Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

Browned butter brussels sprout salad 3

Kale salad is more in keeping with the season, yes? For those sighing heavily at the suggestion of more kale, what if I imbue it with warm browned butter? You know, instead of the oil that you’d normally douse it with.

Browned butter brussels sprout salad 2

Perhaps you already know the trick of massaging your raw kale leaves with olive oil, which loosens up the leaves a bit, mellowing them out and making them easier to eat. Drizzling them with warm, just-browned butter does the same – it tames the kale, dialing it down toward cooked, but still raw. It’s easier on the teeth, and to pile onto your fork. Which you’ll want to do.

Browned Butter

To brown butter, all you need to do is melt it, then leave it on the stove a little longer, swirling the pan occasionally, until the foam starts to turn nutty and brown. The result is like butter supreme – the milk solids toasty, the whole lot salty and amplified. A squeeze of lemon adds the acid it needs, making it more like a salad than buttered veg, but letting the browned butter be the hero.

Browned butter brussels sprout salad 1

This would do well with apples or pears, goat cheese or blue cheese, toasted walnuts or almonds, but I had extra aged Gouda that had dried out almost to the point of Parmesan, and hazelnuts just seemed like a good idea.

Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears


January 14, 2014

  • Makes: Serves 4.


½ bunch kale, leaves removed and thinly sliced

4-5 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced or shaved (discard stem ends) – optional

¼ cup butter

1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice

salt and pepper, to taste

1 ripe but firm pear, chopped

½ cup roughly chopped hazelnuts, almonds or walnuts, toasted

¼-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese or aged Gouda


1Put the kale and Brussels sprouts in a bowl. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat; continue cooking, swirling the pan occasionally, until the foam starts turning golden and nutty-smelling. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.

2Pour over the kale, scraping out the bottom of the pan to get all those browned bits, and toss to coat well. Add the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

3Add the pear, hazelnuts and Parmesan cheese, toss and serve.


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16 comments on “Browned Butter Kale Salad with Hazelnuts and Pears

  1. Jules @ WolfItDown
    January 15, 2014 at 2:54 am

    This looks amazing J! I love how adding a piece of fruit and nuts for some different consistencies. As for me, I am afraid I haven’t eaten nearly as much kale as I would have liked to *sigh*
    This looks like something I’d love to try my hands on though 😀 Delicious!
    I hope the week is treating you well so far 🙂 x

  2. Sue.D
    January 15, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Love the sound of this. Here I am, salivating at the thought of a kale salad and it’s not even 8am! Well done Julie!

  3. Nicole Boyhouse
    January 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

    You know in Old School where Will Farrell is saying to that old guy, “You’re my boy, Blue! You’re my boy.” That is how I feel about you right now with this salad. You’re my girl, Julie! You’re my girl. With Dust in the Wind playing in the background. Keep on keeping on. I have kale in the fridge right now (big surprise…) and I’m going to make this baby!

  4. kickpleat
    January 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    Julie, this looks amazing – brown butter & hazelnuts?!! You’re a genius, even if I can’t stand pears. Yum!!

  5. Julie Kinnear
    January 16, 2014 at 7:31 am

    I am probably not going to give the kale a go, but I absolutely LOVE the idea of browned butter and the nuts, never seen in before. I will definitely give it a try with the next warm salad I make. Thank you very much!

  6. Susan
    January 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    You’re a genius Julie! Currently on the Subway in Toronto and planning the grocery shopping list for the upcoming week. This will be part of dinner tomorrow night!

  7. Jaya
    January 17, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Brown butter brilliant! I never would have thought to pair brown butter and salad, but it looks/sounds (and I’m sure it also smells) amazing! What a gorgeous salad.

  8. Carolyn
    January 18, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    I made this for lunch today. My entire family ate this, without complaining (a huge compliment)! A definite make again!

  9. Sherene Sieben
    January 20, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Amazing use of brown butter! Just love how versatile and easy and delicious this is!!!

    Thank you!

  10. Bryan
    January 26, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    So this is pretty much the best salad I’ve ever tasted. Genius!

  11. Tushar
    January 30, 2014 at 5:59 am

    I love how you use Kale in this – we use it with Citrus fruits, Gorgonzola and Walnuts:

  12. Fructe uscate
    February 17, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Healthy recipe!

  13. Canuck
    November 4, 2014 at 7:07 am

    Loaf was very dense. I might use less flour next time. Tasted like a cinnamon loaf. Good use for some very nasty pears I had.

  14. Erin
    March 5, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Unreal. So simply delicious. Thank you Julie!

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