Warm kale salad is a delicious way to eat your greens! It’s a simple recipe with salty Parmesan and spicy red pepper flakes, and it’s a perfect side dish for any dinner.

warm kale salad
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When the weather gets colder, I don’t crave salads the way I do in the summer. But ever since I had my first warm kale salad, I’ve been hooked on these during the cooler weather. It’s a great way to enjoy your greens, and I love the way that sautéing the kale makes it a bit more tender. This is a great recipe for anyone who is on the fence about kale. Cooked kale is less tough and bitter than raw kale.

Can you cook a kale salad?

The short answer is yes! This warm kale salad is really just a combination of sauté greens and a few of my favorite salad toppings! But the great thing about cooking kale is that the leaves become soft and tender. I love this salad served warm, but you can also eat it cold. Even if you eat it straight from the fridge, you’ll still get to enjoy soft, tender greens.

kale salad ingredients


  • Kale– I used curly kale but you can use lacinato kale, sometimes called dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale.
  • Olive oil- A little olive oil is essential for sautéing the garlic and kale and it also creates a light dressing.
  • Garlic– This adds a lot of flavor to the dressing. I don’t recommend substituting with garlic powder.
  • Lemon juice- The acidity of the lemon juice balances the flavors of the dressing.
  • Red pepper flakes– I love the heat from crushed red pepper flakes. If you don’t like things spicy, you can skip them.
  • Parmesan– Salty Parmesan is essential in this recipe. Buy a block of real Parmesan and shred it at home. It has so much more flavor than pre-shredded cheese. You can substitute Pecorino Romano in place of Parmesan.
  • Pumpkin seeds– I used pumpkin seeds, but I’ve also made this recipe with sunflower seeds or pine nuts. Any salty roasted nut works great in this recipe.

How to Make Warm Kale Salad