The kale salad you need for a feel-good summer

Illustration of kale, peach, lemon and pepita on a picnic blanket.
This no-wilt kale salad is perfect for eating outdoors.
(Christina Lee / For The Times)

This is a kale salad for kale salad haters — at least that’s what it’s been for my quarantine household. The people who groaned when I put the platter down on the table went back for seconds and thirds and have been requesting it again and again ever since. Loaded with crunchy pepitas and juicy peaches, this salad leaves you feeling good in every way.

That salty-sweet balance makes it craveable, and the seasoned greens make it palatable to those like my daughter who often find kale salads too bitter. Instead of tossing the leaves with dressing, I slice them thinly, massage them with lemon juice and salt, and let them sit for a while. That process tenderizes the tough greens, tames their bitter edge and infuses them with a refreshing tang.

To complement the lemon’s acidity, I toss in toasted walnut oil, which has a deep nutty aroma and taste. The oil binds the greens with the natural sweetness of ripe peaches and the caramel depth of sliced dates. Roasted pepitas — a lot of them — blanket the top to add a savory pop to each bite.


I’ll be honest: Kale salad takes work. If you don’t prep and massage the leaves, you’ll end up exhausted from chewing and the salad will feel more like punishment than pleasure.

That extra effort pays off, though, because kale holds up where other greens flop. Even when precrushed, kale doesn’t wilt. That means you can serve this salad outside on a hot day or save leftovers to enjoy later in the week. It’s a satisfying light meal on its own or the ideal side to any main dish.

Summer Kale Salad With Peaches and Pepitas

Time25 minutes
YieldsServes 6 to 8