Crunchy Kale Parmesan Salad

A bright and citrusy Crunchy Kale Parmesan Salad with lemon juice, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. This is the perfect healthy salad for a picnic, BBQ, or a side dish and it only takes 4 ingredients!

kale parmesan and lemon salad in a bowl on a table

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This Crunchy Kale Parmesan Salad is so easy to make and so delicious. If you are unsure of kale, this is a great recipe to break you in. The fresh lemon and olive oil in this salad soften the kale and brighten up this hearty vegetable. This healthy salad will make the perfect side dish for a summer BBQ, picnic, or dinner.


Ingredients Needed to Make Crunchy Kale Parmesan Salad

  • fresh kale
  • lemon
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • good olive oil
kale salad ingredients: kale, olive oil, parmesan cheese and a lemon

Benefits of Eating Kale

I’m sure you have heard that kale is good for you. Raw kale has vitamin A (from beta-carotene), vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), iron, and phosphorus. It’s low in calories, only 33 calories/cup, and high in protein and fiber. Kale contains very little fat, and that fat is an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid. Given its low-calorie content, kale is said to be among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Whew, I guess kale is worth eating!! 😁

How to Make This Kale Salad

  1. Rinse the kale and remove the leaves from the stem. Dry the kale with a salad spinner or paper towels.
  2. Chop the kale into smaller bite-sized pieces and add to a large mixing bowl. Zest and juice the lemon and add all of the zest and all of the juice to the bowl with the kale.
  3. Pour in the olive oil and parmesan cheese and mix everything together using tongs or salad forks. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour.
kale salad with parmesan and lemon
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Tips on Making a Delicious Salad

  • The thick main stems of kale are the most bitter part so make sure you remove the leaves before chopping the kale into smaller pieces.
  • This salad needs to chill for a MINIMUM of an hour but more 3-4 is even better. This will give the flavors a chance to really settle in and for the kale to soften from the lemon juice and olive oil.
  • Use good olive oil for this salad. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but don’t use the cheapest stuff you can find. Since it’s not being cooked, you will notice the difference.
  • Use fresh lemon juice. You will need a lemon for the zest anyway but do not use bottled lemon juice. The taste will be completely different and not nearly as good as a fresh lemon.
  • As with the olive oil, use a good parmesan cheese too. Freshly grated is best, or find the grated cheese in the deli section if you can. Since this salad only has 4 ingredients, make sure they are high quality.
  • This salad will last 2-3 days covered in the fridge. You can also make this salad a day ahead of an event or party.
  • If you want to make this salad into a meal, add some grilled chicken, steak, or tofu and some fresh vegetables and you will have a healthy and easy meal.
kale salad in a bowl with parmesan cheese and lemon zest on top

More Healthy Recipes to Check Out

kale salad in a bowl

Crunchy Kale Parmesan Salad

A bright and citrusy kale salad with parmesan and lemon. Perfect for a picnic, a BBQ, or a side dish!
5 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 126kcal
Author: EmilyFabulous



  • 1 large bunch of kale, rinsed and chopped (usually 1 lb or 8 cups chopped)
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil


  • Rinse the kale really well and remove the leaves from the stems. The stems are the most bitter part of kale. Use a salad spinner or paper towels to dry the leaves as best you can. Chop the kale leaves into small pieces. The smaller pieces help the salad be less tough and easier to eat.
    chopped kale for salad
  • Zest the lemon and then juice it. You will use all of the zest and all of the juice. Add the kale, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil, and parmesan cheese to a large mixing bowl.
    kale salad in a bowl before mixing
  • Toss everything together until the kale is coated and everything is combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, 3-4 hours is best.
    kale salad mixed in a bowl


  • Store leftover salad covered in the fridge. It will last 2-3 days. 
  • This salad can be made a day in advance of an event or party. 


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 126kcal | Carbohydrates: 8.4g | Protein: 5.7g | Fat: 8.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 343mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 0.3g | Calcium: 193mg | Iron: 1mg

Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

kale salad in a bowl with lemon zest and parmesan cheese

Did you Make this Crunchy Kale Parmesan Salad?

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