kale salad recipe

  For the past 4 years or so I’ve been eating this kale salad almost every single day from summer until my black kale finally dies back in January or February.

Black Kale, the only vegetable to be known by more names than Puff Daddy, is a less bitter kale than what you might be used to. Under most circumstances it is also less bitter than Puff Daddy.

Black Kale also goes by the stage names: Tuscan Kale, Lacinato Kale, Cavolo Nero or Dinosaur Kale.

Black Kale is the only kale I like.

Which is a good thing because as far as Kale goes (which we all know is a “superfood” blah, blah, blah) Black Kale has some very specific benefits.

The Health Benefits of Black Kale
  1. Black Kale contains a thing in its cells that gets converted to another “thing” once it’s chewed.  This second “thing” has been proven to inhibit and destroy cancer cells.  You will get 10X the anti-benefits if you eat the kale RAW.  Here’s one of the studies if you’re the medical journal type.  The “thing” is called aIsothiocyanates (ITCs) by the way.
  2. Kale is also anti-inflammatory which helps with arthritis, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
  3. Per gram, kale is packed with more calcium than milk.
  4. In 2013 a study was done and preliminary findings were that Black Kale in particular  had neuroprotective and immunomodulatory effects.  This means Black Kale is now being studied as something that could provide health benefits for people with MS.

A bit of research showed me that Black Kale is particularly good for you.  We have also learned on our little journey today that you get 10 X, TEN TIMES, the health benefits in terms of kale being an anti-cancer agent if you eat it raw.  I didn’t know that. All I knew is that I really like this kale salad and I eat it a lot.

I’ve talked about it for years now and I figured with fresh, locally grown kale available to one and all, this would be the perfect time to lay it on you.

It’s my favourite salad for 3 reasons:  It has very few ingredients, it’s easy to make and you can dress this salad and leave it in the refrigerator for a week and it doesn’t go soggy.

kale salad recipe

The actual salad is made up of just 3 things.  Black kale, parmesan cheese and toasted breadcrumbs (or croutons).  That’s it.

So the only prep work is making the dressing and cutting the kale.


kale salad recipe

Kale has tough ribs so I remove those first.  Just slice down either side of the rib and pull it away from the kale.  Then, because even though black kale is the least tough of all the kales, you still need to slice it fairly thin to make it easier to chew.  I mean, it IS kale after all.  I cut my kale into anything from 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide strips across the width of the kale.

kale salad recipe

Then I pour on my dressing (recipe at the bottom of this post) and perform the MOST important task with ANY kale salad.  I touch it.  I caress it.  I give it a massage.

kale salad recipe

Massaging the kale does 2 things.  It helps open the cell structure which makes the kale less tough and it allows the dressing to enter the kale giving it better flavour.  Kind of like simmering a stew.  Massage the salad and then put it in the fridge for a day.  You can eat it right away but it’s much better after it’s been massaged and recuperated from it’s massage for 24 hours.

kale salad recipe

When you want to eat it, just pull a handful out of the bowl, top it with shaved or grated parmesan cheese and some toasted breadcrumbs.  I use spelt crumbs when I can find them otherwise I just crunch up a few croutons with my fingers and sprinkle them over the salad.


The beauty of this black kale salad is you can prep and dress it at the beginning of the week and just grab handfuls of it when needed. PLUS it actually tastes good.
4 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Tuscan
Author: The Art of Doing Stuff


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves minced then mashed
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Big pinch of red pepper flakes1-2 bunches of kale depending on the size of your family and their appetite for kale
  • Parmesan cheese to taste shaved or grated
  • Bread crumbs or croutons


  • Prep kale by removing ribs and cutting leaves into 1/4" - 1/2" strips.
  • Whisk together the first 6 ingredients.
  • Pour dressing over prepped kale.
  • Massage dressed salad then refrigerate overnight.
  • Add big shavings of parmesan cheese and a handful of croutons or crumbs and serve.
  • Salad will keep, dressed, in the fridge for up to a week.

If you want to make this salad UNFORGETTABLE, try sprinkling some Buzz Button flower petals on top of it. Not sure what those are? O.K., you have to learn about Buzz Buttons immediately. They make your whole mouth tingle and dance.  You can even grow them yourself.

Two other things that help me out with making this the easiest salad ever is using one of my favourite kitchen tips, this little premeasured salad dressing bottle DIY and keeping the kale fresh in one of these bags prior to prepping it.

For someone who couldn’t get their ass in gear to write this post I’ve managed to work this simple salad recipe into a whopping 1,200 words.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to “lie on the grass under trees on a summer’s day”.  Rolling around like a bag of Monarch Cheetos.


  1. Sue says:

    Ok, so i HAD to make this because I have cancer and i love healthy foods..(thank you Karen! ) this salad & dressing are AMAZING & DELICIOUS!
    I already ordered seeds for next year & look forward to growing it in the garden my son made for me during covid.
    I am sharing this salad with my boys & parents…that’s right, i bought ALL the kale from my health food store LOL

    • Karen says:

      Well that is an enthusiastic review! :) If that is your level of enthusiasm over a salad, I imagine kicking cancer’s ass should be a piece of cake for you. :) ~ karen!

  2. SF says:

    I made this salad with “curly” kale, which I generally like much less than the variety of kale you used (but the latter is harder for me to find). Within a couple hours of being dressed, it was delicious. Likewise, the next day it was awesome. Loved it! By the third day, though, it was turning brown and smelling weird. I had to throw the rest away, which was a bummer. Maybe the type of kale? I’m not sure. But I’ll definitely use the recipe again for smaller batches!

  3. Natalie says:

    I have a big garden and grow lots of Tuscan (+aliases) Kale . I don’t like how the curly kinds feel in my mouth. Here are 4 more ways to use it that most of my guests really like, even love. (I don’t massage the kale, I just dress it and let it sit in the refrigerator. It softens up all by itself.)

    Kale Salad #1: To stripped and ripped kale, add chopped dried figs, chopped Italian parsley, toasted nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, whatever you like) and crumbled blue cheese. Dress with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. I eat it by the trough.

    Kale Salad #2: To stripped and ripped kale, add grated parmesan or romano cheese ( I like bigger grated shreds, not tiny grated granules) chopped pears, and a handful of crushed amaretti cookies. Sounds weird, but the cookies add just a hint of a flavor and sweetness nobody ever can identify. Dress with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper again. Get out your trough again to serve yourself.

    Wilted Kale Italian style: throw the stripped and ripped kale into a big frying pan with a little water. Cover and cook until it wilts, then remove from pan. Add olive oil to pan, saute some garlic, a handful of nuts and raisins together a bit. Then add kale, dance this mess around à la B-52’s old hit, add salt and pepper to taste. Yum.

    Kale and apple juice: I find kale juice plain to be , in your words, yuk. But if you juice it with dilute it with apples (maybe half and half??) and some water and ice, it’s great.

  4. Korrine Johnson says:

    I finally made this and WOoooOW!!! I will likely be eating it nightly, just like you. Thank you!!!

  5. Kea says:

    I’m eating this out of the tupperware right now. Partially because it’s good, and partially because it’s the only food in the fridge and I’m lazy. I have added hemp hearts and various seeds, so it’s practically a meal, right? plus it’s healthy!

  6. Stephanie says:

    Made the salad exactly as written. Came out perfect and so delicious. Thank you!!!

  7. Melissa Keyser says:

    The only thing I got from this post was the shock of you cutting kale on your marble counters. WHAT! I know you wouldn’t do that! I’m still a bit disturbed.

    I just took a food styling workshop, and after every scene, I couldn’t help but think “that’s not practical”. Pretty, yes, but not practical. I’m considering renaming my blog to “cat hair and stained tea towels” but I might be the only person who wants practical, believable things.

    • Karen says:

      I cut on that marble all the time. It’s an antique marble countertop that’s covered in stains, etching and cracks. Which is how I like it. You can cut on almost any stone surface. The only thing that might happen is your knife will dull more quickly. And yes sometimes bloggers do put up things that might be seen as impractical but there’s often a practical reason for it. Like lighting options or how things look differently in a photo than they do in real life. Chairs need to be angled, plants moved etc. to fit into a shot. That’s just the way it is. It has nothing to do with trying to fool the world. Not in my case anyway. ~ karen!

  8. Donna says:

    Thank You for this post! Just learned so much! Now Kale sounds delicious!

  9. Karen says:

    Good god almighty! This salad is the bomb! I have never been a kale lover but sought out some black kale this week and prepped the salad yesterday. Ate it for lunch today and seriously was so happy, loved it so, so much! Amazing how it will keep so nicely. Thank you so much for sharing, have been waiting (im)patiently ever since you mentioned it was coming.

    • Karen says:

      Glad you liked it! Last night I had the last of the one I made up *over* a week ago. Still perfect. :) ~ karen!

  10. Sondra says:

    Karen, do love even your ramblings because I know you are always going some place interesting before you are finished and this posting was not disappointing.

    Used to have a HUGE garden and kale and collard greens were always on my favorites list to grow and eat. Don’t have a viable garden any longer, since my husband tended to it and he’s now old and not well so the garden has gone to weeds! Sad but I already have way more on my hands to deal with to think of tackling the garden too so I buy my kale these days. I’m just lucky it’s healthy so expecting a wide variety of choices is probably too much to ask the grocery chains in Maine, LOL!

    BTW, I bought one of those supposedly “GREAT” kale strippers and in my opinion it’s a colossal flop! You can’t get it to work on the big tough leaves and it breaks up the tiny leaves. Easiest way to strip kale from the stalks is a very sharp paring knife, hold the leaves vertical and just run the knife down the stalk on both sides. Quick, easy and definitely not frustrating.

    Since I do love kale and had a freshly prepared batch in the refrigerator I fixed a garlic shrimp salad last night with thinly sliced curly kale and spinach, fresh diced BIG juicy tomatoes and cucumbers plus lots of slivers of parmesan cheese dressed with a raw cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, Dejon mustard, s&p dressing! Delicious.

    • Kathys says:

      Salad sounds great.

      I like the stripper because I am too good a chopping fingers with sharp knives. I need to dumb it down a little. My hand/eye coordination leaves something to be desired.

  11. Lisa says:

    I have a ridiculous amount of Kale in my garden, so I’m definitely going to try this. I had no idea how prolific a producer Kale is! I figured a few plants would keep our family of 4 stocked for salad for the summer. However, even after I fill up produce bags with cuttings, the garden still looks exactly the same. I swear the plants all pop out several new leaves every night, especially with all the rain we’ve had in the GTA.

  12. Linda says:

    Do chickens like kale? (Hint) Let’s hear about the ladies!! What’s new?

    • Dawn says:

      Chickens (at least my four girls!) LOVE kale! LOVE. My son calls them the kale eradication team because they will strip down a plant like piranhas! It’s SO good for them – and good for us in the form of rich eggs! : )

  13. JulieD says:

    Keeps for week in the fridge? Sounds like my kind of salad!

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