This warm kale salad is made with a warm shallot vinaigrette and tossed with sharp pecorino, toasty pecans, and pickled golden raisins. It’s sweet, savory, and so satisfying on a cold winter day!
I’m obsessed with this warm kale salad. The hearty kale leaves are doused in a warm shallot dressing that's so flavorful and delicate. I just love the combination of ultra-savory shallots with all of the salty, sweet, juicy, crunchy things.
Kale is a polarizing salad base with its sturdy leaves and strong flavor. It’s not for everyone, and there have been plenty of unappetizing kale salads to make it a tough sell. But when we mix raw kale up with equally intense flavors and a lot of texture, you’re left with an unforgettable winter kale salad.
It’s also incredibly versatile! The warm dressing plays up the savory quality and makes this salad perfect for a cold day. But toss it all together at room temperature or enjoy the chilled leftovers the next day, and you have an equally delicious kale salad that's great any time of year.
Read on for more ways to modify this warm kale salad recipe!
what you need for a warm kale salad:
- lacinato kale
- golden raisins
- pecorino romano
- dijon mustard
- olive oil
- black pepper
how to make a warm kale salad:
- Remove and discard kale ribs; slice leaves into ½-inch ribbons.
- Pickle golden raisins.
- Cook shallots in olive oil until very soft, but not browned or caramelized .
- Blend shallots, olive oil, mustard, salt, pepper and some of the raisin soaking liquid until silky smooth.
- Optional: massage kale with salt to soften the leaves.
- Toss warm dressing with sliced kale, pecans, pickled raisins and grated pecorino.
what's the best kale for this salad?
I love to use flat leaf kale here, and to be honest, it’s my favorite in all salads. Flat leaf kale is also known as Tuscan Kale, Lacinato kale, Dinosaur kale, or Italian kale. It’s softer and much less frilly than the standard curly kale.
Lacinato kale is the easiest to clean (which is especially key for salads) and it’s not always necessary to massage the leaves with salt to tenderize. Slice them into ribbons and get to business!
If you do use curly kale, make sure to massage it with salt as described in Step 4.
You could also make this warm kale salad with baby kale, which is getting easier and easier to find. The baby kale leaves will wilt a bit more, and the salad will be more tender and sweet. Don't massage baby kale with salt!
should this be a massaged kale salad?
It’s your call to massage the kale for this salad or not!
When you massage salt into the leaves, they become more tender and wilted. The warm dressing soaks in more and it’s a saucier salad. The salt massaging can also make the kale less bitter for salad, and sometimes it even tastes sweeter.
If you just toss the leaves in the warm dressing, they won’t really wilt-- kale is too sturdy for that. The salad will be warm, but the leaves will be more textured and chewy. This is perfect if you want to make the salad ahead-- for dinner, or even for lunch the next day.
To be honest, I go both ways. Whether I massage the kale leaves is totally dependent on how much time I have and the type of kale I use. Sometimes I just want to pour the dressing on and eat! Both ways are great.
what else to put on this warm kale salad:
- Grilled chicken or steak
- Crunchy bacon bits
- Hard boiled eggs
- Chickpeas (roasted and crunchy would be perfect!)
- Roasted sweet potato or butternut squash
kale salad substitutes:
- pecans: substitute with roasted hazelnuts or walnuts
- pecorino romano: substitute with parmesan or manchego
- flat leaf kale: substitute with curly kale, russian red leaf kale, baby kale, or swiss chard
- golden raisins: substitute with dried cranberries, dried tart cherries or diced dried apricots
- white wine vinegar: substitute with white balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar
how to prepare kale for salads:
My favorite way to cut kale for salads is to remove the stems and chiffonade the leaves (described below). If you want a more rustic look, you could also just tear the leaves into bite sized pieces.
- Rinse kale leaves really well, then pat dry.
- Use a sharp knife to cut along both sides of the center rib; discard ribs (you can also just tear them off).
- Stack 4- 5 leaves on top of each other, then roll up into a cigar.
- Slice the cigar into ¼-inch to ½-inch thick ribbons.
how long does kale salad last in fridge:
Once you’ve tossed this kale salad with the dressing, it will keep for a day or two in the fridge. The leaves will be sturdier if you don’t massage them with salt, so consider skipping that step if you want the leftovers to keep better.
I also love to prep all of the components of the salad and store them individually, which will be good for up to 4 days in the fridge. Gently warm up the dressing (30 second intervals at half power in the microwave), then toss everything together whenever the craving strikes!
what to serve with kale salad:
We love to serve this kale salad with grilled or roast meats and something rich and creamy, like parmesan risotto.
It’s such an easy kale salad to make ahead of time, I also love to serve it when we go all in with homemade pizza! The sweet, savory, earthy flavors of this warm kale salad go especially well with our wild mushroom pizza!
more kale salad recipes to try:Print
warm kale salad with raisins
This warm kale salad is made with a shallot vinaigrette and tossed with sharp pecorino, toasty pecans, and pickled golden raisins. It’s sweet, savory, and so satisfying on a cold winter day!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 small shallot, peeled and cut into chunks
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch Tuscan kale, ribs discarded, leaves sliced into ½-inch ribbons
- ¼ cup roasted pecans, chopped
- 1 oz pecorino romano, coarsely grated
- Heat raisins, vinegar, sugar, and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook until raisins are soft and plump, about 5 minutes. Pour into a heatproof bowl and set aside.
- Rinse and dry saucepan; add shallots and olive oil. Cook over low heat for 10- 15 minutes, or until shallots are very soft but not browned. Pour shallots and olive oil into a blender along with mustard, salt, and pepper.
- Use a fork to fish out raisins and transfer them to a small bowl. Add ¼ cup of leftover vinegar mixture to the blender. Blend until very smooth. Taste and add more salt or pepper if needed.
- Put kale in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Massage the kale until it’s tender and dark green. Toss with half the warm dressing, drained raisins, pecans, and pecorino cheese. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the extra dressing on the side.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- Serving Size: ¼ of salad
- Calories: 379
- Sugar: 11g
- Sodium: 308mg
- Fat: 34g
- Saturated Fat: 5.4g
- Unsaturated Fat: 27.4g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 17g
- Fiber: 2.5g
- Protein: 4.5g
- Cholesterol: 7.4mg
Keywords: warm kale salad