This irresistible kale salad is always a favorite with family and friends. Topped with a creamy, zesty garlic dressing and toasted panko breadcrumbs, every mouthful is full of flavor. Not a kale fan? Read on– the secret is the massage!
For a while I considered calling this the “Best Thing That Happened To Me This Week” salad. The first time I served it to my husband, he mumbled those words between elated mouthfuls. Yes, this salad has the power to induce major feelings of euphoria… kale! The thing I once despised, then learned to massage, then grew to love. Can you imagine?
In this Garlicky Kale Parmesan and Panko Salad, massaged kale salad is topped with a creamy roasted garlic dressing and Parmesan cheese. Large unwieldy croutons are replaced by delicate, crispy toasted panko and crushed red pepper flakes. I massage the kale with the dressing, then toss it with the toasted panko, chili flakes and Parmesan. The resulting salad has a Caesar-ish flavor with a bit of a spicy kick. It’s heavenly.
Kale is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s a cruciferous leafy green packed with Vitamins A, B6, C, and K along with magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese and phosphorus. It also contains strong phytonutrients and cancer-fighting antioxidants. The fiber in kale helps to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Eating kale regularly can lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. It’s fabulous stuff, especially when prepared like this. I am addicted to this salad. Serve it at a party and prepare to be asked for the recipe over and over and over again!
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Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers
Garlicky Kale Parmesan and Panko Salad
8 side servings
If kale isn't your favorite, try adding garlic and cheese. They make everything better!
- 2 bunches curly kale, washed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (tough stems removed)
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 6 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 5 tbsp grated parmesan, divided
- 2 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp water
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 3/4 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 dash Tabasco sauce, or to taste
You will also need: blender, small saucepan, mixing bowls, frying pan
To make gluten free, leave out the breadcrumbs or sub GF panko, and make sure your packaged products are certified GF.
In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup of olive oil with the garlic cloves. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until the garlic turns light golden brown and roasted, about 15 minutes.
Carefully remove garlic from heat. The oil will be very hot. Once the oil has cooled to room temperature, remove and reserve the garlic cloves. Keep the garlic-infused oil, you'll need it soon.
In a blender combine roasted garlic cloves, mayonnaise, lemon juice, water, 1 tbsp parmesan, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and Tabasco. Blend until smooth and well combined.
Turn the blender to medium and very slowly drizzle in the roasted garlic oil through the opening in the top. Do not pour it in all at once or it will not emulsify and you will have a broken dressing.
Remove the lid and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Replace the lid and blend on high once more. The finished dressing should be smooth and well combined with no streaks of oil.
In a small mixing bowl combine panko breadcrumbs, 1 tbsp olive oil and crushed red pepper flakes. Toss to combine.
Transfer the breadcrumb mixture to a frying pan and cook over medium heat until the breadcrumbs are toasted golden brown, stirring often to prevent burning. Immediately remove the breadcrumbs from the pan and set aside.
Place chopped kale into a large mixing bowl or salad bowl. Pour the roasted garlic dressing over the kale, then massage the kale for 3-4 minutes until kale is wilted and well coated with dressing.
Add breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of parmesan to the salad and toss to combine. Serve.