Kalyn's Kitchen

Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan

Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan marinates a while in the dressing, which tames down the kale and adds amazing flavor! This salad is amazing with Pecorino-Romano cheese too if you happen to have some of that.

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Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan finished salad in bowl

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 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 this Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan 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 at least 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.

Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan process shots collage

How to Make Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan:

(Scroll down for complete recipe with nutritional information.)

  1. 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.)
  2. Measure out a generous amount of coarsely-grated Parmesan or Pecorino-Romano cheese.
  3. Then toss the kale with the cheese.
  4. 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.
  5. After salad marinates for one hour, stir, season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve.

More Salad Recipes with Kale:

Kale and Red Cabbage Slaw
Baby Kale Salad with Apples
Arugula, Kale, and Gorgonzola Salad with Balsamic Vinegar
Baby Kale Caprese Salad

Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan finished salad in bowl

Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan

Yield 4 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan marinates a while in the dressing, which tames down the kale and adds amazing flavor!


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


  1. 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.
  2. Put kale strips into a plastic or glass salad bowl. Add coarsely grated cheese, and toss.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil.
  4. 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.
  5. Let salad sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  6. After salad marinates for one hour, stir, season to taste with sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, and serve.


Use Pecorino-Romano Cheese if you prefer.

Adapted from Kale Salad with Pecorino and Lemon at The Kitchn.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 125Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 316mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.

If you make this recipe I'd love to hear how it turns out. Leave a star rating or share on social media with the hashtag #KALYNSKITCHEN, thanks!

Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
This nutritious Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan salad would be a good side dish salad for any phase of the original South Beach Diet or any other type of low-glycemic or low-carb eating plan, even Keto.

Find More Recipes Like This One:
Check out Salad Recipes for more tasty salads like this one! Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You can also Follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.

Pinterest image of Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan

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    25 Comments on “Raw Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan”

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

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

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

  4. 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!

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

  6. 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. 🙂


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

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

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

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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!

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

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

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

  16. 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. 🙂

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

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

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

  20. 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.