Kale salad with toasted hazelnuts

Grönkålssallad med rostade hasselnötter

A kale salad with toasted hazelnuts and cheese

Although my mother was a good cook I have bad memories of salads with cold meat in winter! Essentially, they were the same as summer salads, but with limp imported lettuce and tasteless soft tomatoes. Winter salads in Sweden came as a revelation! Vegetables, often raw, were used to create lovely salads full of flavour and there was no limp lettuce in sight!

If you visit Sweden in the autumn or winter do try and go to a good Swedish restaurant at lunchtime, as they will always have some interesting salads on offer which are normally included in the price of the main course, along with bread, water and coffee.

Massaged kale on the left and unmassaged kale the right
Above left: massaged kale

Kale can be blanched to use in a salad, but I think it is much better to massage it instead. Simply massage it between your fingers for a few minutes and you will gradually break down the tough cellulose structure. You will notice it happening as the kale will go a darker shade of green and will shrink a bit. If you taste it, you will find it is no longer bitter. John Duxbury


Recipe summary for kale salad with toasted hazelnuts


Kale salad with apple and stem broccoli

• Use the recipe below as a starting point, adapting it to what is seasonal and readily available. For instance, add some blanched stem broccoli and apple instead of the raisins and cheese.

Västerbottensost on a cheese board

• If you can't find Västerbottensost, use Parmesan or Pecorino cheese instead.

Kale salad with dried cranberries and roasted cashew nuts

• Massaged kale also goes well with dried cranberries and roasted cashew nuts. For 200 g (8 cups) of kale, roast 60 g (4 tbsp) of cashew nuts for 10-15 minutes and add to kale with 60 g (4 tbsp) of dried cranberries.
• For a little more colour, use pomegrante kernels.
• Other dressings can be used if you prefer, such as rapeseed oil, apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey, perhaps replacing the hazelnuts with walnuts.


40 g (3 tbsp) blanched hazelnuts
200 g (8 cups) kale leaves
2 tbsp   fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp   good quality olive oil
    salt and freshly ground black pepper
100 g (½ cup) raisins (or black grapes, halved)
40 g (1¾ oz) Västerbottensost


1. Pre-heat an oven to 180°C (350°F, gas 4, fan 160°C).

Toasted hazelnuts on a baking tray

2. Spread the whole hazelnuts, in a single layer, evenly over a baking tray. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the hazelnuts are a nice golden brown colour.

3. Meanwhile, discard the stems of the kale, chop or tear the leaves and place in a large bowl.

4. Add the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Massage the leaves with your fingers for 3-5 minutes, until they are tenderised. Taste to check that they are no longer bitter.

5. Add the raisins, toss thoroughly and transfer to a serving dish.

6. Roughly crush the toasted hazelnuts and add to the salad.

7. Shave the cheese and add to the salad. Serve immediately, although it does keep well for an hour or two.


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