My best friend’s dad is seriously one of the best cooks I have ever met in my life. Megan and I grew up together, and I remember when I would go to her house for dinner, I would always be totally obsessed with anything her dad made. Baaaasically what I’m saying is that he rocks.
Anyway, I went to visit Megan and my other best friend in North Carolina for New Years Eve this year, and I stayed at Megan’s house with her Iron Chef father. He made dinner for his family every night, and I always snuck one (and by one, I mean several) bites of everything he made. IT WAS ALL SO GOOD. The thing that blew my mind the most was a delicious kale salad he made one evening.
It’s raw kale. In a salad. Just raw kale…I never, ever, ever thought that raw kale could taste so delicious. Hidden in a smoothie? Yes. Cooked in a soup? Yes. Raw in a lightly dressed salad?? No! But I was so wrong.
I knew right when I tried it that I needed to recreate his delicious salad for the blog. It fits in perfectly with what I love most – healthy food that tastes wonderful.
The crazy thing about this salad?? It’s so simple! Here’s what is in it:
- Sliced almonds
- Parmesan cheese
- Lemon Vinaigrette (also very simple)
Another thing I love about this recipe is that it can sit in the fridge for several days without becoming wilty and ruined. Salads are never like that…you pretty much eat them fresh or you don’t eat them at all. Especially if they are already dressed. A dressed salad sitting in your fridge = wilty, gross mess.
Since kale is such a hearty green, it can sit in the fridge, dressed, for several days and still be delicious! Case and point: I made this salad on Saturday, and I had it for lunch today. It wasn’t wilted, but it did soak up most of the dressing. The only extra thing you need to do if you let this sit in your fridge for a while is drizzle a little extra dressing on the greens before eating, and even that is totally optional.
So, kale is naturally a very tough green. Before the kale obsession swept America several years ago, we mainly saw it as a decoration in salad bars…poor kale. Because it is so tough, if you are using it raw in a salad (like this) I would recommend massaging it first.
Sounds super weird, right? I felt the same way and was slightly convinced that I would look like an idiot for five minutes and the kale would be zero percent different. I placed a few leaves aside and massaged the rest to see if I could really tell the difference. And I will tell you, people, I am a massaged kale convert. Yes, you will feel very strange kneading a pile of greens for several minutes on your cutting board, but do it anyway! Because it makes a huge difference!
The leaves transform from tough to tender as the cellulose structure breaks down. Even the color changes to a deeper, darker green! The leaves also reduce in size a bit. I would knead the kale for about three to five minutes, but a taste test will really be your guide – the kale should no longer be bitter. The massage really makes it quite delicious ?.
Mmm…massaged kale. Massaged kale sprinkled with fresh grated Parmesan and thin, slivered almonds. And the dressing! We can’t forget the dressing…lemon juice, olive oil, grated garlic, dijon mustard (yaassss), and salt/pepper…such a delicious, simple dressing that is perfect for this salad. Just make it…MAKE IT!
Bonus: this recipe is so good for you; I mean seriously, seriously good for you.Doesn’t it make you happy to eat healthy super foods like this?? It makes me happy. It makes me look like this dude > ?.
Thanks, Mr. Burton, for inspiring this delicious salad!!
Watch how to make this kale salad here:
Simple Kale Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Yield: 5 servings 1x
- 2 bunches kale, fibrous stems (in the middle of the leaf) removed
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- For the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic, grated
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- For the kale, remove the fibrous stems, leaving you with just the greens. On your cutting board, pile all the leaves on top of each other and massage with your hands for about three to five minutes, until the leaves are no longer bitter. You use a similar motion as you would kneading bread! Move the leaves around every several kneads so you aren’t massaging some more than others. I know it sounds weird, but it really works!!
- Slice the massaged kale into bite size pieces
- To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined
- To assemble the salad, place the kale, almonds, and Parmesan into a large bowl. Top with dressing and toss to combine
- You may need less dressing (or maybe a little more) depending on the size of your bunches of kale. Just dress to your preference. The dressing is super easy to whip up if you need to make a little extra (for extra large bunches!)
*This recipe is gluten free*
If you make this or any of my other recipes, be sure to Instagram it and hashtag #thegarlicdiaries!
In the mood for more yummy salad recipes? Check these out: