This Crispy Mushroom Kale Salad with Parmesan Garlic Dressing is a hearty, delicious, plant based salad with tons of texture and flavor. The mushrooms are sautéed until crispy and tossed with fresh thyme, then served over a massaged kale salad with avocado and a creamy, garlicky dressing!
This recipe was actually a complete accident. I had a fridge full of odds and ends, and needed a quick dinner to make for my mom and I! I had some leftover mushrooms from recipes I was testing earlier in the week, and some leftover caesar dressing from another recipe, and a head of kale that was about to go bad. I threw it all together, and then this salad was born! It’s seriously SO delicious and satisfying. Definitely a new favorite.
This salad is SO crazy satisfying even though there’s no meat! I really love incorporating a lot of plant based meals in my diet, and this is one of the ways I do that. Lots of greens, veggies, healthy fats, and flavor.
This salad totally hits every element of what makes a salad satisfying – texture from the crispy mushrooms and kale, creaminess from the avocado and dressing, and all around flavor from the fresh thyme and garlicky dressing.
It all starts with these beauties. Basically you just sauté the heck out of mushrooms, and don’t add salt until the very end. I learned this trick years and years ago, when I first started cooking, in middle school. The salt draws out too much moisture from the mushrooms in the beginning, and they don’t get as golden and crispy. So save the salt for the very end, after they let go of their natural moisture!
I sauté them for a good 10-12 minutes, and try not to move them too much so they get a nice crispy exterior. They’re SO good! I could just stand at the stove and devour that whole pan.
The next most delicious component is the dressing! When I originally made this, I had leftover caesar dressing from another recipe, which was delicious, but I wanted to switch it up and I went with a creamy garlic parmesan dressing. It just sounded GOOD.
And I’m so glad I did because it’s freaking delicious. Creamy, but still light and citrusy. It uses Greek yogurt instead of mayo which is always a win. That swap will forever be one of my faves!
Another key to this salad, which I’ve talked about many times, is how you have to massage the kale. Which if you’ve never done it, basically means you drizzle it with a little olive oil, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt, (or dressing or whatever), and rub it between your fingers to break it down a bit and make it more soft and palatable. I always do it to my kale salads!
Even if it has another dressing (like this one does), I start with that step before I add the “real” dressing!
Such dreamy veggie goodness!
Crispy Mushroom Kale Salad with Creamy Parmesan Garlic Dressing
This Crispy Mushroom Kale Salad with Creamy Parmesan Garlic Dressing is a hearty, delicious, plant based salad with tons of texture and flavor. The mushrooms are sautéed until crispy and tossed with fresh thyme, then served over a massaged kale salad with avocado and a creamy, garlicky dressing!
For the dressing
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
For the mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 6 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, plus extra for serving
For the salad
- 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
- pinch of salt
- 1 avocado, thinly sliced
Make the dressing. In a food processor, combine the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper and blend until smooth and creamy. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper if desired.
For the mushrooms, heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and pepper and cook for 10-12 minutes, until golden and crispy. Don't stir them too often, you want them to develop a crispy crust! After they're finished cooking, season with salt and stir in the fresh thyme.
While mushrooms are cooking, massage the kale. Add kale to a large bowl and add the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Massage for a few minutes until the kale softens and decreases in volume. Toss kale with a few tablespoons of the dressing to coat. To assemble the salads, top the kale with the crispy mushrooms, then add avocado, desired amount of dressing, and a sprinkle of fresh thyme.