Tuscan Kale Salad w/ Pecorino

tuscan kale salad with pecorino

Kale and I have enjoyed a sultry love affair for over a year now. We’ve definitely moved past the puppy dog phase and we’re currently treading in the I leave a toothbrush in his medicine cabinet territory. Yes, I’m talking about KALE.  Lately I’ve been looking for something new to “spice up” our relationship. I’ve seen this salad on a few of my favorite food blogs and I thought it might lead us back to the non-stop PDA phase. It worked! Suddenly I’m absolutely infatuated with kale again and all it took was this simple salad!

tuscan kale salad

Close your eyes and you might think you’re eating a Caesar salad. Open your eyes and look at that dark leafy green pile of healthy kale sitting on your plate! Crazy, huh? You’ll notice how creamy/sharp the Pecorino is and that lemony red pepper dressing sure is tangy AND spicy, right?  I find that the texture of the kale shreds pairs so well with bits of the crunchy country bread crumbs, don’t you? Now that I know how easy it is to make this, I’m totally going on a Raw Tuscan Kale Salad bender. Think Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas but sub the alcohol with Kale. Watch me.

And we’re off!

Ingredient Party!! You’re invited.


Toast bread. Cut it up.

country bread

Throw it into a mini food processor. BREADCRUMBS. Go easy on the motor. It might smoke.

making bread crumbs

Mortar. Pestle. I rarely use this thing. Bust yours out! I forgot how fun they can be! Hello garlic & salt SMASH.


Grate the Pecorino. A micro-plane is awesome sauce for this task!


Add oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper to that garlic paste. Oh look! There’s the breadcrumbs!


Add the cheese to the dressing. Stir!

with the cheese added

Remove the stalks from the Kale. Shred it up with a knife. Ribbons, strands, what have you…

cut up that kale

Pour the dressing on top.

pour the dressing on

Mix thoroughly! Really get in there with your hands. Wait a good 5 minutes.

mix. let sit.

Now plate! Add the breadcrumbs and some extra cheese for good measure.

tuscan kale salad

A heaping bowl of kale salad will do a body good.

tuscan kale salad

Kale, pass it on!

Tuscan Kale Salad with Pecorino

Makes 2 generous servings

(recipe slightly adapted from In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite by Melissa Clark)

  • 1 bunch Tuscan Kale (aka black or lacinato)
  • 1 thin slice country bread or 1/4 c. good, homemade coarse bread crumbs (leave in some thick bits!)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, plus a pinch
  • 1/4 c. finely grated Pecorino cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish
  • freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Trim the bottom two inches off the kale stems and discard. Slice the kale into 3/4-inch ribbons. You should have 4-5 cups. Place the kale in a large bowl.

Toast bread on both sides and tear it into small pieces. Grind in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs.

Using a mortar and pestle or a heavy knife, pound or mince the garlic and 1/4 tsp. salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 c. cheese, 3 Tbsp. oil, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine.

Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well to combine thoroughly. Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs & additional cheese.

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