Friday, April 26, 2013

Tuscan Kale Salad With Homemade Croutons

At a recent church function, everyone was invited to bring a healthy dish to share with the congregation.  One particular couple brought several different salads that were each incredibly delicious and unique.  I'm slowly getting around to trying to replicate some of them to share on the blog.  This particular salad surprised me.  I never, ever thought I would like kale.  I mean, isn't kale one of those nasty veggies that only granola-types can stand to eat?  I knew it was good for you (as in super good), but I also figured that meant it was...well...disgusting.

And it is, lol.  Just plain, kale is pretty nasty, but if you dress it up a little or know how to cook it, you will be surprised at how palatable it can be.  This is a traditional Tuscan salad, eaten for hundreds of years, and the Italians haven't died from it yet.  ;)  At least I don't think they have....

Aren't you inspired to try kale now?  Ha ha.  Seriously, it's not that bad, and worth introducing into your diet here and there.  Even my husband will eat this salad!  The kid, not so much, but I'm working on her.

There are two general kinds of kale you will find in your local grocery store:

Left: Curly (or "Scots" kale) and Right: Lacinato (or "dinosaur" or "Tuscan" kale) 

You really could use either variety for this salad, but it calls for the dinosaur version.  With both varieties, when serving raw, you want to remove the center ribs because they are tough and difficult to eat.

slightly adapted from

1 bunch Lacinato kale, mid-ribs removed, and thinly sliced
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
salt & pepper, to taste
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
2/3 cup freshly grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese
1 cup homemade croutons, recipe below (or 1/2 cup toasted bread crumbs)

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes, if using.  Toss with kale in a large serving bowl.  Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss.  Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes; add croutons or bread crumbs and toss again.  Top with remaining 1/3 cheese.  Serve immediately.

slightly adapted from

6-8 slices day-old bread, cubed
3 Tbsp. melted butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In a small bowl, whisk together butter or olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and parsley until well mixed; pour over cubed bread and toss to coat.  Spread cubes on a baking sheet in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes; stir.  Bake for another 5-10 minutes or until dry and crispy and golden brown.  Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Wow this is some really nice stuff. I have been searching for some light recipes like these. I don't like kale too but it looks nice here!