January 27, 2022

Kale Parmesan Salad with Lemony Dressing

kale parmesan salad

This is my favourite, go-to kale salad recipe that I make nearly once a week. And I firmly believe that this kale parmesan salad with lemon dressing will turn any kale salad hater into a lover. The key to making any kale salad tasty is to massage those leaves. And really, get in there and massage them well so they are nicely coated. This not only makes them tastier, but much softer and easier to eat. I hope you make this salad and love it as much as I do.


The ingredient list is super short and sweet, but trust me you don't need a lot of ingredients to make a tasty salad.

How to Make this Kale Parmesan Salad

Make the crispy prosciutto first by laying down your sliced prosciutto on a large parchment lined baking sheet. Depending on the thickness of your sliced prosciutto, it could take anywhere from seven to ten minutes to get crispy. You want them to be pretty crispy, so that you can just crumble them with your hands once cooled. Set them aside once they're cooled and crumbled.

prosciutto on baking tray crispy

Next, it's time to toast your pine nuts. The best method and trick I use ALL the time when making salads is to add some crunch for texture. And the method for doing this is to toast them in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil. You can then use that oil as the base for the dressing, it will be infused with the nut/seed flavour and tastes delicious.

To do this, heat a skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the olive oil and then add the pine nuts (or another type of nut or seed) and toast until just starting to turn golden brown. Pine nuts can burn quickly, so keep an eye on them. Once toasted, strain the pine nuts through a sieve, saving the oil in a bowl to use for the dressing. Set the pine nuts aside.

Make the dressing

To make this easy lemony parmesan dressing, combine the reserved olive oil with the lemon juice and parmesan. Mix with a spoon and season with salt and pepper. Add the chili flakes if using.

dressing in bowl

Massage the Kale

Before you start massaging the kale, you gotta chop it into nice, thin ribbons.

First, you want to remove the tough centre stem. Simply tear the kale leaves from the centre and discard the tough stem. Wash and dry the leaves.

Now, take a few kale leaves and roll them up into a fairly tight cigar shape. Then take a sharp knife and slice into thin ribbons.

kale being sliced into ribbons

Toss them into a large salad bowl and drizzle in the dressing. Use your hands to massage the kale and really work the dressing into the leaves.

If you find it's too dry, add a little more oil and lemon to taste.

Toss, Toss

Time to assemble your kale parmesan salad!

Once it's dressed and softened. Scatter the crispy prosciutto and pine nuts into the salad.

Serve with additional sliced/grated parmesan and lemon wedges. Enjoy!

kale parmesan salad

Tips to Make the Best Kale Salad

  • Slicing the kale into ribbons makes this kale parmesan salad much easier to eat. I personally can't stand when kale salads aren't chopped enough and you end up with big leaves of salad (lol, I'm a picky kale salad eater, ok).
  • Massage your kale salad. Really get in there, it makes a BIG difference.
  • Toast your nuts/seeds in oil. This tip is something I learned a few years ago from Bon Appétit and it not only flavours the oil, but toasted nuts and seeds just taste way better. Don't skip this step!
  • Season as you go! Season the dressing with a good pinch of salt and pepper. I also like to add a pinch of flaky salt once the salad is assembled.
kale parmesan salad


  • Dairy-Free: I've made this salad using nutritional yeast instead of parmesan and it's still very good. Use a vegan parmesan such as the one I use in this vegan kale caesar salad as a topper.
  • Nut-Free: Most of the time, I use raw pumpkin seeds and toast them the same way as the pine nuts. They're cheaper and SO delicious.
  • No Pork: you can omit the prosciutto altogether if you wish. Tempeh bacon would be great in here as well!
  • More flavour: I personally love the dressing as is with lemon, evoo and chili flakes, but you can add some finely minced garlic to the dressing as well.
kale parmesan salad

More Salad Recipes to Try

If you make this kale parmesan salad recipe, please let me know by tagging me on Instagram, or leave a comment and/or review below!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services I have personally used and love. Disclosure here.

Kale Parmesan Salad with Lemony Dressing

My go-to kale parmesan salad that I've been making on repeat for years! Topped with crispy prosciutto, toasted pine nuts and massaged with a lemony dressing.




  • 6 slices prosciutto
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chili flakes (depending on preference)
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, thick stems removed, shredded into ribbons
  • Lemon wedges for serving (optional)
  • Extra parmesan, for garnish
  1. Preheat the oven to 400℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Layer the prosciutto slices on the baking sheet and place in the oven for seven to nine minutes, until crispy. The time will depend on thickness of your slices, start checking after six minutes. Crumble with your hands and set aside.
  2. Heat a small skillet over medium-low heat. Pour in the olive oil and add the pine nuts. Cook, stirring often until just browned and toasted (about three to four minutes). Strain the olive oil into a jar to use for the dressing and set aside the pine nuts.
  3. Pour the lemon juice, 1/4 cup parmesan, chili flakes and salt into the reserved olive oil and mix together. Season with black pepper, to taste.
  4. Pour the kale into a large salad bowl and add the dressing. Mix well using your hands to massage the dressing in, until the kale is soft. Drizzle in more olive oil/lemon juice if needed.
  5. Top the kale with the crispy prosciutto, pine nuts and extra parmesan. Garnish with lemon wedges if using and season with more salt (or flaky salt) if needed.


Fresh parmesan is recommended rather than pre-shredded or packaged types, it makes a big difference in terms of taste in this salad.

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