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Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing

Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing is ready to eat in under 5 minutes.  This kale salad is simple, yet full of flavor from the freshly grated Parmesan, lemon, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.  Serve this easy salad recipe as a side to your favorite meal, or enjoy it as is for a healthy lunch. 

Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing in a bowl.


Do you like kale salads?

I am a big fan and often make this Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing and this Kale Caesar Salad

When I first tried a salad a few years back I wasn’t sold on it.  

Sometimes kale salads are too tough for my liking.  

After some work on different salads using kale, I have realized that massaged kale salads are my favorite way to eat a kale salad.

This Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing is my go-to salad when it comes to kale.

The secret to my kale salad is getting the kale to soften.

To do this I use the lemon dressing and massage it into the kale for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the kale is soft.

This also helps the flavors of the dressing infuse into the salad.  

Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing in a large bowl.


KALE: You can use any variety of kale that you want.

Some that I like are curly and lacinato but any are great options. I love adding kale to smoothies like this Blueberry Kale Smoothie, salads like this Avocado Kale Quinoa Salad, Kale Cucumber Tabbouleh or Kale Salad with Cranberries

OLIVE OIL: The dressing uses olive oil. I suggest finding a good extra virgin olive oil because of the flavor it will add. 

LEMON JUICE: Lemon juice is added to this salad to add flavor and to help soften the kale. 

GARLIC: Garlic is also a great addition to this salad dressing. You can skip it if you want but I think it really adds great flavor to the salad. 

PARMESAN CHEESE: I always finish the salad off with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese. You can also swap it for things like feta, mozzarella or goat cheese. 

Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing with fork.


  • MASSAGING THE KALE: The most important step when making this salad is massaging the kale. It helps to soften the kale and infuses the salad dressing flavors into the salad. I like to use the dressing and massage that into the salad. 
  • PROTEIN: Try adding protein to the salad like Baked Cod with Lemon, Mediterranean Baked Turkey Meatballs, tofu or crispy chickpeas.
  • NUTS: Add nuts to your salad. I like pecans, almonds or walnuts.  
  • BEANS: Using beans in your salad can be a nice addition and a healthy ingredients. I especially enjoy white beans or chickpeas. 
  • DRIED FRUIT: When I make a kale salad I like to add dried fruit. Try dried cranberries, apricots or raisins. 
  • CHEESE:What is a salad without cheese, right? This salad uses parmesan cheese but you can also add goat cheese, feta or white sharp cheddar. 

Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing with cheese.


Start by removing the ribs from the kale and trimming it of any big thick stems {if you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they sell already trimmed kale, which is a nice shortcut} and put it into a large mixing bowl.

Add the remaining ingredients in the bowl and massage the kale salad with your hands for 3 to 4 minutes, until the kale reduces down to half the size you started with.

 And there you have it…a beautiful, flavorful kale salad.

Sometimes when I make this salad, I feel like I am getting a little bit of therapy by massaging the kale.

You get your hands nice and “dirty” with olive oil, lemon and Parmesan.

Your hands smell amazing after you are done and I am telling you, it’s possible you will feel like you had a nice little therapy session.  

On one of those extra stressful days try it out because you can’t beat free, delicious therapy.


Avocado Kale and Spinach Salad // a cedar spoon 

One Pot Kale Broccoli Chickpea Orecchiette Pasta // a cedar spoon

Tropical Kale Quinoa Salad // a cedar spoon 

Sautéed Kale and Mushrooms // The Blond Cook

Kale Chips // Steamy Kitchen Recipes 

Easy Kale Salad Recipe with Lemon Dressing in a large bowl.

Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Simple Massaged Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing is ready in under 5 minutes. This kale salad is simple yet full of flavor from the freshly grated parmesan, lemon, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. Serve this as a side to your favorite meal or as lunch.


  • 10 ounces raw kale {this equals about 1 bunch of kale but keep in mind that the size of the bunches of kale can vary} ribs removed and discarded
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice {1 large lemon gives me about this much}
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt {or more to taste}
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a large mixing bowl put the kale, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic cloves, parmesan and salt. Using clean hands start massaging the kale salad and continue to do this for about 3-4 minutes {you want the kale to reduce down to about half of what you started with}. Taste the salad and add pepper and continue to massage for another few seconds. Taste again and adjust seasoning accordingly.
  2. Serve alongside your favorite meal or as lunch.
  3. Refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days {I find it better the first few days}.


If you have a Trader Joes near you, you can buy a 10oz bag of kale that has already been trimmed and the ribs removed.

I like to add additional ingredients to this salad sometimes like grilled chicken or salmon, nuts, fresh or dried fruit or beans.

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