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Raw Kale Salad with Pecorino (or Parmesan) and Lemon

Raw Kale Salad with Pecorino (or Parmesan) and Lemon found on KalynsKitchen.com
Love how this Raw Kale Salad marinates before it’s served.

For a few years now I’ve been growing kale. I started with Red Russian Kale, a milder variety that’s good for salads, and I loved it in Red Russian Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw. This year I grew dark green Curly Leaf Kale, and after I heard about raw kale salads with dark green kale on several food blogs, I decided to try it. I mentioned to my neighbor Brooke that I’d made a salad with raw kale that’s marinated for an hour before you eat it, and she had the idea of serving this mixed with some other types of lettuce, which I think would also be good, but I ate the raw kale salad just like you see it in the photo, and really enjoyed it.

The hour of marinating time really softens the texture and flavor of the kale, but I’d say this salad is only for people who really like the slightly bitter flavor of dark greens. I used the smaller leaves of kale from my garden to make this, which I recommend if you have garden kale. Kale is also a great cold weather plant, so it’s not too late to plant some if you’re doing some fall gardening.

I washed and dried about 8 oz. small kale leaves in the salad spinner, then thinly sliced it. (If you have larger kale leaves, cut away the stems before you slice the kale.)

Then toss the kale with the Pecorino or Parmesan cheese.

Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil.

Use a wooden or plastic spoon to toss the kale with the dressing, rubbing with the spoon so some oil is “massaged” into the kale. Then let salad sit for 1 hour. Toss again before serving.

Raw Kale Salad with Pecorino (or Parmesan) and Lemon
(Makes 2-4 servings, adapted from Kale Salad with Pecorino and Lemon at The Kitchn.)

6-8 oz. raw kale leaves, washed, dried, and sliced into strips
1/3 cup (about 1 oz.) coarsely grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
2 T fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 T extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste, for serving


Wash kale leaves and spin dry or dry with paper towel. If the kale has thick ribs, cut them away, then slice into ribbons about 1/2 inch thick. Put kale strips into a plastic or glass salad bowl. Add coarsely grated cheese, and toss.

In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Pour over kale and cheese, then use a large wooden spoon or plastic spoon to stir the salad, “massaging” the dressing into the kale leaves so they’re all well coated with dressing. Let salad sit at room temperature for 1 hour.

After salad marinates for one hour, stir, season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve.

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South Beach Suggestions:

This nutritious salad would be a good side dish salad for any phase of the South Beach Diet or any other type of low-glycemic eating plan.

More Salad Ideas with Kale:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Red Russian Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw from Kalyn’s Kitchen
Esalen Kale Salad from Jane Spice Recipes
Massaged Kale Salad with Grated Root Vegetables and Avocado from I Heart Kale
Raw Kale Salad with Oranges from Elana’s Pantry
Cauliflower and Kale Salad
from Steamy Kitchen
Raw Kale Salad from Albion Cooks
Crazy Simple Raw Kale Salad from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs
Kale and Carrot Salad from Food in Jars
Kale Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing from Dishing Up Delights
Kale Slaw with Peanut Dressing from The Kitchn
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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25 comments on “Raw Kale Salad with Pecorino (or Parmesan) and Lemon”

  1. I'm getting ready to pull up one pot of my tomatoes since they're just about done and would love to plant some kale to experiment. This sounds like a great, healthy dish. Bitter greens are a favorite so I know I'd really like this.

  2. i just found your blog. what an amazing resource! thank you!

  3. Kelly, this is the perfect time to plant kale, go for it!

  4. Anonymous, we must have been writing our comments at the same time. Thank you, glad you like it!

  5. I think raw kale salad is my favorite salad EVER. No matter what the dressing or accompaniments, it's always a hit with me. Yours sounds terrific–next on my "to try" list! Thanks, Kalyn. 🙂

  6. Ricki, I loved it too. I want to try all the different types of kale salad!

  7. I love this preparation of kale salad. Looking forward to trying more ways to eat kale. Thanks for your great post as always.

  8. Jeannette, you're welcome. It's a very tasty and fresh way to use kale.

  9. I just bought a big bunch of kale at our Farmers Market tonight. I have been adding it to my morning smoothies, but I would like to try it in a salad with your recipe. Thanks!

  10. Jane, if you like it in smoothies, I'm guessing you'll like this.

  11. I am one of those people who hasn't fallen in love with the bitter taste of dark greens, except spinach. Still, this salad looks beautiful and oh so healthy.

  12. Lydia, I bet you might like the Red Russian Kale, but probably not this dark green type. The red kale is much sweeter!

  13. Really like this idea. So far I mainly use kale in a hodgepodge, but this looks so fresh.

  14. Kay, as long as you enjoy that dark leafy greens flavor, I think you would love it!

  15. One of my biggest surprises in the last year or so has been learning how much like kale. Smoothies (not too SB friendly I realize) and salads are the way I use kale. BTW, you don't even have to cut away the stem, tough center part. You can just do it with a quick hand "trick." Hold kale leaf stem with right hand. Take left hand and using thumb and forefinger formed into an "o," start beside other finger and pull your "o" to the left while you pull your right hand to the right–all very quickly. This act pulls off the leaf from the stem and you can then discard the stem. You can do it in a second. Most people probably know how to do this already, but it was news to me, so I thought I'd share.

    Thanks so much for this recipe, Kalyn. I'm thinking it would be great for my support group meeting on Monday. 🙂


  16. Olive oil, pecorino, and lemon juice. Those are some seriously all-star ingredients you have there. It's no wonder this salad tastes delicious!

  17. Shirley, love the trick for pulling off the stems. And I have a lot more kale, so I plan to try it soon!

    Joanne, agreed, those three flavors would make most any vegetable taste great!

  18. I love how bright and vibrant your kale is. Gorgeous salad!

  19. Maria, I may just be odd, but I think the curly kale is really pretty!

  20. The way I include raw kale in my dish is in a smoothie 🙂

  21. Kale is one of the best sources of calcium. I love it, and this recipe looks delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Tigerfish, haven't had smoothies with kale, but it sounds delicious.

    Jessica, if you like kale, you'll like it.

  23. I love this salad. I first had it at True Food, a restaurant here in Phoenix where Dr. Weill helped develop the menu. Do you have other favorite kale recipes?

  24. Martha, I agree it's simple and very tasty.

    To find my other recipes with kale, just type "kale" into the search bar and they will all come up.

  25. I have some kale from the winter farmer's market and I think it will be salad for dinner tomorrow night

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