Kale Salad

This summer I visited Northern Spy Food Co. in New York for an article about the best brunch places in NYC. The restaurant (named after New York apple variety Northern Spy) opened two years ago in the trendy East Village. According to owner Chris, Northern Spy is a place where people want to keep coming back and I can only agree.

The atmosphere is relaxed and cool and the farm-to-table menu highly original (I wanted to try everything!). The restaurant also has a stand at the High Line park (a must-visit when they open again in Spring), one of my favorite places in NYC.


nothern spy food co


Probably the most popular items on the menu is Northern Spy’s famous Kale Salad. They usually serve a version with squash, but last summer the salad contained sweet roasted carrots. Kale Salad sounded somewhat strange to me, and so did the combination with cheddar and almonds. But after reading many raving reviews, I knew I needed to try this dish. And I’m glad to report I absolutely loved it.

Although unusual, there’s something genius about the combination of slightly bitter kale, sweet roasted squash or carrots, crunchy almonds and sharp cheese. It’s delicious in all its unusual simplicity. Great thing is that it’s also very good for you and can be made in no time.


kale salad   kale salad fried egg

Northern Spy advises to use a good aged cheddar (they use Cabot clothbound) or substitute Parmesan instead, so I followed their advice when I recreated this salad back at home. I couldn’t find good cheddar and really thought the Parmesan cheese was a proper alternative to the salad I had in New York.

You can serve the salad the way it is, or add a fried egg on top to turn it into a meal. Sounds odd, works unexpectedly well!

kale salad tlt


Northern Spy Food Co. Kale Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Serving Size: 2

Northern Spy Food Co. Kale Salad


1/2 cup (+/- 100 gr.) cubed suash (kabocha or butternut) or chopped carrot
Olive oil (extra-virgin, use a good quality)
Salt and pepper, to taste (I like the crunch of course sea salt)
1 bunch kale, ribs removed and finely sliced
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) almonds, cut in half
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) crumbled cheddar (Cabot clothbound or other aged cheddar. Use Parmesan otherwise)
Fresh lemon juice
Pecorino or other hard cheese, for shaving (optional)
Optional: fried egg


  1. Heat oven to 425F (210C). Toss squash cubes (or carrot) in just enough olive oil to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast in the oven until tender and caramelized, about 40 minutes, tossing every 10-15 minutes.
  2. Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the same oven until they start to smell nutty, tossing once, about 10 minutes. Let cool.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the kale. (Note from me: rubbing or “massaging” the kale with some olive oil first, will soften it and make this salad even better) Add almonds, cheddar and squash (or carrot). Season to taste with lemon juice and olive oil (use about 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons olive oil). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Divide salad between two plates or shallow bowls. Garnish with shaved pecorino cheese and optional fried egg, and serve.


From Nothern Spy Food Co.


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