Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

Fresh, flavorful, and totally tasty, this simple Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad is a breeze to toss together and ready in under 15 minutes!

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

Say hello to my new favorite side dish!

This lemony, garlicky kale salad is kissed with parmesan and dusted with crushed crouton crumbs for added texture and oomph!

It’s GLORIOUS and I’m going to insist you give it a try!

Especially if you love lemon… and garlic… and parmesan.

EVEN if you don’t love kale. I’m going to go out on a limb and say if you haven’t tried massaged kale yet, then you’re not allowed to tell me you don’t like it.

I’ve convinced oh so many people to gobble up bowls of this stuff simply by chopping it into itty bitty pieces and giving it a little rubdown until it’s tender and silky. SO GOOD.

Kale Salad with Lemon, Parmesan, and Croutons

The crispy crouton topping for this salad adds the most addictive texture and balances out the flavors of this lemon parmesan kale salad.

You can 100% use your favorite store bought croutons *BUT* if you are feeling frisky, get yo butt in the kitchen and make some homemade croutons!

Here’s how:

Homemade Croutons

  • 1 cup diced bread (stale french baguette + ciabatta are my fav!)
  • 1/2 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

This is a perfect way to use up older/stale bread! Preheat oven to 375°F. Add cubed bread to a bowl with oil, salt, and pepper. Mix well (using your hands works best to really work it into every piece) and spread on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake on the center rack for 12-16 minutes or until golden and crisp. Times will vary slightly based on type and staleness of bread.

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad Collage

Easy Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

The tasty recipe below yields 4 side salad sized servings.

(hah! try saying that 5x fast)

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
5 from 6 votes

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

Fresh, flavorful, and totally tasty, this simple Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad is a breeze to toss together and ready in under 15 minutes!

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 137 kcal
Author Jenn Laughlin – Peas and Crayons


  • 4 cups curly kale
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp fresh minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 1/2 cup croutons (homemade or store bought)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. If starting with a bunch of curly kale, wash, dry, and remove leaves from stem.

  2. Finely chop kale leaves and add to a medium-large bowl.

  3. Whisk together dressing ingredients and drizzle a teeny bit (around 1/2 tsp) onto the kale leaves.

  4. Massage dressing into kale leaves until the leaves darken in color and become tender and silky.

  5. Toss with remaining dressing and top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

  6. P&C Tip: for a little bit of parm in every bite, I like to finely grate the parmesan cheese with a box grater and then roughly chop into smaller bits. Almost like sprinkles but of the cheesy variety, lol!

  7. Place croutons in a plastic bag or between two paper towels. Use the bottle of olive oil to crush into small panko-sized pieces to sprinkle over the kale salad. The result is a delightfully cripsy topping that is dusted over ever bite of lemon and parmesan kissed kale. Love it so! Enjoy right away while topping is still perfectly cripsy.

Recipe Notes

Recipe yields 4 one-cup servings, perfect as a side dish or side salad.

Nutrition Facts below are estimated using an online recipe nutrition calculator. Adjust as needed and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts
Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 137 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 4mg1%
Sodium 297mg13%
Potassium 329mg9%
Carbohydrates 9g3%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 6742IU135%
Vitamin C 83mg101%
Calcium 177mg18%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

If you get a chance to try this lemon parmesan kale salad, let me know!

Leave some love in the comment form below or tag your photos with @peasandcrayons on Instagram so I can happy dance over your creation. I can’t wait to see what you whip up!

KALE YEAH! More Tasty Kale Recipes:

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Recipe Rating


  • Cindy B

    5 stars
    So tasty! Thank you for a simple, healthy and delicious recipe.

    • You’re super welcome! Glad it was a hit! xoxo

  • Yum! What a fresh salad idea to change things up.

  • Holly K

    This was a great light salad! I added a little more salt to the greens once everything was combined, still very tasty!

  • Gina

    5 stars
    That crispy parm crumble on top totally MAKES this salad. <3

  • 5 stars
    I loved this salad! It seems like the perfect thing to take to all the holiday parties.

    • So glad you’re loving it! It’s one of our fav side salads!

  • Jane

    5 stars
    This salad is amazing! I was sceptical about the half teaspoon of dressing for the massage but it really worked! My husband loved the salad and is not known to be a kale guy. Definitely will be picking up kale more often and whipping up this quick, easy, delicious and nutritious salad.

  • Sue

    Hi Jenn! That looks wonderful. Funny thing- I subscribe to Dr. Andrew Weil’s newsletter and he was just talking about all the nutrients in kale! You must be psychic haha. Can’t wait to make this.

  • Ashley

    5 stars
    I was amazed by how good this salad was. At first I thought “massaging” the dressing into the kale sounded a bit strange, but it completely changed the texture of the kale (in the best way possible). This salad was light and delicious. Highly recommend!

  • wilhelmina

    5 stars
    I just knew this salad was going to be amazing from the post, and I was not disappointed! It was fabulous!!!

  • Kelly Stilwell

    So good! We LOVE kale salads but had been a little bored with the same thing over and over. I’ve never added parmesan and WOW! So glad I found this recipe!

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