This Kale Salad Benefits From a Little Rest

February 2, 2022Recipe Development

Kale salad is a trend I’ll never give up on. Especially because it’s even better made ahead of time.

Kale Salad Ingredients GIF

Any tossed salad usually has at least some make-ahead potential. You can wash the lettuce and whisk the dressing in advance, but typically, you’d want to refrigerate them separately and toss just before serving so you don’t end up with a sad, soggy salad.

Using a hardier green changes that equation, which is why I’m such a fan of this kale salad. It holds up well after marinating in the dressing for a few days, which encourages the kale, onion and raisins to soften. In fact, it’s even better with more time. A garnish of nuts lends nice crunch.

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Kale Salad Recipe Notes

  • I’ve used Tuscan kale (aka dinosaur, cavolo nero, lacinato) here. But any variety of kale – or a combo – works just as well.
  • I dig the zinginess of red wine vinegar in the dressing, but white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar or lemon juice also would be nice.
  • If you want to keep this vegan, sub nutritional yeast for the Parm.
  • I like the smokiness of the almonds, but any kind of toasted nut will do the trick. Be sure to add the nuts just before serving so they stay crunchy.
  • Embellish with any other goodies you like. Citrus sections add a pretty pop of color and sweetness. Diced avocado add a creamy touch.
  • It’s easy to upgrade this kale salad to an entrée. Just add any cooked protein you like: cooked chicken or shrimp, hard-boiled eggs, chickpeas, etc., all do the trick.

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Make-Ahead Kale Salad recipe

Make-Ahead Kale Salad

This serves four as an appetizer or two as a meal.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer, Salad
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 1 chef's knife
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 Microplane zester


  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (7-oz) bunch kale, cleaned, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces cleaned, trimmed, and torn into bite-size pieces
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped smoked almonds
  • flaky sea salt (for garnish, optional)


  • In a large bowl, whisk the first 5 ingredients. Add the kale, onion, and raisins, tossing well to coat. Let stand 30 minutes before serving (or refrigerate for up to 3 days). Serve garnished with almonds and, if desired, a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.
Keyword vegetarian


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