This simple lacinato kale salad, made with Tuscan kale, salty Parmesan cheese, lemon juice and toasted garlic panko breadcrumbs is a deliciously easy to make salad! One that makes a great side dish with pretty much anything, and for salad lovers like myself, good enough to enjoy on its own.
What is lacinato kale?
Lacinato kale, also referred to dinosaur kale, black kale, or cavolo nero (black cabbage in Italian) is a heirloom variety of Kale that has been enjoyed in Italy for centuries. It’s dark blue-green leaves, with their pebbly appearance are have delicious, earthy flavor that almost a little nutty and sweet. It’s less less bitter than curly leaf kale and more tender, making it a versatile vegetable which can be enjoyed cooked or raw in salads.
Tuscan kale season
In contrast to curly kale, lacinato kale doesn’t need a period of cold or frost to develop its aroma. On the contrary, the main harvest time is late summer and early autumn. Though, you’ll be able to find it at your weekly farmers market in fall and throughout the winter, when kale is typically in demand. With its growing popularity in Germany, we may even start to see if offered in late summer.
Can you eat lacinato kale raw?
Lacinato kale is a great choice for salads! To prepare the leaves, you can simply use your hands to tear the leaves away from the stem or use a sharp knife to trim the leaves away from the stem. Once chopped or cut into thin ribbons, place the leaves in a salad spinner, rinse in cool water, and spin until completely dry. Then add to a large bowl, and massage the leaves with a pinch of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil or lemon juice to soften and season them before tossing them in the dressing. Voila!
How to cook Lacinato kale
Cooking Tuscan kale is really no different than other hearty greens, whether it be savoy cabbage, mature spinach or Swiss chard. They make a wonderful side dish and can be added to fried potatoes, lasagne, stews, and soups, such as Ribollita — a classic Tuscan soup.
Looking for other Lacinato kale recipes?
Try one of these delicious recipe ideas:
- Fall Salad with Tuscan Kale and Parmesan-Roasted Potatoes
- Lacinato Kale Pesto – quick, easy, delicious!
- Kale Tabbouleh with Quinoa
- Winter Pasta Salad with Roasted Vegetables & Buttermilk Dressing
Simple Lacinato Kale Salad
For the salad:
- 1 bunch lacinato kale (250-300 g), destemmed and chopped
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Juice of 1 lemon, plus more to taste
- pinch of dried chili flakes
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 30 g finely grated parmesan cheese, plus more to garnish
For the breadcrumbs:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic clove, minced
- 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs (25 g)
- pinch coarse sea salt
Transfer the kale to a large serving bowl and using your hands massage with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and pinch of salt for a few minutes until all the leaves are coated.
Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus the lemon juice, parmesan, chili flakes, salt, and pepper; toss well to combine (or use hands again). Let stand 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with more lemon juice, salt, pepper and/or chili flakes. Let the salad sit for about while you prepare the breadcrumbs. (This gives the kale leaves a chance to further soften).
To prepare the bread crumbs, in a small non-stick skillet heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat, add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Then add the panko breadcrumbs and cook, stirring continuously, until golden browned, about 2 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from the heat and toss half of the breadcrumbs with the salad. Garnish with remaining on top, plus a little more parmesan, if desired.
Serve and enjoy!
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