Make Ahead

Lacinato Kale & Mint Salad With Spicy Peanut Dressing

June 28, 2012
27 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Serves 4 as side/2 as main
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. —dymnyno

Test Kitchen Notes

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

  • 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.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Carmyn Alvarado
    Carmyn Alvarado
  • Bridget Ahrens
    Bridget Ahrens
  • Änneken
  • janet tipple
    janet tipple
  • Megan

111 Reviews

Carmyn A. May 7, 2022
Only had green and red kale. Delicious recipe! A keeper!
Ramada O. March 10, 2022
I've made this salad a few times and it's great, but the peanut dressing is the real stand out. Skipping the water leaves the sauce thick, great for wraps, chicken, or just dipping vegetables. If I add only 1 tbsp water it's a great sauce over rice noodles with shrimp basil and mint. Great peanut sauce recipe.
Akiser November 18, 2021
Substituted peanut for almond butter in a pinch and it turned out beautifully. Amen for pomegranate molasses.
Bridget A. October 31, 2021
Good one! Cutting the kale small saves you from having to "massage" it. Delicious dresssing too
arun October 12, 2021
wow nice!
Ronnie.jraitiny February 28, 2021
Wow, we are so happy we found this recipe! Delicious, refreshing, and filling lunch that is now in our rotation in quarantine. Super easy to make and is so flavorful! We have snuck it into the rotation at least twice a week for a few weeks now, and we have yet to get bored of it! We sub tahini instead of peanut butter for preferred flavor and it's an addicting dressing
Änneken July 21, 2020
OMG, what a beautiful recipe! I was just looking for a way to use up leftover mint and I am walking away with what can totally be a great base for grain or seafood salads..yummm!
Andrea M. August 16, 2018
I've been making this recipe on repeat lately - it is so good!
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.
helenj. February 15, 2022
Was there specific honey you used as a substitute for the pomegranate molasses?
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.
Jenny July 13, 2016
Anyone tried this with Tahini instead of peanut butter?
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!
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.
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.
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.
I like an earlier suggestion of adding dried cranberries to add sweetness. I added fresh pomegranate seeds.