Tuscan Kale Salad

by Anne Bennett on August 22, 2013


I’ve been slow to jump onto the latest superfood bandwagon. Lest you’ve been living under a rock, it’s kale — kale cooked with quinoa, raw kale salad, kale done up every which way.  It reminds me of oat bran and how in the 1980’s everyone thought it was a cure for high cholesterol.  Oat bran was sold out everywhere for months, until enough people actually got around to tasting it.

I think Julia Child got it right when a reporter asked her if she ate oat bran and she replied, “I don’t. As soon as something becomes trendy, I don’t eat it.”

Against my better judgment, I broke down and tried this recipe for kale salad from my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, figuring that if Deb likes kale, I’d give it a go. We had it for dinner the other night with roast chicken. Verdict? It was…good. I’m not going to wax effusive and say that we all fought for the last bits, but it wasn’t…as bad as I thought it would be.

Quite an endorsement, isn’t it? Here’s a better one — I bought more kale to make the salad again tonight. How’s that?

There are some extra steps to making this salad. You have to toast the walnuts, soak the raisins in vinegar and water and toast the bread crumbs. Yes, you can skip these steps, but I’d be compelled to call you a party pooper.

1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs (or regular dry breadcrumbs)
1 small clove garlic, minced
Kosher salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch tuscan kale (also known as lacinato or black kale) washed and patted dry
2 Tbsp. pecorino cheese, grated (I used Parmesan)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Black pepper

Walnuts: toast walnuts in a 350 degree oven until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool and coarsely chop.

Golden raisins: in a small saucepan, simmer vinegar, water and golden raisins for about 5 minutes, until raisins are plump. Set aside.

Breadcrumbs: in a small skillet heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil and add panko breadcrumbs and garlic. Toast crumbs until lightly browned.

Kale: trim off kale stems (the easiest way is to hold the center stem with one hand, cup the other hand around the kale and pull off the leaves). Stack the kale leaves and very thinly slice them into ribbons.

Place the kale into a large serving bowl and add walnuts, raisins, remaining 2 Tbsp. olive oil, lemon juice and cheese. Toss until the kale is coated with dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste and the remaining liquid left from the soaked raisins.  Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes before serving. (I made this several hours ahead and found that the kale softens the longer it sits. It’s even better the next day.) The panko breadcrumbs are best when they are crunchy, so add them when you serve the salad.

Serves 6
WW PP per serving: 5  (due to the walnuts, raisins and olive oil)

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

amy kamm August 22, 2013 at 10:33 am

yes, for the very reasons you cited I have not jumped n band wagon……

Laurie August 23, 2013 at 11:10 am

Have only had kale cooked. It got mixed reviews though with one time excellent and the next time more like mowed grass…awful. Still think it is a worthy endeavor to try to make it edible. I’m still trying to recreate my first attempt. It must be fresh for the best chance of that though. I have some kale now so I’ll devote some of it to this salad. Reviews to come.

On a separate note, I also bought farro last night to try your other recipe.

Gayle August 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I made this with the baby kale from Costco and I soaked craisins in hot water for about 10 minutes (because I didn’t have golden raisins) It was very good. My mother-in-law wants the recipe. The baby kale is very mild. I tossed the salad with the breadcrumbs just before serving, since I couldn’t see where they were added in the assembly instructions.


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