Winter Roasted Kale Salad

Winter Kale Salad // Love & Lemons

I know, I’ve made a lot of kale lately. It’s my vegetable of choice this time of year, especially when the internet (and even my kitchen, a little bit) is full of sugary, buttery foods. With so much indulgence, I feel the need for balance… but tasty balance…

Winter Kale Salad // Love & Lemons

This was going to be a raw kale salad, but I changed my mind at the last minute because I was craving something warm and cozy. I roasted my kale in the oven… a method I especially love because it creates two textures in the salad… hearty wilted kale mixed with some lighter crispy pieces.

Kale leaves go perfectly with a creamy tahini dressing. And because I live with a cheese lover, I made mine with some shaved pecorino (not to worry, I also list a vegan alternative). The leftover dressing is great the next day on toast, sandwiches, another salad, you know the extra-dressing drill.

To make it a meal I added some tempeh. I quickly cooked it in a pan with balsamic, soy and a little bit of honey until it got a nice caramelized char. It adds a bacon-esque flavor, but if you’re a meat eater, some crispy pancetta would go nicely in here instead.

serves 2.
For a main course, this is on the lighter side. To make it a heartier meal, add some quinoa, brown rice, toasty bread crumbs, etc.


large bunch of kale (plus olive oil, salt & pepper for drizzling)
2-3 chopped scallions, white and green parts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
chopped parsley, about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or any nut you like)
soy-balsamic tempeh bites (see recipe below, or crispy pancetta)

dressing: (this will make extra)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus some zest
1 teaspoon honey or agave
1 garlic clove
salt, pepper
2 tablespoons tahini
a good grating of pecorino or parmesan cheese (plus some for the top of the salad)
(if vegan, just omit cheese, or add a tablespoon orย two ofย nutritional yeast)
water to thin, as needed
a few pinches of red pepper flakes


soy-balsamic tempeh:
1/2 package tempeh, sliced into 1/4″ thick strips
olive oil
splash of soy sauce
splash of balsamic
drizzle of honey


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Start dressing. In a small bowl measure out your olive oil, lemon juice, zest, honey, salt & pepper. Give your garlic clove a good smash and drop it in. You’re going to fish it out later, after it sits and infused garlic into the flavor of the oil (alternatively, just mince it in). Set aside while you work on the other components.

Drizzle whole kale leaves with olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet (you might need 2). Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes or until the edges are crispy and the centers are wilted. Remove from oven, let cool to room temp. Stack the leaves and chop them, removing the more coarse parts of the stems. Set aside.

Start the tempeh. Heat oil in a small skillet. When your pan is hot, add the tempeh. Cook on both sides for a few minutes until they start to brown. Then add a splash of soy sauce, balsamic. Flip around to coat all sides. Add a drizzle of honey and cook a few minutes longer until the sugar and vinegar caramelizes a bit on the edges of the tempeh. (This got real sticky in my pan and some of the sugar burned, but that slight char ends up tasting really good). Remove from heat and chop into bit size pieces.

Back to your dressing. Fish out the garlic clove (it’s ok if some bits stay in, just try to remove the larger pieces of the skin). Whisk in tahini, cheese or nutritional yeast, water if necessary to thin it, and a few red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. More lemon for tartness, more cheese to mellow it out if it’s too tart for youโ€ฆ etc.

Toss kale leaves with (some) of the dressing, add as much or little as you like, to taste. Add scallions, cranberries, parsley, and tempeh pieces and toss again. Plate and garnish with pine nuts & more grated cheese.

Serve with extra dressing on the side.

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. James from on said:

    I have never had much luck with tempeh, but this looks too tempting not to attempt. Thanks for another recipe to try!

  2. Keep the kale recipes coming. Your absolutely right that with so many pastries, pies and bread dishes abounding in Winter, kale is a welcome daily addition. This has a unique twist on a regular kale salad I make with tahini-garlic dressing. I love the idea of roasting it a bit then adding in tempeh with a splash of soy sauce and balsamic. Mmmm! I’m trying this one. Thanks!

  3. Kale is an awesome winter green, I think it hits my top 10 list. Glad to see so many recipes!

  4. Ashley from on said:

    This salad is going to be my dinner! I was just messing around with making a tahini dressing last night for a simple kale salad. I haven’t made many warm salads but it sounds perfect for our sudden cold weather. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. My fridge is full of kale this winter too. I definitely crave it’s leafy greeness, and like you I love the different textures you can coax out of it using different cooking methods. This salad looks spectacular– hearty and filling, without all of the heaviness of typical holiday fare. Love the addition of tempeh to this salad!

  6. I have been all about kale lately too. I appreciate all the different ideas you have for it. I always feel like I buy too much of it and find myself scrambing for different uses before it goes bad…. So you really help me out. Thanks!

  7. Tempeh has not had much luck at my hands but I love how versatile roasted Kale can be! The salad looks gorgeous, Jeanine! I like how you keep the styling minimal, yet make beautiful photographs.

  8. I am just as crazy for kale as you and need this balance especially this time of year. I have all the ingredients on hand and will have this for lunch.

  9. Ashley from on said:

    Haven’t gotten to the salad part yet, but had to let you know the dressing was delicious! Even without adding cheese or nutritional yeast…and there was no extra. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine from on said:

      ha! I love the progress report ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Kathryn from on said:

    I do love a big warm salad especially at this time of year when my body (occasionally) demands something other than butter and sugar. The dressing sounds wonderful too, a real punch of flavour.

  11. Cara from on said:

    I’m not usually a fan of kale chips (at least, the ones I make) but I can totally see loving roasted kale in a salad like this. Can’t wait to find out ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. What a wonderful idea to roast the kale for this salad, I’m very much in love with kale at the moment and must try it that way.

  13. Stacy Spensley from on said:

    I happened across this recipe on Pinterest this morning before I went to a holiday potluck. How fortuitous. I mixed the roasted kale with a spicy salad mix from the farmers market, toasted some walnuts, and made the dressing with nutritional yeast. I’m glad I have some kale left so I make it again for myself tomorrow! I love that it has strong flavors but they’re balanced well.

    • jeanine from on said:

      hi Stacy, so glad you liked it!

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  16. Michelle from on said:

    I made this for today’s lunch. My husband called from the other room, “can I eat the whole thing?” I think it’s a winner in our house! Thanks for sharing!

    • jeanine from on said:

      ha, so glad you both liked it!

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