Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan

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Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan is a twist on bacon-wrapped, almond-stuffed dates. Seriously decadent and delicious! 

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

File Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan under things that I am currently OB-sessed with.

The list also includes my new Kleen Kanteen (giveaway coming soon!) this Paella, becoming a router expert  (I haven’t been able to access my site through my router for 3 days – RAGE,) mug cakes, chocolate chips, chocolate chips in mug cakes, baby TOMS, adding frankincense oil to my face cream in an attempt to reduce fine lines (so far all it’s doing is making me smell like a pine tree,) Lincoln’s new obsession with growling and oh, did I mention this salad???

Holy buckets, people!

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan is a riff on one of my very favorite party appetizers, Bacon-Wrapped Almond-Stuffed Dates, which are an absolute hit anytime I make them. I thought the flavors would make a mouthwatering warm kale salad and I’ve never been so glad to be so right about anything in my entire life.

Ok, that’s a bit dramatic but seriously, l-o-v-i-n-g this combo! Part salad, part stir fry – all awesome.

Torn fresh kale is quickly sauteed with Medjool dates, Marcona almonds, and a luscious Maple-Almond Vinaigrette then combined with salty bacon and crispy shallots. Oh and shaved parmesan cheese because I legit could not stop adding ALL THE THINGS.

This salad is decadent but so worth it. Anyway, I like to think that eating this much kale practically requires me to eat all the aforementioned things. Capisce? Glad we’re on the same page.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Start with a bunch of kale. Literally! You’ll need 8 cups of kale for this salad, which is about 1 bunch.

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I used curly kale because it holds up better to heat than some other varieties. We want the kale to warm and soften slightly in this salad, not cook until it’s wilted.

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Just tear the leaves from the stems then into bite-sized pieces. You can save the stems for making vegetable stock, or for juicing!

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Rinse the kale then spin or pat dry very well and set aside.

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Next chop 5 Medjool dates. Medjool dates are chewy, sticky, and sweet. They not only make great appetizers, but are an awesome late night snack. Perfectly sweet but full of fiber and potassium too. A treat I can feel good about eating!

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If you don’t want to buy a whole package, most grocery stores sell ‘em in the bulk bins. Just slice in half lengthwise, then chop into pieces.

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Time for some heat! Add 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to a very large skillet over medium-high heat, then add 2 sliced large shallots and fry until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain then sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside. Once you taste crispy shallots on a salad, it’s hard not to add them every time!

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Turn the heat down to medium then add 3 slices chopped bacon. Saute until golden brown and crispy then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and set aside.

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Next, remove all but 2 teaspoons oil from the skillet (I use a spoon to scoop it into a foil-lined prep cup, then discard once it hardens,) then add the torn kale, chopped dates, and 1/4 cup Marcona almonds.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Marcona almonds are from Spain and are INSANE. Ben and I are, you guessed it, obsessed. They’re creamy, salty and, just, wow! You can usually find these babies by the specialty cheese counter at the grocery store but in case they’re nowhere to be found, or you don’t want to pay the higher price they usually command because they’re so delicious, just use sliced almonds.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Finally, drizzle in a batch of Maple-Almond Vinaigrette. That’s 2 Tablespoons each almond butter (or tahini) and balsamic vinegar, combined in a jar with 1 Tablespoon each extra virgin olive oil and maple syrup then microwaved for 20 seconds and shaken until smooth. Pour the dressing into the skillet then toss until the kale is just coated then immediately remove to two plates.

By the way, I used this same dressing in my Kale Chopped Salad with Maple-Almond Vinaigrette. It pairs incredibly well with kale.

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Top the salad with the cooked bacon and crispy shallots, and last but definitely not least, shaved parmesan cheese. Like I said – I just couldn’t help myself!

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots

and Parmesan

Print this recipe!

Serves 2

Ingredients: 
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, cut into thin rings
3 slices bacon
1 bunch kale (about 8 cups,) removed from ribs then torn into bite-sized pieces
5 pitted Medjool dates, chopped
1/4 cup Marcona almonds (or sliced almonds)
1 recipe Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 Tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions: 

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots then fry until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain then sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  2. Turn heat down to medium then add bacon to skillet and cook until browned and crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain then set aside. Remove all but 2 teaspoons bacon grease from the skillet.
  3. Add kale, dates, and almonds then saute for 30 seconds. Add vinaigrette and then toss until just coated. Divide kale between two plates then top with reserved bacon, crispy shallots, and parmesan cheese.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Kale salads are kiiind of a pain to make because you have to massage the kale to get it tender enough to eat raw. Giving it a super quick saute in a hot skillet lets you bypass this step. So awesome! Enjoy!

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

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Comments

  1. Bacon, Greens, almonds…everything about this is amazing! I love warm kale salad but have never added dates. I have a whole containtainer I use in bars but this is definitely what’s for dinner tonight, thanks for the recipe!

  2. Wow–this salad definitely looks worthy of obsession. I have got to try this. Pinning for later. :)

  3. Chicago Jogger 02.26.2014

    Yum! All the things! I never thought to warm the kale but still serve it salad-like. Smart idea.

  4. Mary Ann 02.26.2014

    Sounds delicious, definitely pinning this one! We’ve bought Marcona Almonds at Costco before, my 5 yo nephew loves them!

  5. I love this salad. Can I eat it for breakfast? I’ll be making this right away. Also, I love Marconi almonds so much. Have you tried TJoes Rosemary Marconi almonds? They’re an amazing snack. Thanks for sharing!

  6. You always make the BEST salads! Bacon is good in everything and this salt sweet combo sounds incr-edibly delicious! Pinned!

  7. Emily 02.26.2014

    This salad looks delicious! For the fine lines, try maracuja oil! I have the tarte brand one, it has been a miracle and it doesn’t smell like a thing!

  8. Shandy 02.26.2014

    I LOVE marcona almonds. Have found them at a very decent price at Costco.

  9. Date and I have a little love affair going right now, and of course they would be amazingggggg with bacon and almonds. Girl, this is a salad that would make even a veggie skeptic cry tears of joy!

  10. Karla 02.26.2014

    OMG! I die!!

  11. I need to make this! Looks amazing…

  12. I love a warm salad, compared to a cold salad in the wintertime! And I have been having a craving for dates so this is perfect!

  13. Tracy 02.26.2014

    Love the idea to sauté the kale!

    I adore those macron almonds! They can be made into insanely delicious creamy almond butter by the way!

  14. Jyl 02.26.2014

    I made this for lunch minus the bacon, hands down my new favorite salad. Thank you

  15. This salad looks amazing! I love the all the salty, sweet, and crunchy elements going on in it!

  16. Ugh, this looks fabulous! I actually made a kale salad recently with coconut bacon but me thinks this one would be waaaay bettah. I can imagine the flavors of the dates and crispy shallots pair perfectly with the maple vinaigrette. I can’t wait to try it!

  17. OH, that dressing. And those almonds, and the bacon, etc. Loving the flavor combination big time! Your salads always make me want to trade in whatever I’m eating for lunch. :)

  18. Michelle 02.26.2014

    Trader Joe’s FINALLY opened in Denver & this salad is the first recipe I made with Trader Joe’s goods. So delicious!

  19. Teresa (@Iowamyhome) 02.26.2014

    Luann’s Salad is still my favorite kale recipe, but this looks like a keeper too. Was just thinking, I’ve been hearing that cauliflower is the new “it” vegetable. Do you have any new recipes with cauliflower? I’ve seen the cauliflower pizza crust and tots, but I’d like something quick and easy to try. Thanks!

    • Kristin 02.26.2014

      It’s funny you ask because I am currently OBSESSED with Lindsay from Pinch of Yum’s Creamy Cauliflower Sauce e-cookbook! There’s a link to it in the right hand column of my blog. I’ve made something from it every week for the past three weeks (including tonight!)

  20. Jenn 02.26.2014

    Saw your brother in the paper today! Great article.

  21. Julianne 02.26.2014

    YUM!!

  22. Emily 02.26.2014

    Stop it. STOP IT. Yum!

  23. Katie 02.26.2014

    Haha. Those are my grandma’s dates. Literally. She’s a date grower in Bard,CA. Awesome. The salad looks great, too!

  24. I love all of these flavors together! Plus you can pile on the goodies because it’s on a big bed of kale…yum!

  25. This salad looks really good! I love all of your ideas for kale…I’m always looking for other ways to use it in recipes. Thanks!

  26. Dream Mom 02.26.2014

    Stop it! That looks insane. I was kind of skimming over it until I got to the Medjool dates, which I love. Not sure who would want to buy a smaller portion of those since they are delicious. Then I started imagining all of those flavors coming together between the shallots, bacon, dates, kale and almonds and I was sold! I’ve never tried Marconi almonds so this will be a great recipe to check out. I love the idea of warming the kale in the pan and absorbing all of those flavors that you cooked with the salad. Looks like this recipe will be a keeper for sure. Ben is one lucky man…who wouldn’t want to come home to a salad like this?

  27. Of course all that green offsets all the toppings! Heck ya—add some more! Yum!

  28. Tami Black 02.27.2014

    I’ve never in my life eaten kale and since I’ve been around for 50+ years and had never even heard of it until about 10 years ago (sheltered!), I really thought it was a Communist plot. But, since you are blogging about it, I’m going to try this — looks awesome. I’m a serious salad woman and this looks delish!

    I can also say I had never followed a food blog until I found yours and the Lincoln pix are like dessert — growling? Do tell…..

  29. Hi Kristin! What a great looking Kale Salad. I’ve been planning on making a salad with kale one day, but I suppose I’ve been shy about it because I felt like the salad needed a lot to really stand up to bitter, raw kale. Looks like you’ve totally figured that out – love all the toppings you chose here! So yummy. :)

  30. Lea 02.27.2014

    Ooooooh, man, this salad just moved its way to the top of my menu plan for next week. Crsipy shallots are my new favorite thing… how did I not know sooner?

  31. Wowza! I think this hearty, healthy salad could definitely convince my hubby to embrace salads as a meal! Thanks for sharing, Kristin!

  32. Molly 02.27.2014

    We recently discovered Marcona almonds as well. We found large containers of them at Costco. Not a bad idea for $11 or so.

  33. Lauren L. 02.27.2014

    Sooooo I think your inspiration for this salad was from Westside Local in Kansas City, which is coincidentally where I’m going to dinner tonight…and DEFINITELY ordering their kale salad!

  34. Chelsey Carbone 02.27.2014

    Can’t wait to try this! I’ve been looking for more things to do with kale, it’s so good for you. Thanks for the post :)

  35. Anne [A Squared] 02.28.2014

    This looks amazing– and like a kale salad my husband might consider eating!

  36. Chris 03.03.2014

    Your photography is beautiful and makes my mouth water thinking of the fantastic flavors. This Kale salad looks wonderful. I could eat this several days a week. Thanks

  37. Amy 03.04.2014

    I made this last night with what I had on hand. Dried Figs and cashews instead of dates and almonds. It was the best salad I’ve had in a while. My husband loved it too. Thanks!

  38. I’ve made this four times since last week and I love it! I always hope there’s going to be leftovers and there haven’t been any yet. My husband loves it too and my mom had never tried a kale salad before but was hooked after trying this one! Thanks, Kristin!

  39. Kelsey 03.06.2014

    I made this for dinner tonight and LOVED IT! Even my extremely picky fiance who hates kale enjoyed it. Thank you so much, just started to follow you on bloglovin – can’t wait to try your other recipes. The dressing is amazing!

    Kelsey @ http://www.styledbysuzanne.com

  40. […] Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan via Iowa Girl Eats […]

  41. […] Q: Do you create your own recipes? What one is your favorite that you have recently made? A: Recipes on my site are about 70/30 my recipes/adapted or inspired by other recipes. If I’m creating a recipe that is based on another one, I always site the original source. My favorite recipe as of late would definitely be my Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots, and Parmesan. It’s a riff on my favorite appetizer, Almond-Stuffed, Bacon-Wrapped Dates, and is so fantastic! (http://iowagirleats.com/2014/02/26/warm-kale-salad-with-bacon-dates-almonds-crispy-shallots-and-parm…) […]

  42. […] also made this awesome salad creation from Iowa Girl Eats.  Holy moly, you have to try it!  It is basically bacon wrapped dates in a kale […]

  43. […] Of course, when we typed in “bacon vs. kale” for fun, we also got a slew of tempting-looking recipes. Radosavljevic-Szilagyi reminded us that’s because Google’s algorithm is always calculating “what might be useful to you when you ask a question.” Thanks, Google. Yes, I would like to make Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan. […]

  44. […] Of course, when we typed in “bacon vs. kale” for fun, we also got a slew of tempting-looking recipes. Radosavljevic-Szilagyi reminded us that’s because Google’s algorithm is always calculating “what might be useful to you when you ask a question.” Thanks, Google. Yes, I would like to make Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan. […]

  45. Alicia 03.25.2014

    Hey! This recipe is included in an NPR’s The Salt article!

  46. […] Of course, when we typed in “bacon vs. kale” for fun, we also got a slew of tempting-looking recipes. Radosavljevic-Szilagyi reminded us that’s since Google’s algorithm is always calculating “what competence be useful to we when we ask a question.” Thanks, Google. Yes, we would like to make Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan. […]

  47. Cari 04.13.2014

    I have never logged on to comment before even though I’ve made and loved LOTS of your recipes…but this was my favorite thing I’ve eaten in a really long time!!!! Thanks for all of the time and work you put into your blog. The Iowa part just puts it over the top for me!

  48. MaryAnn Frandsen 04.26.2014

    Holy Catballs was this ever amazing! I doubled the dressing (don’t judge) because I had made it before on your other kale salad and remembered how fantastic it was! You are so right about the shallots, I won’t make a salad without them anymore. Add the dates, bacon, almonds, and parm….just pure food heaven. Oh yeah, I’m making this again tomorrow night. :-)

    • MaryAnn Frandsen 05.24.2014

      Yes, I am replying to my own comment but just wanted to say we are having a total love affair with this salad! I have made it many times and we ooh and ahh over it every.single.time. Readers, if you haven’t made it yet do yourself a favor and DO IT NOW you won’t be sorry. Your welcome.

      • Kristin 05.25.2014

        Aww – yay! So glad to hear that – it’s one of my favorites too!

  49. Becky 06.26.2014

    Any nutritional info available? Love this recipe – it’s become a regular in our house!

  50. […] first encountered this recipe on Iowa Girl Eats. Bacon wrapped dates are one of those iconic appetizer combos – yet rarely do you see them […]

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