“Let Me Bring the Dinner” with Baby Kale Salad and Fresh Lemon Dressing

Baby Kale Salad and Fresh Lemon Dressing

The last time we dined with our friends, we ate at their house and they cooked us a beautiful meal. Since it’s hard for them to get away (they have an autistic child), this time when we made plans to get together and I said, I’ll bring dinner!

Whatever the situation, I think it’s really fun when someone wants to come to your house and bring dinner, and then eat with you, too.

I call it “taking your hospitality with you.” It really doesn’t matter where we eat, or what we eat, it’s who we eat with that makes a difference.

I brought salmon to broil in the oven, fresh baked bread, and a baby kale salad – in a basket.

We sat out by their outside fire for about an hour (yummy appetizers) before heading in for dinner. Just before eating, I told my friend, Karen, that I needed to toss the salad.

The secret that I’ve found in serving baby kale is that it’s delicious if you allow the dressing to soak into the leaves for at least 30 minutes before serving. Most salads you’d never do that (the leaves would get soggy), but with kale, it’s slightly different.

Baby kale is unique; the flavor, texture, even the smell. I love it!

Here are the salad ingredients (below), which, by the way, always taste the salad dressing before tossing a salad. It might need more sugar, salt, etc.

Tell me about the last time you took a meal to a friend … did you stay and eat with them? What was the meal and what was the circumstance?


Recipe: Baby Kale Salad and Fresh Lemon Dressing

Summary: Tender baby kale greens are best served after dressing has soaked in for 20-30 minutes.


    • 1 bunch baby kale
    • Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
    • Sliced cucumbers
    • Sliced red cabbage
    • Red onion
    • Diced red pepper
    • Toasted Walnuts
    • Dried cherries


  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Lemon zest (1-2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • 4-6 teaspoons honey (to taste)
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. In a large serving bowl, add the toppings to the kale.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together with lots of freshly ground black pepper. Make sure you like how it tastes.
  3. Thirty minutes before serving, add the dressing to the salad. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Set aside for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Preparation time: 5 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6


19 comments on ““Let Me Bring the Dinner” with Baby Kale Salad and Fresh Lemon Dressing”

  1. This was delicious , I made it just as written except I did not have dried cherries so I used dried cranberries instead.This was the first time I’ve used raw kale in a salad and I think mixing it with the dressing before hand really improves the texture and flavor. I’ve prepared many meals for friends and the one that is most requested is chicken and sour cream enchiladas. They are mild but have great flavor and are loved by young and old alike.

  2. Now I’m starving and wanted to have this for dinner.. I love grilled fish on my salad.

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  8. This salad is awesome! A new regular in our menu rotation. Thank you so much for posting!

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  10. We did so much of this when all of our friends were having babies. We don’t do as much of it anymore and I miss it! Such a lovely way to treat people. I still, after all this time, can’t really get on the kale bandwagon. But I haven’t tried it this way and clearly, it’s time!

  11. Just this weekend – I’ve prepared squids in olive oil, potato salad and we brought a glass of wine. I think they were satisfied. I have to say that our friend’s wife have made the best dessert ever that evening – a cake with Nutella and bananas. Perfect.

  12. The last meal I made for a friend was when her mother passed away. It was such a hard time for her, as anyone could imagine, but the hardest was that with her being so involved with helping her father she was struggling keeping up with meals for her husband and kids. I made her beef enchiladas and to this day she tells me how often she makes them for her family who loves them.

    This is such a WONDERFUL meal and gesture Sandy!! I love it! The salad sounds amazing, but also the time with friends.

  13. Love this! How simple, nutritious and perfectly easy! We’re going to feature this on our Facebook page and link here so people can see how you did it, and your lovely photography. If you wish, come LIKE us on Facebook for more recipes and tips on greens like kale, chard, beet, mustard, turnip, collard, spinach, escarole, dandelion and other super healthy green leafies. https://www.facebook.com/Cut.n.Clean.Greens

    –Your friendly farmers at Cut `n Clean Greens

  14. Hi Sandy,

    This is such a sweet post. I love that you took your entertaining “on the road”!

    I have a friend, who I think I’ve mentioned to you before, who is a single mom with four young children. She is the most amazing woman with a huge heart who I love spending time with. But I never want her to feel that she has to entertain me…so, when I go to her home (she lives in the same town as me), I always enjoy bringing the meal to her.

    The meal is usually something simple like soup (brought over in a thermos), salad, and bread…and some sort of beverage like sparkling grape juice. I also bring the plates, bowls, cups, and utensils too (paper for the kids). When it’s time to go home, all we do is put the paper stuff in the trash and then I put the dirty dishes, etc. (used for us adults) in my basket and take them home to wash. This way our visit is zero work for her. :-)

    Have a great week!


  15. This salad looks tasty and beautiful!

    I once took Penne Alla Vodka to a book club meeting when that month’s hostess had something come up last minute and did not have time to cook. It was a wonderful alternative to cancelling the meeting (something I really look forward to each month).

  16. This looks really good!

  17. Christmas Eve, we stayed at my BFF’s and she was having 30+ for dinner the next day. I took a traditional Quebecoise dinner – tourtiere, baked beans and salad. It was all made ahead and all we had to do was reheat it before we went to midnight mass to hear another friend sing.

  18. What a beautiful idea!

  19. I love Kale w/ all my heart. Such a delicious- looking salad :)

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