Kale Salad: The Making Of

Remember when I said I often have the urge to make photo captions based on the song lyrics running through my head? Try this one on for size: “Yeah baby I like it raw”.

Kale Salad, I like it raw

Seriously, a few years ago I started seeing recipes for raw kale salad, in Gourmet magazine (RIP), in the NY Times, everywhere… And I kept thinking, “now, how good could that be?” If only I had known I’d be eating it, no, craving it once a week. I serve it to guests, often at dinner parties, and everyone says the same thing as they ask for more, “Is that RAW kale?!”. Yeah baby, you like it raw.

My friend Christine recently wrote her own ode to kale salad on her blog. The two of us were dining together with our men at the most awesome Roberta’s, when we first tasted the salad that would change us. She gets all Super Food on that shit and adds raw beets and walnuts. Me, I like to keep it classico with pine nuts, a hint of chili and some good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Although, I’ll make that salad with anything I’ve got on hand, any time I need to feel all is right in the world and in my digestive system (it’s just got to be good for that, right?). The salad pictured below has Ricotta Salata and Pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cause that’s what was stocked at the time.

Don’t matter how you do it, just as long as it’s raw.


The Making of a Kale Salad with Ricotta Salata, Pepitas and Chili

Kale Salad (my way)

  • 1 bunch lacinato (or Tuscan) kale (but use any kale you want, curly kale works just fine)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (the trick is to use a lot, you may use as much as 1/2 cup)
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest (if your lemon isn’t that juicy, use 2)
  • …if you don’t have a lemon, I like to sub about 2 tablespoons white wine or sherry vinegar
  • 1 dried chili of your choosing, crumpled
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pine Nuts, a handful, toasted if you please
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated (add more as a garnish if you’d like)

Stem and wash the kale, then cut it into very thin strips. In a large salad bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice and zest, chili, salt and pepper – whisk to combine. Then add the kale, nuts and cheese (this is where you can improvise with with any dry cheese and nuts of your choice) and toss well to combine. If the greens don’t seem like they’re good and coated, you can add some more olive oil. Garnish with some additional grated cheese and serve.

The second trick is to make the salad first and then continue prepping dinner. It gets really tasty after the kale marinates in all that flavor for a bit.

It doesn’t keep that well, but I find that leftover salad made at dinner time tastes damn fine with a fried egg over it at breakfast.

Kale Salad, served.

5 Responses to “Kale Salad: The Making Of”

  1. #

    amanda says:


    kidding. can you come here and cook with us again?

  2. #

    Heather says:

    Anytime, as long as you take the pictures!

  3. #

    Audrey Derell says:

    I’m making this kale salad tonight with organic, colored kale, manchego cheese and chile pepitas….can’t wait!

    • #

      Heather says:

      Ooooh, excellent! Be warned, I used some purple kale once and it was a bit tougher than the Lacinato and not great for a raw salad. Hopefully your kale is nice and leafy – and of course organic is the way to go!

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