This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please visit the disclosures and privacy policy page.
May 9, 2022

Grilled Kale Salad with Grilled Croutons and Garlic Dressing

This grilled kale salad is topped with garlicky grilled baguette croutons and tossed with a spicy and garlicky dressing.  

Grilled kale salad with croutons and shaved parmesan in a bowl.

This garlicky kale salad is a delicious make-ahead side dish for serving at your next barbecue. It includes grilled kale, a spicy garlic and lemon dressing, and crunchy garlic croutons made from baguette slices that you also grill. 

I also topped the salad with some shaved Parmesan cheese. 

Skip massaging your kale for salads. Grill it instead! Briefly grilling your kale for this salad adds a little bit of char to the kale for a smoky flavor and softens the kale leaves just a bit. Plus, it only takes a minute. 

How to Grill Kale for a Salad:

First, slice the kale leaves lengthwise along the ribs to remove them. You can save the ribs for smoothies or blanch them later for pesto if you like. 

Next, toss the leaves with oil and salt. For the oil, I used grapeseed oil because of its high smoke point so that it can handle the high heat of the grill. 

After that, grill the leaves about 30 seconds per side. Work quickly, using tongs to gather up the grilled leaves and placing them on a plate to cool. You can work in batches if you prefer. 

Finally, tear the grilled kale leaves into pieces and toss with the salad dressing. 

You will love the little bit of char you will see on the leaves of the kale. 

Grilled kale leaves cooling on a cutting board.

The kale will be crisp tender, perfect for a salad. 

I used Tuscan kale (also known as Lacinato kale) but you can use curly kale if you prefer. 

Ingredients for the kale salad.

For the dressing, combine olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, and Garlic Goodness, a garlic hot sauce from Saucy Queen. It's a hot sauce that is totally garlic forward. In fact, you can use it as a substitute for minced garlic in a recipe. 

For the grilled croutons, cut a section of a baguette into crostini-sized slices, toss them with olive oil, and grill them until they are browned and you have grill marks. Remove them from the grill and immediately rub them with the cut side of a large clove of garlic. 

Grilled baguette croutons on a plate.

The dressing for this salad is bright, tart, and tangy. Plus, it's so garlicky! It coats the leaves without further wilting them. 

Make Ahead Tips:

You can grill the kale and toss it with the dressing and Parmesan up to three days in advance. 

You can make the croutons in advance, but they are the most crispy the day they are made. If they begin to soften, you can recrisp them in the oven. However, ideally, serve them the day they are made. I like to make them in the morning and serve them later the same day with the salad. 

Just be careful that you don't eat them all before your guests arrive. They are soooo crispy and crunchy good! 

Kale salad in two bowls.

I'm pretty sure I don't need to say how nutritious kale is, but just in case, it's one of the super foods, loaded with vitamins and nutrients. 

Grilled Kale Salad Recipe Variations:

While I added shaved Parmesan cheese, you can alternatively add freshly grated parmesan to the salad. 

If you'd like to make this salad into a meal, you can top it with sliced grilled chicken breasts, sliced grilled steak, or blackened salmon. 

Any one of these options would be outstanding for lunch or dinner. 

Kale salad in bowls with crostini on top.

#BBQWeek is a great event for kicking off the summer grilling and barbecue season. We offer recipes to cook on your grill or to serve at your summer barbecue. 

Monday #BBQWeek Recipes

Starters and Sides

Main Dishes

Kale salad in a bowl.

Grilled Kale Salad with Grilled Croutons and Garlic Dressing

Grilled Kale Salad with Grilled Croutons and Garlic Dressing
Yield: 6 servings
Author: Karen's Kitchen Stories
Prep time: 30 MinCook time: 15 MinTotal time: 45 Min
This grilled kale salad is topped with garlicky grilled baguette croutons and tossed with a spicy and garlicky dressing.


For the Salad
  • 2 bunches (about 1 pound) kale, washed and dried, stems removed from the middle of the leaves.
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Shaved Parmesan cheese to taste
For the Croutons
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 to 8 inch section of a baguette, sliced into 3/8 inch slices
  • 1 to 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
For the Dressing
  • 2 teaspoons Garlic Goodness sauce
  • One large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


  1. In a large bowl, toss the kale leaves with the grapeseed oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
  2. Heat your grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Grill the leaves in a single layer, about 30 to 60 seconds per side. You can grill the leaves in batches. Remove them from the grill and set aside to cool.
  3. Toss the baguette slices in the olive oil, and grill them on both sides until browned and there are grill marks. Remove them from the grill and immediately rub them with the cut side of the garlic clove. Set aside.
  4. To made the dressing, mix the garlic goodness, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until emulsified.
  5. Tear the kale into pieces and place them in a serving bowl. Pour on the dressing and toss. When you are ready to serve, divide the kale among the salad plates, and top with the croutons and shaved Parmesan.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)

kale, garlic
Did you make this recipe?
Tag on instagram and hashtag it # karenskitchenstories

Recipe adapted from The Kitchn

Would you like to comment?

  1. I love the grilled kale! The garlic croutons are a perfect addition to this recipe

  2. This sounds like a lovely salad Karen. I have grilled romaine before with excellent results. I'm anxious to try this kale salad.

  3. Yum! This salad is calling my name! It looks amazing, and the dressing sounds incredible!

  4. I've never thought about making a grilled salad, this is such a cool recipe!! You are right, I would love the little bits of char. That garlic dressing sounds like it will have a nice kick with that hot sauce!!

    1. It totally has a kick, but not overly so. Thanks Marcelle!

  5. Love this! With membership in two CSAs, I get tons of kale and am always on the lookout for new recipes.

  6. I've been looking to try kale and I really think grilling it is the way to go. And those croutons are just perfect!

    1. They were hard not to eat them all by myself.

  7. I love kale. I need to try it in your salad.

  8. This salad is so beautiful! I love that it is grilled!

  9. You grilled the kale?? That's brilliant! I bet it tastes amazing grilled. I'm totally making this one!


I would love to hear from you! If you comment anonymously, be sure to leave your name in your comment.