Make Ahead

Perfect Kale Salad

January 21, 2014
1 Rating
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

  • Serves 2-4, depending on portion size
  • 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
In This Recipe
  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