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Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

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Kansas City has a zillion amazing restaurants. But one of my newest favorite is a healthy fast-food alternative restaurant called “Unforked“. It is brilliant.

The owners/creators are actually the force behind Sheridan’s, one of my favorite local custard chains. (And they happen to attend the church where I work — fun!)  But instead of your typical super-processed, deep-fried, zillion-calorie fast food restaurants, this place overflows with creative, fresh, and healthy options. I can’t get enough of it — everything I have tried is amazing. (Side note — I deeply hope this is what the majority of fast-food restaurants might look like in a decade!)

One of my new favorites there is their “Hale The Kale” salad. It is made simply from fresh kale, Parmesan, bread crumbs, and a lemony olive oil dressing. And it is utterly delicious! I had to admit that I had my doubts about so much fresh kale (I usually prefer adding my kale to pizzas, soups, or making kale chips). But when the other ingredients were added, it tasted wonderfully fresh, light and flavorful!

So while we’re still in the midst of kale season, I decided to try it at home. Decided to nix the breadcrumbs and add in some thyme, and loved it. Hope you do too!

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Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.5 from 2 reviews
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes


You will love this fresh, tangy Lemon Parmesan Kale salad recipe! It’s beautiful, flavorful and full of great vitamins!


  • 3 cups chopped fresh kale
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • pinch of salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs (optional)


  1. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper.  Add kale and Parmesan (and bread crumbs, if using), and toss until the kale is evenly coated.  Massage the dressing into the kale with your fingers for an extra minute or two until the kale is soft and dark green.  Serve immediately.


Inspired by Unforked.

Ali’s Tip:

This would also be great with some chopped/sliced fresh fruit added in, such as peaches, plums, apples, or blackberries. It would also be delicious with some toasted pecans, almonds or walnuts added in.


Inspired by Unforked.

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23 comments on “Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad”

  1. This sounds so simple and delicious… and such few ingredients! MUST TRY!

  2. I’ve never been to this restaurant! This must change.

    And I must eat that kale salad, PRONTO.

  3. LOVE kale! Cooked and in salads!

  4. Sounds delicious, Ali! I still haven’t tried Unforked. Must do so soon!

  5. I can’t get enough of the Hale the Kale salad!
    My friend Kenny is the manager and he says its their best seller!
    Thanks for posting!

  6. This is my favorite salad currently!!!!! I need to make this immediately.

  7. I love kale, but have never had it raw. I tried this today with a bunch of kale I’ve had sitting in the fridge. I added freshly chopped garlic and chilli instead of thyme, toasted Japanese bread crumbs and whole toasted almonds. This has just become my new favourite salad. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Hi Ali,
    I went to a cooking class recently and learned that when you massage the kale with the dressing, it makes it more tender! I tried it and loved the result. Just a tip to add. Thanks for the recipe!

  9. Thank you for the awesome recipie.. it was fantastic! I think it would be great as a side dish if you barely blanched it and threw it into an ice bath.. and then added dressing with some grape tomatoes and a touch of red onion.

  10. This is awesome! I was skeptical at first because I didn’t think I’d like raw kale, but I was pleasantly surprised. I added some toasted pepitas and dried cranberries. Thanks for sharing! I found this on pinterest. :)

  11. I made a variation of this with finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese – delicious!

  12. I used a combination of EVVO & roasted garlic infused grapeseed oil that made this recipe divine! You must use the bread crumbs as they soak up the dressing & make each bite balanced. I usually add walnuts & have included dried cherries. Sweet/tart apples would work well too.

  13. This salad is great! As a variation at the end of summer I added Pecorino, toasted panko, thinly sliced fresh peach and toasted almonds. Delish!

  14. It may have been the breadcrumbs I had but with the salty Parmesan, salt and breadcrumbs it was too salty for us :( I must have done something wrong 

    • Ah, sorry to hear that. Yes, everyone’s salt levels are different (as are the salt levels in various Parmesan cheeses and breadcrumbs), so I’d definitely recommend nixing the salt then if you try it with the same ingredients. Best wishes next time!

  15. I added avocado and a clove of minced garlic. Yum!

  16. Nix the thyme. (I also like this salad better just “tossed” and not with the dressing rubbed in.) Toss in some dried cranberries too- yummy!