Welcome to the most incredible kale salad, ever! That’s a bold statement, I know. But seriously, there’s not much this Lemon Garlic Kale Salad with Almonds can’t do. It’s … Super Salad! (I said that in a superhero voice … does that work? No? Okay, moving on …)
Reasons I’m in love with this kale salad recipe
Why do I love it? Well, for a few reasons, but in a nutshell:
1) It tastes SO good. It’s crunchy and tangy and a little salty and a little garlicky and hard to stop eating.
2) With the almonds lending protein and hearty fats, a bowlful of this kale salad makes the perfect lunch (it’s even better with some sliced avocado over the top!) and
3) You can make it ahead of time – it just hangs out in the fridge, getting better every day. Seriously – isn’t half the barrier to eating salad all the prep that’s involved? With this kale salad recipe, you make it once and it’s just there ready for days, waiting for you to grab a little every time a salad craving strikes.
This recipe is from the New York Times, lightly adapted, plus I’ve added a vegan option that, I think, is an extra delicious way to enjoy this salad.
The simple yet flavorful garlic-infused olive oil and lemon juice dressing is so sublime, perfect tossed with kale leaves thinly sliced into an almost slaw-like situation. Between the thinly sliced kale and the acid-wielding power of the lemon, there’s no need to massage this one!
Then we have the copious amount of both Parmesan cheese and sliced almonds, the cheese adding umami for days and the almonds giving a satisfying crunch with every bite. But if you’re not about the cheese, just try nutritional yeast. It’s delicious!
I’ve always wondered why the New York Times doesn’t include almonds in the title of the recipe because truly this kale salad recipe is all about the almonds. It’s almost as much an almond salad as a kale salad!
Why share this kale salad recipe now? Because it’s the perfect make-ahead salad for the holidays, that’s why!
We’ve been enjoying this kale salad for years now, and I thought that there could not be a better time to share it with you. Because while you’re planning your Thanksgiving menu or the dish you’re bringing along with you, this salad could not be more perfect for Thanksgiving. Why? Because you can make it ahead of time – even a day, or two, or more! In fact, the longer this salad sits (within reason of course!), the more tender the kale leaves get.
More Kale Salad Recipes from Kitchen Treaty
Massaged Kale Salad with Avocado & Chickpeas
Epic Winter Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Baby Kale, & Avocado
Kale Caesar Salad with Tofu Croutons & Kalamata Caesar Dressing
Lemon Garlic Kale Salad with Almonds
Ribbons of leafy kale, dressed with lemony, garlic-infused olive oil then tossed with a mountain of crunchy toasted almonds and, if you like, loads of parmesan cheese. Make ahead of time for an easy holiday side or meal-prep situation!
- 2 cups sliced almonds (6 ounces)
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 medium lemons)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 4 each cloves garlic (medium in size, crushed with a knife, peeled, and used whole)
- 10-12 ounces kale leaves (stems discarded; weighed after stemmed; about 2 big bunches*)
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional; can leave the cheese out or substitute 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for vegan version**)
Toast the almonds
Place a skillet over medium heat and add the almonds. Cook, stirring frequently to avoid burning, until fragrant and beginning to turn golden. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Make the dressing
Combine lemon juice and salt (NYT calls for a heaping teaspoon of salt but I feel that’s a bit too much so I add a solid teaspoon then add a bit more at the end if I think it’s needed). Drizzle in olive oil in a small stream while whisking to help dressing emulsify. Plop in the garlic cloves and set aside. The garlic will steep, adding some nice garlicky flavor, then you’ll remove the cloves before dressing the salad.
Assemble the salad
Top with cooled almonds and parmesan cheese (if using). Remove garlic cloves from dressing, give the dressing another stir to make sure it’s all mixed evenly, and pour half of the dressing over the salad. Toss well. I like to use my hands and give the kale a bit of a massage while mixing but with the kale being sliced into thin ribbons I find massaging is not expressly needed. Add more dressing if needed along with salt if desired. Save remainder of dressing in the fridge for another time. Serve; but this salad keeps wonderfully in the fridge for 3-4 which is one reason why it is a fave around here!
**Vegan version – omit the Parmesan cheese. The salad is plenty good without, but I like adding in 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast instead for a nice hit of umami flavor.
Calories: 369kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 35g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 23g, Trans Fat: 0.003g, Cholesterol: 10mg, Sodium: 489mg, Potassium: 259mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 2951IU, Vitamin C: 30mg, Calcium: 302mg, Iron: 1mg