Make Ahead

Perfect Kale Salad

January 21, 2014
1 Ratings
  • Serves 2-4, depending on portion size
Author Notes

This salad is nothing fancy, and I mean that in the very best of ways. Each element shines, and the whole is a wonderful confluence of terrific parts. The fresh kale is rubbed aggressively with a lemony garlic oil and then topped with toasted walnuts, tangy-sweet sour cherries and curls of shaved Pecorino.
I eat this salad at least once a week. You get tons of fiber (everything), vitamins (especially C & A from the kale, vit A from the cherries), minerals (Magnesium from the walnuts), healthy fat (nuts and the bit of hard cheese), and this salad is beautiful. It makes a great lunch entree!
PS- My husband, who usually refers to kale as "old shoe" loves this salad too! —em-i-lis

What You'll Need
  • 1 bunch (~9 oz) your favorite kale (Lacinato is nice but so is your standard curly green, as in the pic above)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly peeled and pressed or mashed garlic (usually 3-4 cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup dried sour cherries, chopped if large
  • 1 dozen or so (more if you like) Pecorino strips made by shaving a wedge with a vegetable peeler
  • freshly ground black pepper
  1. Remove the thick center stems from your kale, then wash and dry it thoroughly. Tear into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt, stirring to combine well. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  3. If you've not already, toast your walnuts and chop your cherries if they need it. Put the kale in a large mixing bowl, pour the lemony garlic oil over it and using your hands, aggressively rub the heck out of the kale. This will distribute the dressing, soften the kale and make everything taste looovveeely!
  4. Pour half the walnuts and half the cherries into the salad and toss. Pour the salad out onto a serving platter, top with the remaining walnuts and cherries (the others always sink to the bottom so you're helping to ensure some nut and sweet in every bite). Top with the Pecorino curls and freshly ground black pepper. Serve or wait to serve; it does well both ways.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Regine
  • em-i-lis
  • Lauren Wohl-Sanchez
    Lauren Wohl-Sanchez

5 Reviews

Regine December 5, 2015
And by the way, you are right in naming it Perfect Kale Salad. Next time, I will double or triple the recipe.
Regine December 5, 2015
Oh my goodness. Just made this. So so delicious. Even my 11 year old son loved it. I used already shaved parmesan shaved Belgioioso from Whole Foods as i could not find or was in too much of a hurry to look for pecorino. The dressing was perfect. I used lacinato kale.
em-i-lis December 5, 2015
Hi Regine, I'm so happy you enjoyed this! Your son too. My kids will gobble this as well- always makes me happy! :) thank you for letting me know! Cheers!
Lauren W. February 20, 2015
This salad was great! Simple, easy and very flavorful. Quickly becoming a household standard.
em-i-lis February 20, 2015
Hi Lauren,
Thank you so much for your note. I'm thrilled to hear you enjoy the salad and that it's a repeat star on your table. Mine too! :)