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Crunchy Parmesan Kale Salad

Hello 2022! It’s time we join the “new year, new me” January healthy movement that occurs every year at this time. If by healthy you mean still eat carbs and cheese then I am in! I am all about setting goals and resolutions especially revolving around food and lifestyle however turning your current lifestyle upside down and crash diets are just not my thing (been there done that). This crunchy parmesan kale salad is the best of both worlds. Yes, it has cheese and bread, but it’s 90% kale with no creamy dressing, that has to count for something right?

Hello Kale….we meet again

Chances are you either love kale or hate it. If you hate it because of the taste I can’t help you. If you hate it however because it’s fibrous and stabs the inside of your mouth when you eat it, then you must not be giving it a massage. Yes, curly kale, the most common variety of kale (image above) needs a massage. Massaging your kale in a little olive oil before adding to salads breaks downs the fibers and makes it easier to eat, not to mention removes some of the bitter flavor. So next time you eat kale raw take it to the spa for 2-3 minutes, I promise you it makes a world of a difference. Another technique to softening up raw kale, which is directed in this recipe is to remove the leaves off the stalk and cut it super fine, almost in ribbons (image below).

What You’ll Need for Crunchy Parmesan Kale Salad

  • Kale – Curly kale variety.
  • Parmesan Cheese – Freshly grated.
  • Panko Bread Crumbs – You can make your own breadcrumbs, in fact normally I do for this salad. That was before i discovered that using store bought unseasoned panko was 100x faster and tasted much better. This recipe requires you to toast panko bread crumbs with a little bit of lemon zest in a dry frying pan to a golden brown to add texture to this salad.
  • Lemon – Zest and juice
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Thats it. 5 ingredients, 15 minutes, this salad could not be easier to assemble. It’s as easy as cutting kale, toasting breadcrumbs, grating cheese, and combining.

crunchy parmesan kale salad
crunchy parmesan kale salad

A Few Tips

  • When dressing the salad, add the breadcrumbs last after dressing, to ensure this crunchy parmesan kale salad stays crunchy.

Looking for another flavorful salad recipe? Check out my Pickled Red Cabbage Salad.

Crunchy Parmesan Kale Salad

Print Recipe
15 minute lemon kale salad with salty parmesan cheese and crunchy breadcrumbs.
Course Main Dish, Salad, Side Dish
Keyword Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 6 cups kale avg 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs un-seasoned
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • salt


  • In a dry frying pan add panko, a pinch of salt, and zest of 1 lemon. On low heat toast the panko until golden brown, continuously tossing approx 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Remove kale leaves of the fibrous stalk. Toss the stalks. Finely chop the leaves. Add to a large bowl with 1 tbsp of olive oil and massage for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add parmesan cheese, the juice of 1 lemon, and a pinch of salt. Toss. Finish it with bread crumbs and eat immediately. Enjoy!

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