Make Ahead

Kale Salad with Salami, Pecorino, and Walnuts

September 28, 2018
14 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Makes 4 large salads
Author Notes

Every bite of this filling, easy-to-prep kale salad is different and interesting given its big jumble of flavors and textures: rich salami, crisp apple, chewy-tart cranberries, sharp-salty pecorino, and toasty walnuts. It’s all tied together by a lemon-walnut vinaigrette that features a nifty hack for walnut oil: Finely grate walnuts with a microplane (they’ll look like a snowy mound on your counting board!) and whisk them into your vinaigrette. Not only do they add body and texture, but their natural oils infuse with the olive oil, essentially creating a walnut oil without the need to buy those pricey, perishable bottles! Other nuts such as pecans, almonds, and hazelnuts can be treated the same way. Like with most kale salads, this one gets better after it sits and can be made up to a full day in advance. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • For the lemon-walnut vinaigrette
  • 8 toasted walnut halves
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest + 3 tablespoons juice from 2 lemons
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper, or a lesser amount of red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, to taste
  • For the rest of the salad
  • 1 large tart apple (such as honey crisp), cored, halved, and thinly sliced
  • 2 bunches Tuscan kale, trimmed, ribs removed, and sliced into thin ribbons (about 8 to 9 cups in total)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup toasted and chopped walnuts (use leftover walnut pieces from vinaigrette)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or another dried fruit in bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino romano (or another hard, nutty cheese)
  • 1 cup salami (about 3 ounces), sliced into thin ribbons
  1. To make the vinaigrette: With a microplane, grate the walnuts, one at a time, until you have 3 tablespoons of shavings. (Tip: grate about 3/4 of each walnut, taking care to not nick your fingers, and save the leftover walnut pieces for the salad.) In a bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the grated walnuts with the lemon zest (use the same microplane to zest the lemon) and the rest of the ingredients. Whisk (or shake) until emulsified and adjust salt and acidity to taste.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the apple slices with about a tablespoon of the vinaigrette to prevent discoloration. Set aside.
  3. Add kale to a large salad bowl, and season with a few pinches of kosher salt. Using your hands, toss and massage about 3 to 4 tablespoons of the vinaigrette into the leaves, adding more vinaigrette if needed (I usually don't use the full amount). Toss in the apples and remaining ingredients. Serve immediately, or make up to a full day in advance. (Note that the apple may lose some of its crispness over a day’s time, so add the apple before serving if you like.)

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Emily Dixon
    Emily Dixon
  • oregon cassie
    oregon cassie
  • EmilyC
  • Linda Worth
    Linda Worth

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

12 Reviews

Emily D. April 21, 2019
Sorry but this freaking delicious. I used truffle infused salami bought on vacation in Rome and dried blueberries. Served with garlic bread made with roasted garlic and we were in heaven.
Emily D. April 21, 2019
Linda W. January 7, 2019
Delicious. I used walnut oil in the dressing instead of grated walnuts as I had some on hand. I enjoyed it even more the second day! There was enough acid to keep the apple from browning and the overall flavor seemed sweeter after the flavors melded together. I'll definitely make again.
EmilyC January 7, 2019
Wonderful to hear, Linda!! Thanks so much for your note!
CM November 27, 2018
Delicious - definitely changed my thinking about combinations of salad ingredients. This would kill at a picnic/potluck.

As a note, I often skip right through the "keeps for XX days" warnings on recipes, but this one is telling the truth! I stretched mine out an extra day by prepping everything and mixing up half the salad one day, then storing the remaining components separately (container of clean dry kale, container of mix-ins, a new apple, and the vinaigrette). That worked for me but I could tell the vinaigrette is best within 24 hours.
EmilyC November 27, 2018
So glad you liked this, CM! Thanks for your notes on stretching the salad for an extra day, too!
Christy M. November 7, 2018
Trying it tomorrow!
EmilyC November 8, 2018
Great—I hope you enjoy it!
oregon C. October 1, 2018
This quick salad will definitely get me out of my normal rotation of salads we have before every dinner. Walnut allergies here — what do you think would be the best substitute—hazelnuts? Looking forward to trying this.
EmilyC October 1, 2018
Hi Cassie! Hazelnuts would be delicious! A larger nut works well for the vinaigrette since you’re shaving them (a great hack for adding nutty flavor to vinaigrettes without buying pricey nut oils!). Just last week I made the same salad with pecans (delicious) and whole almonds (regular or marcona) would be really good too!
bea's K. October 1, 2018
You read my mind! Just had a salad for lunch with kale, chicken, walnuts, pears and balsamic, was thinking how it would be even better with a hard aged cheese. Trying this next :-)
EmilyC October 1, 2018
Fantastic! Hope you enjoy it! : )