summer crudite dip (raw snap peas, radishes, carrots) or chicken satay dressing. Versatile and delicious, this dressing is high in my summer recipe rotation.
julia B. April 18, 2017
Massaging kale first does help to soften it a bit and makes eating raw kale a pleasure... Once I was given the task of making a massaged kale salad for 150 people. Aack ! I lit upon the idea of throwing the sliced greens into our huge 30 quart mixer at work ~ allowing the mixer paddle to do the massaging. Worked great and saved so much time. I use this method at home now for smaller amounts in my 6 quart KitchenAid...with great, fast results. Love this salad ! Spicy peanut sauce is superb !
verborgenheit October 30, 2016
This was absolutely amazing. I used Fancy molasses instead of pomegranate molasses and it was delicious. Everyone practically inhaled it!
ItalianFoodie July 14, 2016
Google pomegranate molasses for on-line sources and other uses.
jelloooojen July 13, 2016
Anyone tried this with Tahini instead of peanut butter?<br />
Anita July 20, 2016
Hey Jelloooojen!!! I am allergic to peanut butter and I have ONLY made this with tahini and it has been sooooo delicious!!! :) I hope you make it...and like it!<br />
Tracey June 19, 2016
Tried this recipe for supper. Didn't have any mint, just kale. Added dried cranberries. It was great! The dressing could definitely be used for many recipes. A keeper :)
suzanne November 17, 2015
This salad is great! Add some chicken its FAB! I might bottle the dressing and package it with ideas for Christmas! Thanks!
Scribbles August 10, 2015
Made this for lunch today topped with fresh tomatoes from my garden - excellent. Love the peanut dressing with the mint and the crunch from the kale and walnuts - satisfies all those senses...thanks!
inflytur August 7, 2015
This is a great recipe. Try it even if you think you don't like kale. <br />Looking at the photo, the kale seems to be a bit softened, to wilted, which makes it tastier and easier to eat. I wonder if instructions left out I step that I have learned to do automatically with kale salads - massaging the kale. <br />Simply crush the cut kale with your hands to soften it up a bit. Doing this after you have put on some dressing makes sure the it gets well dispersed in the salad. <br />I like an earlier suggestion of adding dried cranberries to add sweetness. I added fresh pomegranate seeds.
Sheila E. June 26, 2015
I had a tough time finding the pomegranate molasses myself. Ended up making it with an Alton Brown recipe. Easy... just time consuming.
Lazyretirementgirl September 10, 2016
Amazon has it.
Sandra B. December 9, 2014
Oh yeah -looking good!!
cream C. October 28, 2014
Oh, yum. I made this twice in a row, I was that excited. I might even be in love. This is serious. This first time I followed the directions except for substituting crunchy peanut butter, brown sugar (for pomegranate molasses which for the life of my I cannot track down), and a whole Thai chili pepper (I like I mouth on fire). I skipped the walnuts because I didn't have any. The second time I made it, I made a mixed salad of kale, cukes, tomatoes, and onions. Yum, yum, yum. I think I'll put this sauce on like EVERYTHING from now on (stir fry? steamed veggies? chicken marinade?). Happiness.
Shine July 12, 2014
I made this with crunchy peanut butter for the dressing and left out the walnuts, squeezed in half a lime and used a mix of curly and lacinato kale as I didn't have quite enough of the latter in the garden. The mint is a nice accent flavour.
Remy S. June 10, 2014
I have done the dish with cashews because the buttery, mellow quality is very nice. I would imagine chopped peanuts would taste complementary as well.
NC F. June 10, 2014
For those of us that don't care for walnuts, any suggestions for alternative? Pine nuts ? Pecans ? I'm not an intuitive cook when it comes to substitutions. Thanks for ideas!
Author Comment
dymnyno June 10, 2014
Since there is no bacon or sweet smokey meat in this recipe I used walnuts, but you could use any full flavored nut like pecans or almonds. I wouldn't use pine nuts because they might get too mushy when chopped (like pesto).
Lemongrass&Lime May 14, 2014
Made the dressing by itself and used it to top brown rice, steamed greens and grilled chicken for dinner. It was quite delicious and very easy. Will make again.
gillianknitsalot May 7, 2014
This is SO delicious- made it for my husband & father in law & both thought it was amazing and as heavy meat eaters were surprised at how filling it is too.
Judy April 26, 2014
Made this last night, excellent! It tastes good the next day also.
oregon C. April 21, 2014
Loved this salad! Had to leave out the walnuts because of allergies. Would like to add the crunch next time, what nut would you suggest as a replacement? Wondering what would go well with the yummy peanut dressing.....
Margie K. April 21, 2014
Yes, Remy...grew up on cilantro...good on or in almost anything! Can take the place of many green, leafy herbs.<br />
Remy S. April 21, 2014
I just bulk up the kale a bit when i'm out of mint. Anyone ever try cilantro?
Morgan G. April 21, 2014
Can I replace the mint with something? I am not a fan of mint at all but love kale and peanut dressing
KOKelley January 4, 2014
This salad is a staple in our house. I love everything about it - fresh crunchy kale, the brightness of the mint and the creamy, tangy, sweet, spicy (not too) peanut dressing. I normally make a double batch of everything and just dress the amount we will eat right away. I then manage to sneak in several bowls of the leftovers over the next few days....
Author Comment
dymnyno January 4, 2014
Thanks, KO! I love this salad, even though kale is declared to be one of the food fads of 2013.
fearlessem September 16, 2013
I tried this tonight and while I really loved the concept, I just didn't love the end product. But it may be that it turns out I don't love raw kale, as the dressing was fantastic -- I actually licked every drop from the mason jar I made it in (used a stick blender, which worked great). I thought the kale would wilt more, but my kale -- despite being baby leaves -- stayed very stout even an hour later...
Janex April 21, 2014
Freezing kale prior to suing it will soften it up a lot.
Janex April 21, 2014
Lenore D. July 25, 2013
I added a handful of chopped craisins to this recipe and it was delicious!
khyatt June 27, 2013
This was really good.I had some leftover sauce, and more kale, so the next day I sauteed the kale with garlic and rice wine vinegar, then mixed in the sauce. It was great warm too!
drbabs June 26, 2013
How did I miss this? Congratulations on the wildcard. Can't wait to try it.
EmilyC June 24, 2013
I absolutely love this salad, one of the best kale salads I've ever tasted. Made it tonight alongside thirschfeld's oven braised buttermilk chicken with za'atar. I only make a handful of recipes again and again, and this will be one of them. Congrats on your much deserved Wildcard win!
Rae R. June 21, 2013
Made this tonight. As promised, this has an addictive flavor. The mint and pomegranate molasses was a fantastic flavor combination. The heat level was not for the faint of heart. Will be making this again but I think I may decrease the red pepper a bit.
Marci L. June 21, 2013
Pomegranate molasses? Where do you find that? Thanks! Looks good!
Author Comment
dymnyno June 21, 2013
I have found pomegranate molasses in my local grocery in the ethnic food area. I see that you are in LA so you should have not problem. Whole Foods probably has it.
Kimster June 23, 2013
I found the pomegranate molasses at a Mediterranean Bakery & Deli for only $3.99!
Vic K. June 15, 2013
This is fantastic. Added some pomegranate to the mix for colour and what was planned for left overs was gone even with fussy eaters. Recommend this.
Remy S. June 11, 2013
Extremely satisfying! Does the dressing translate well with noodles or fish? I would think so but am wondering if anyone has given that a go
drollins June 10, 2013
I will be making this salad for the rest of my life. Thank you so much.
LauriL June 15, 2013
I second that!!
mbj913 June 10, 2013
good. added sesame seeds.
ItalianFoodie June 10, 2013
This is great with baby ale; less massaging needed!
TasteFood June 8, 2013
This looks fantastic. I have so much kale in my refrigerator right now, and will make this salad asap.
Jlwmuse June 7, 2013
Sounds delicious! Making this for lunches next week- would you add the dressing the night before, or right when you are ready to eat?
LauriL June 9, 2013
Definitely wait until you're ready to eat it! I made it on Friday for a book club gathering that night and had one serving leftover.<br />Saturday the salad was a soggy mess. I salvaged the walnuts though and and put them on a fresh salad for lunch.
LauriL June 9, 2013
BTW, everyone loved it and asked me to make it for another event this coming Saturday!! I made the pomagranite molasses from scratch as I didn't have access to an Indian market.I halved the juice to only two cups ($6.99!!) and it took 2 hours to reduce to a mere half cup. I've been using the leftover molasses to mix with cold seltzer and it is sooo refreshing!
I used a light hand with the salad dressing (as dymnyno suggests) and my salad held up for the second day. Maybe it was because I had a lot left and the dressing drained a little to the bottom of the bowl?
walkie74 June 7, 2013
Question: would bok choy greens be able to handle this?<br />
Great lunch. Notes to the un- initiated kale user. The fibers of raw kale need to be broken down a bit. I suggest "massaging" the cleaned chopped kale for a few minutes with a bit of salt and lemon juice. Also, if you toast your walnuts before adding them to the kale, the warm nuts help to soften the raw kale. Pomegrante seeds or slivers of kumquat add color and zest to the great recipe.
cookinginvictoria June 6, 2013
Congratulations on the WC win, dymnyno! So excited to make this . . . I have kale and mint ready to harvest right now in my garden. And that peanut dressing sounds fabulous. Lovely recipe for a late spring dinner. :)<br /><br /><br />
The F. June 6, 2013
Amazingly delicious salad when your kale and mint plants have taken over the garden! Only modification is that I added an extra TBSP of peanut butter to thicken it up a little.
Author Comment
dymnyno June 6, 2013
If you want the dressing to be thicker, just skip the addition of warm water.
gingerroot June 6, 2013
Woo-hoo!! Congrats on the well deserved wildcard dymnyno! This looks fabulous and I can't wait to make it.
teri.l.taylor.37 June 5, 2013
Just came across a kale seaweed salad at a street fair.. i could see adding seaweed to this too! yum!
krusher June 5, 2013
Frankly, in the interests of endless creativity, I think fusion cuisine is going slightly mad in some quarters! I love Asian, Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern, other European foods - the lot. Sometimes the experimental fusion cooking is utterly uninteresting to the palate. There I have said it. As everyone has already lauded this recipe, I will honorably prepare it and get back to you.
readerwriter June 5, 2013
How can you honestly make a negative comment on a recipe you haven't even made yet?!
krusher June 5, 2013
By my reckoning, including you, only one person has actually tried this. The recipe has passed the first test of "the reading" which is mandatory for any recipe. I was merely making a statement about the state of experimental fusion cooking, a bug bear of mine, not specifically about this recipe. As I, like you and the other commentators, have not yet tried it but will, the jury is of course out. I applaud enthusiastic cooking and want Food 52 to succeed in every honorable, creative and decent way it can.
savorthis June 6, 2013
I just don't understand what is so crazy and fusiony about the recipe. I make asian-y kale all the time and had it last night with toasted pecans, sesame, sweet glazed carrots, black vinegar and soy. It seems it is just another good platform for a good sauce really. I agree there can be some odd sounding mashups that don't sound good but this doesn't seem odd at all to me.
Author Comment
dymnyno June 6, 2013
I have to admit that the word fusion didn't cross my mind when I made this recipe. I live in California where exposure to the cuisines of many cultures is and has been part of my life since childhood (a very long time ago). Interestingly, when people refer to "fusion" they are usually thinking Asian flavors. I hope you try's quick and easy and healthy.
What a strange comment. I don't see what is fusion about this recipe, at all. Perhaps other than the addition of pomegranate molasses (and that's a far reach). It's a peanut dressing on kale. Either way, I just made this and am closing my laptop to go back for seconds.
jgboston June 5, 2013
the dressing is awesome! I quick steamed kale and added mint afterwards. Very good, added rice to fill it out as main lunch dish
Ruth A. June 5, 2013
Thanks petalpusher. Making this tomorrow to surprise my husband.
Author Comment
dymnyno June 5, 2013
Thank you all for the wonderful comments! I am so happy that you like this recipe.
readerwriter June 5, 2013
I can't get enough of kale! And I love this whole new take on it!
lloreen June 5, 2013
Ooh! Great idea! I think I will make this tonight. I might add some avocado, just for extra creaminess.
ddecrette June 5, 2013
Absolutely loved this salad and so did my young girls (my only change was a tad bit less pepper.)
mbj913 June 5, 2013
excluding ginger, got everything to make this for supper.
Belinda E. June 5, 2013
All I need is mint! I am having this tonight!!!!!
QueenSashy June 5, 2013
Wow. I love this, on my way to the store! Congrats!!!
Of course, I have everything to make this *except* for Kale. Guess I have to make a trip to the store when the little one wakes up!
petalpusher June 5, 2013
Ruth Albino, if you can find a bottle of pomegranate juice, you can simmer it down to become molasses. It lasts forever in the fridge or you use it up right away in so many dishes and dressings. I live in the middle of nowhere, but pomegranate juice was at the health food store.
Ruth A. June 5, 2013
Where can I find pomegranate molasses?
photogirl320 June 5, 2013
I live in a larger city and find it in my local Turkish grocery store. It's considerably less expensive there than in stores like Whole Foods. I think almost any shop carrying Middle Eastern food items would have it.
tattoo55 June 5, 2013
Sounds awesome, but what KIND of mint....
I vote Chocolate Mint. We grow soo much of it and it's amazing!
AntoniaJames June 5, 2013
Or Ginger Mint! That's what I'll be using. I can hardly wait to make this. ;o)
Yay!!! Congrats Mare on your Wildcard Win!!! This salad is PERFECT for me. Love !!!
Kukla June 5, 2013
Congratulations dymnyno on the Wildcard Win! I love your salad and especially the dressing, which can be used for many, many salads with different ingredients!
AntoniaJames June 5, 2013
This totally rocks, dymnyno. Congratulations! ;o) P.S. I can see that dressing going on a lot of other things. Wow.
riverkitchen June 5, 2013
any suggestions for a substitute for the walnuts (somewhat allergic but can have most other nuts)?
ETinDC June 5, 2013
I would try whole roasted peanuts... had a kale salad with peanuts recently and it was good, plus obviously they would go fine with the peanut dressing.
Oui, C. June 5, 2013
This sounds delightful, I can't wait to try it!
slsnyc June 5, 2013
Would almond butter be a poor substitute? My family now has peanut issues. We love kale salads and this sounds great!
Stacey D. June 5, 2013
Our family substitutes sunflower butter for recipes that call for peanut butter (allergies as well).
Erin M. June 5, 2013
Can I substitute syrup for the pomegranate molasses?
robin S. June 5, 2013
Pomegranate syrup is sweet and sour.. So you'd want something to give it a little tanginess, i think
robin S. June 5, 2013
I am plagued with too much mint and blessed with abundant kale in my organic garden. What a perfect pairing! Can't wait to try it!
SusanGiff June 5, 2013
Food52, way to channel Stefan in your review.
SusanGiff June 5, 2013
I meant that in a good way...
Marsha R. June 5, 2013
LOL - I will miss Stefan. Can't wait to try this.<br /><br />
Molly M. June 5, 2013
lacinato is my favorite too, but not always available at my store. can green kale be subbed?
gwynwa May 11, 2013
Just made this with 1 substitution in the dressing. I minced a quarter Serrano pepper instead of red pepper flakes. Delish!!
gingerroot July 5, 2012
I can't wait to try this! Lacinato is my favorite variety too - and we have a vigourous plant in one of our raised beds that won't stop giving. I have everything on hand so will make this soon.
arielleclementine June 29, 2012
sounds wonderful! and such a unique spin on a kale salad!
em-i-lis June 28, 2012
This sounds so interesting, dymnyno. I bet the dressing would be great for tofu too, especially grilled tofu!