Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

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If you’re looking for a tasty way to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet, this is it! This kale salad is tossed with parmesan, lemon, and pine nuts for a bright and fresh flavor combination you won’t be able to resist!

Looking for more amazing summer salads? I’ve got you covered! This watermelon arugula salad, summer cobb salad, and triple berry kale salad are just a few of my many favorites. They have the most incredible flavor! You can find my complete list of salad recipes here.

Top-down view of kale salad in a brown serving bowl, garnished with a lemon.

Delicious Kale Salad Recipe

It has been hot, hot, hot in Utah and so I’ve been gravitating towards recipes that are fresh and cool. This amazing lemon parmesan kale salad has quickly become a favorite of mine! The fresh kale, garlic, shredded parmesan, crunchy pine nuts, and lemony dressing is a combination I can get behind. It’s everything you could want from a summer salad- it’s fresh, light, flavorful, and has the most amazing texture! Don’t get me wrong- I love a good caesar or wedge salad loaded with toppings and dressing, but sometimes simple is best!

This amazing kale salad is just that. So simple, but filled with so much mouthwatering flavor. You only need a handful of simple ingredients to throw it together, (dressing included!) making it the perfect last-minute potluck addition. The nutty, zesty, and cheesy flavors of this salad will complement any dinner perfectly! You’ve got to try it out!

Ingredients Needed to Make Your Salad

This budget-friendly salad uses so many simple ingredients! You probably have most of them ready to go in your kitchen right now. Because this kale salad recipe is so simple, it’s great for customizing. You can mix and match toppings to your preference!

  • Kale Leaves: You’ll want these to be washed and chopped. I use baby kale because it has a more delicate flavor!
  • Lemon Juice: Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor!
  • Olive Oil: Helps all of the seasonings and flavors stick to the greens.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic makes each bite of this kale salad perfectly savory.
  • Kosher Salt: I like using kosher salt for salads because it doesn’t have the bitter aftertaste that table salt does.
  • Cracked Black Pepper: Add to taste to enhance the overall flavor of your kale salad.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Everything is better with parmesan! For the best flavor, try grating your own!
  • Pine Nuts: I love adding these for the crunch. Pine nuts not your thing? No worries! You can use any kind of nut you want here!

How to Make the BEST Kale Salad

Perfect for all of you busy moms out there, it only takes 10 minutes to prepare this salad and dressing. It’s a quick and easy side dish to keep on repeat all summer!

  1. Prep Kale: Remove the rib and stem from the kale leaves. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Rinse: Add the chopped kale to a colander and rinse with warm water.
  3. Dry: Transfer the washed kale to a colander to drain or a salad spinner and spin. Then, transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Toast Nuts: (Optional) If you desire, toast the nuts in a skillet on medium heat until fragrant, stirring often. Set aside. Toasting nuts always brings out the flavor, but it isn’t necessary.
  5. Whisk Together Dressing: In a small bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined and pour over salad.
  6. Toss: Using clean hands, gently massage the dressing into the salad mixture.
  7. Garnish: Top the massaged kale salad with parmesan cheese and toasted nuts. Serve and enjoy!
3-photo collage of salad and dressing being prepared.

Delicious Ways to Customize Your Salad

The bright, savory flavor of this kale salad works well with so many different mix-ins! Here are a few more to try.

  • Add Croutons: Croutons are a great way to add more crunch to your salad. They’ll absorb the delicious lemon dressing, too! Try making some from scratch with this recipe.
  • Swap Dressing: Although I love the combination of lemon and garlic, some other fun dressings to try with this salad are honey mustard and Italian.
  • More Mix-Ins: Try adding in other chopped nuts like pecans, cashews, or slivered almonds. Things like sunflower seeds or dried fruit are great too for added flavor and texture!
  • Lemon Flavor: If you want more lemony goodness in your salad, try adding lemon zest to your dressing or toss it with your greens!

Storing Leftover Kale Salad

Kale is notorious for wilting quickly, so I recommend serving your salad as soon as possible. If you have leftovers, store them in the fridge in an airtight container or cover your bowl with plastic wrap. Your leftover kale salad will stay fresh for 1-2 days.

Closeup of a fork skewering a bite of lemon parmesan kale salad.

Kale Salad

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If you’re looking for a tasty way to incorporate more leafy greens into your diet, this is it! This kale salad is tossed with parmesan, lemon, and pine nuts for a bright and fresh flavor combination you won't be able to resist!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 5

Ingredients
  

  • 5 cups Kale Leaves, washed and chopped
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Cracked Black Pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 3 tbsp Pine Nuts (Any nut works)

Instructions
 

  • Remove the rib and stem from the kale leaves. Chop into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the chopped kale to a colander and rinse with warm water.
  • Transfer the washed kale to a colander to drain or a salad spinner and spin.
  • Transfer the kale to a large bowl.
  • If you desire, toast the nuts in a skillet on medium heat until fragrant, stirring often. Set aside. Toasting nuts always brings out the flavor, but it isn't necessary.
  • To a bowl, add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk until combined and pour over salad.
  • Using clean hands, gently massage the dressing into the salad mixture.
  • Top the salad with parmesan cheese and toasted nuts. Serve and enjoy!


Nutrition

Serves: 5

Serving1cupCalories111kcal (6%)Carbohydrates1gProtein3g (6%)Fat11g (17%)Saturated Fat2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat3gMonounsaturated Fat6gCholesterol3mg (1%)Sodium197mg (8%)Potassium49mg (1%)Fiber0.3g (1%)Sugar0.4gVitamin A41IU (1%)Vitamin C2mg (2%)Calcium61mg (6%)Iron0.4mg (2%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword kale salad, kale salad recipes
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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