Best kale salad EVER

Kale Salad Recipe: Easy and Versatile Side Dish

I have been making this kale salad recipe for probably 10 years. It’s been my side salad go-to and is often requested by my friends. It’s simple and completely versatile so you can customize based on what’s in season or your guest’s preferences. Traditionally, we make this salad with dry roasted pine nuts and goat cheese.

This kale salad recipe originated from a PopSugar article that had linked a blog post and now, I can’t find the OG post to credit this back to. The PopSugar link is archived, that’s how old this recipe is and quite frankly, I’m not even sure that this recipe is close to the original anymore.

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Kale salad recipe with pine nuts and goat cheese

Kale Salad Recipe

The basic kale salad recipe uses a simple dressing that essentially cooks the kale as it marinates. Rub the dressing into the kale and make sure you make the base of this salad ahead of time. I recommend at least 4 hours but you could even make it the night before.

massaged kale salad before the toppings

The dressing is simple and easy: fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and thinly sliced shallots. I use this dressing container that makes it easy to measure and mix the ingredients.

I prefer to use flat Italian kale (my kids call it Dinosaur kale, it’s also known as Lacinato kale). This kale salad recipe works best if the kale is cut in small bites and the stems removed.

While the kale is marinating, dry roast your pine nuts in a pan. Keep a close eye on them because they will go from raw to burnt really fast. Let cool before you toss into the salad so you don’t melt your cheese.

Ways to customize your salad

Once you get the kale salad recipe dialed in, there are no limits to how you can customize it. Here are some of the ways I’ve done it.

  • Add apples and cranberries for a seasonal fall or holiday salad
  • Sub lime for the lemon in the dressing
  • Use feta instead of the goat cheese
  • Slivered almonds or candied walnuts instead of pine nuts

Get creative! This kale salad recipe base is perfect to layer on any ingredients that you want!

Perfect BBQ Recipes

Looking for other dishes for your BBQ? Check out these recipes:

Kale Salad with Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

Easy kale salad recipe.

Course Salad
Keyword goat cheese, kale, pine nuts, salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Servings 8


  • 2 bunches Lacinato Kale stems removed, cut thin
  • 1 shallot thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts dry roasted
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Combine the dressing ingredients and shake well until emulsified

  2. In a large bowl, toss the kale, shallots and cover with the dressing. Massage into the kale and let sit for at least 2 hours.

  3. When ready to serve, add the pine nuts and goat cheese. Toss to combine.

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