Monday, March 4, 2013

Lacinato Kale Salad: Three ways!

Happy Monday! 
I actually shouldn't be that excited that it's Monday because, well, it's MONDAY, and this marks the end of my two week "vacation". And I say "vacation" because 2 weeks of packing up one house, cleaning the heck out of it, and then moving into another, cleaning the heck out of it and unpacking hardly is my dream vacation. (Maybe that's why I posted about my dream vacation last Monday.) But I'm back to work! At a whole new job! In a whole new field! Yep, my days of making crappy reality programming have come to an end. Lot's of changes happening over here. In fact, so many that my mind can't completely comprehend, so I'm just gonna talk about kale instead of all the changes. Kale cures everything, right? Even extreme anxiety over the mass amount of quickly happening changes in ones life?

lacinato kale

 I do have to admit that this kale-cures-everything theory is new to me. Up until recently, I actually didn't really like kale. Yep, I said it, a food blogger semi health nut like me, didn't really like kale. (I feel like that is something I should never admit out loud on a food blog.) But since I've changed my ways, I've come to terms with my former kale hating self. And I'm glad to say she's gone. Now, I freaking LOVE kale. So much growing and self exploration happening over here lately. 

kale salad

I have one person to thank for helping me turn over a new leaf (quite literally!), and Adam has one person to blame for his recent forced mass consumption of kale, and that is Jacquelyn over at Marin Mama Cooks. She swears by her lacinato kale salad, even her kids love it. I knew it was my duty as a food blogger to give kale one more shot. 

This salad is incredibly easy and uses ingredients you most likely have on hand. The key is the lacinato kale or tuscan kale, dinosaur kale, Italian kale, whatever you want to call it, it is so much better than that curly kale stuff. Ugh. I went to a restaurant the other day and ordered a kale salad thinking hey I like kale now, I can order a kale salad! Then I got a bowl of curly kale with dressing that clearly was not massaged into it (more on that later) and I was like nope, turns out I only like lacinato kale. But that's just me, maybe you like curly kale. Good for you! I aspire to be like you one day, but for now I'll just have to be very specific about my kale intake. 

Back to the salad, the other key to making this salad work is to get in there and massage the dressing, yes with your hands, into the kale leaves. Really work it on in there, it's kinda fun! Then let the salad relax for a while and soak up all the olive oil, garlic, lemon goodness. (Or serve right away if you are like me and poor at time management.) This salad can last up to 5 days in the fridge (maybe even more!) and the leaves retain their crispness even after being slathered in dressing. Go kale, you rock! I make a big batch on Sunday and use it throughout the week for lunches, dinner, and occasional snaking while in the car. It's that good. 

And this kale salad is versatile! (I'm starting to feel like I'm an infomercial for kale salad.)

If you buy now, we'll throw in a free "I heart kale" bumper sticker! And, if you don't like it after 60 days your money back is guranteeeedddd! 

Just kidding about that last part, you shouldn't keep kale salad for 60 days. It will go bad. And I'm not giving you any money. And I don't have "I heart kale" bumper stickers... yet. 

So, Kale Salad: Three Ways.

1. With lots of grated parmesan.

2. With crunchy buttered bread crumbs.

3. With sliced almonds and dried cranberries.

Basically, any way you top it, this salad is bound to be in constant rotation at your house, I mean if it can turn a kale hater like me into a (lacinato only) kale lover what will it do for you if you already like kale?!! Oh, the wonders!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to get working on my "I heart kale" bumper stickers.

Lacinato Kale Salad
adapted from Marin Mama Cooks
makes 4-6 servings

1very large bunch or two small bunches lacinato kale (also can be called dinosaur kale or tuscan kale), large stems removed and thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of one lemon - about 2 - 3 tablespoons
pinch of salt to taste (go easy on the salt if you are adding parmesan)
a nice big grind of fresh ground pepper
crushed red pepper to taste - I like a lot

To destem the kale, cut or pull the leaves away from the stem. Stack the destemmed leaves together and thinly slice. Place in a large bowl.

Mix the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper in a small bowl or measuring cup. Whisk well. Pour dressing over kale and massage it into the leaves using your hands. Let kale rest for 5 minutes to well... I've gone as long as 5 days. Top with desired optional toppings before serving and toss again.

Optional Toppings:
Grated parmesan 
handful of sliced almonds and dried cranberries
Toasted Buttered Bread Crumbs:
2 Tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Melt butter and olive oil in pan over medium heat. Once melted, add breadcrumbs and stir. Breadcrumbs should absorb all the butter and olive oil, add more breadcrumbs if needed. Toast, stirring frequently until breadcrumbs become golden in color. Remove from heat and allow to cool before topping kale salad with the toasted breadcrumbs. 

Love, Luck, and Happiness!


  1. You're hilarious! I love your I heart kale bumper stickers! This salad has turned all of my friends (and even my kids) from weary kale skeptics into kale lovers. Lacinato kale doesn't have a strong taste and my kids prefer it to arugula and even spinach. I also dislike curly kale, it's way too bitter tasting for me and even leaves a chalky after taste in my mouth. Lacinato kale is also more nutritional than curly kale.
    I'm so happy that this kale salad has turned you into a kale LOVER! I have another pantry lacinato kale salad that I will be posting on the blog Wednesday. It's tied as my second favorite kale salad, the other one being my miso caesar. This one is my favorite though!
    xoxo, Jackie

  2. I think you read my mind because I had 2 heads of lacinato kale in my fridge that I had no idea what to do with. Thank you for the inspiration... although my only problem is de-stemming these things. I can never get it to look right!

    1. Yay! I'm glad I gave you some inspiration and I hope you enjoy the salad! Just cut the stem away, roll up the leaf and slice from end to end. Hope that helps!

  3. Yum! I have always been a huge kale lover and I have actually turned Kevin into one as well. I can do it with a splash of olive oil and balsamic and be in absolute heaven!



    Southern (California) Belle

  4. Decisions, decisions. . . I would put all those things on it at once! You wouldn't know it from my blog but I love kale!

  5. Good luck with your new job! xo

  6. Great blog! Thanks for the recipe!


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