Raw Tuscan Kale Salad Recipe

A beautiful, shredded, raw kale salad tossed in a vibrant, lemony-pecorino dressing. From Melissa Clark's new cookbook, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite. The first thing I made after getting back from Rome.

Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

Sometimes a kale salad is in order. And this is one of those times. I'm home. My suitcase is unpacked. My laundry is done. Fresh flowers are finding their way back into Mason jars, and the avalanche of mail is, quite honestly, being ignored. Travel time from our apartment in Testaccio to our front door in San Francisco: twenty hours. Twenty. Hours. It hurts to even type that. And not to whine about it too much, but flights like that mess me up - the lack of sleep, the dehydration, the weird food. On the worst flights I sometimes get headaches that turn into nausea. I end up craving extra-wholesome food for days after arriving home. This time, my first day back, I turned out a super satisfying lunch inspired by two recipes in Melissa Clark's new cookbook, In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite.

Raw Kale Salad Recipe

The first thing I made was her shredded raw kale salad. Lots of greens tossed in a vibrant, lemony-pecorino dressing. The recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients, but they all deliver - crunchy, toasted breadcrumbs, red pepper flakes, good olive oil. Simple, but special. It's a salad I threw together for lunch, but also something I can imagine making for friends or family when they come over. And I can imagine endless ways you might work it into a one-dish meal. Make a bit of extra dressing, add some farro to the mix, and top with a poached egg, for example. Or, incorporate some roasted winter squash alongside the kale. Or, do a more finely chopped version before folding into a bowl of seasoned quinoa.

Raw Kale Salad Recipe

I ate the kale salad alongside Melissa's mustard and pickle-spiked tofu salad served on toasted poppy seed wheat bread. At that moment, few things would have tasted better. I suspect both recipes will become regulars around here.

Raw Kale Salad Recipe

So, it's nice to be home. I have a couple Rome-centric posts on the near horizon. One with an extra-special recipe from a very unique place, and one compiling a list of my favorite places from this trip with links to some of the sites that helped me plan this trip. Now that I'm not jet-lagged I might be able to wrangle them into something comprehensible...

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Raw Tuscan Kale Salad

I doubled up on the breadcrumbs here. Because who doesn't like a bit of extra crunch? That is reflected in the recipe below. And for those of you without access to pecorino, freshly grated Parmesan would be a reasonable substitute.

1 bunch Tuscan kale (for ex: black or lacinato)
2 thin slices country bread, or two handfuls good, homemade coarse breadcrumbs

1/2 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch

1/4 cup (or small handful) grated pecorino cheese, plus adiitional for garnish

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for garnish

Freshly squeezed juice of one lemon (scant 1/4 cup or ~50ml)

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

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

If using the bread, toast it until golden brown on both sides and dry throughout. Tear into small pieces and pulse in a food processor until the mixture forms coarse crumbs, or crumbs to your liking.

Using a mortar and pestle or a knife, pound or mince the garlic and 1/4 teaspoon of salt into a paste. Transfer the garlic to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup cheese, 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper flakes, and black pepper and whisk to combine. Pour the dressing over the kale and toss very well (the dressing will be thick and need lots of tossing to coat the leaves).. Let the salad sit for 5 minutes, then serve topped with the bread crumbs, additional cheese, and a drizzle of oil.

Adapted from the Raw Tuscan Kale Salad with Chiles and Pecorino recipe in Melissa Clark's In the Kitchen with A Good Appetite.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 5 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I adore kale, but have yet to wrap my mind around a raw dish of it. However. If you and Melissa BOTH applaud it, I am obviously missing out.


What a gorgeous dish. Thanks for sharing.


I am so inspired, I'm making this for dinner tonight!! I just crumbled my bread crumbs and am about to dress the kale. Can't wait! Thank you!


we've been making a salad like this in my house for a while now. recently i made it vegan and gluten-free by using crushed walnuts instead of the cheese and breadcrumbs. (chop the nuts so they're the texture of breadcrumbs.) i also replaced the olive oil with walnut oil and added hemp seeds. earthy, nutty, delicious. HS: Love this idea!


I am cutting down carbs so I made this salad without the bread. I also reduced the olive oil by a tablespoon. YUMMY!!!!!! I love kale, but I have been looking for a way to eat it raw without feeling like a rabbit. This is the ticket!


My mouth is STILL watering!!!

Cat Braithwaite

Welcome back! I also just returned from Italy (3 days in Rome and 10 days in Umbria). While in Rome I made it to some of the places you list in the "20 Things...Rome" and would have loved to have experienced more--they were worth seeking out. Gelateria Teatro set the bar so high for Gelato that every other Gelato I tried on the trip paled in comparison--loved the ciocolatta arancia. Innocenti Biscottificio Artigiano was truly an Italian artisan bakery, the Granita il Pano at Taza d'Oro--heaven in your mouth, and the cacio et pepe at Da Francesco--utter simplicity, yet so full of flavor and texture it was addictive. Thank you for adding to my culinary adventure in Rome. I have an additional experience to mention: Michal, the chef who cooks with love at Percento on Via Sora. She brings the food of her homeland Israel and blends it beautifully with the best of Italian cuisine. She layers flavors in a way that has a symphony playing on your palate. HS: Glad you were able to stop by those spots Julia, I only wish I had your other tips this time last week!


Is kale more nutritious cooked or raw? Always wondered.


Hi Heidi! Since you're a kale lover, I thought to pass along the recipe for a wonderful side dish that I recently ate at a tapas bar. It's a very simple recipe but it must be made a day in advance. To prepare the dish, tear up kale into pieces and place it in a marinade of coconut milk, cayenne and lemon juice. Marinate overnight. The next day, scoop out the kale and place it on the grill for 20 - 30 seconds. Serve immediately. The grill adds a lovely smokiness to the creamy coconut flavor and heat of the cayenne. I imagine this would make a great side dish at a barbecue (or with anything - I love kale!). HS: Totally going to try this. I get it'd be great with grilled tofu and maybe some soba noodles.


Heidi, Thanks for another great recipe! I am trying to prepare more raw food dishes as they are loaded with live enzymes and so healthy for you. I love salads! Can't wait to try this one.

Karen from DeliciousandKosher.com

Whilst I love all things green and nutritious, I found kale a bit too tough for my tastes. I suppose a bit of extra chewing won't do me any harm, and with a garlicky, breadcrumb-crunchy topping, I'll have to give this a try some time. HS: Merry, Try slicing the kale even thinner than is called for here. Maybe in 1/3-inch strips? They'll end up even less structured.


Wow, it's like you're reading my mind, first with the amazing muffins and then a kale salad! Exactly what I'm in the mood for,


Love your posts and kale! In morning greens smoothies (always with a banana and any fruit), raw salads, more. The trick I learned recently is to MASSAGE THE KALE - I slice the whole leaves thinly, add a small amount of whatever liquid and massage/knead it like bread (or sauerkraut). It breaks down the fiber, makes it softer. I keep the stems in - they're the most nutritious part - unless way too old or woody. Check it out!


My Russian Red Kale and Italian Kale (Lacinato) are at their best. This recipe was delivered right on time -- prego!

Tall Clover

Edible Foods Hawaii had a similar kale recipe. Called for pine nuts for which we substituted macadamia nuts. It did call for massaging the leaves with the lemon juice. Also had some dried cranberries. Everyone loved it and I have beau coup black kale in my garden. I will be traveling to Spain shortly and you can add on another 16 hours, including layover, from Hawaii. Not my idea of fun but hope it is worth all the downsides. I'll keep this salad in mind for homecoming. Thanks for your delightful posts. Aloha, Kauairosina


Tuscan kale is my current obsession -- I grew it for the first time this year, and it's the garden gift that keeps on giving, and this in a year when almost nothing else did well, so I'm particularly grateful. And speaking of grateful, we have a local pecorino that's just amazing so when I make this I'll use a grater-ful of that.

becky and the beanstock

I like to travel but, there is nothing like coming home to your own surroundings. I hope you have a chance to rest up before getting back into the swing of life. Love the salad, too.


Oh that does look like a great meal to come back to! Welcome home!

Simply Life

yay for the radness of kale!


Kale + lemon = perfect match. Sounds like such a clean, satisfying salad.

Erin @ Blue Egg Kitchen

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