Tuscan Kale Salad

Kale is one of those vegetables that you know you are supposed to eat – being so nutritious and all – but you don’t necessarily look forward to it. However this recipe will allow you to wear your healthy eating halo and for your tastebuds to dance simultaneously! The combination of the sharp italian hard cheese, toasty almonds, rich iron greens and citrus tang of lemon is really quite sublime and it is my favourite way to enjoy Kale hands down.

This is an adaptation of an original Italian recipe which uses pine nuts – which I love – but can’t bring myself to buy here in SA due to the cost – and actually I genuinely feel that the flavour of the toasted almonds improves the dish in any case. The original recipe also calls for breadcrumbs but I leave that out to keep the salad lighter.

You can add more lemon juice – more garlic – more of whatever you like in this salad – there are no rules, and as its a more robust salad it’s great for getting in those raw greens when the weather is colder and less salad friendly.

I have made it with both Tuscan kale (Cavolo Nero) and curly kale and you CAN use either of them – but I do lean towards the Tuscan variety when I can find it. If you are using the curly kale you will have to de-stem the very fibrous spines of each leaf. Easy enough to do!

Ingredients for 4 servings

  • 1 large bunch Tuscan kale (around 220g)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil/hazelnut oil/oil you like
  • 1 lemon (3 to 4 tablespoons juice, plus zest)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated hard italian cheese – Pecorino/Parmesan or Vegan varietal
  • 1/4 cup toasted almond flakes
  • Fresh ground black pepper


  1. Wash and dry the kale. Then destem and roughly shred the kale
  2. Peel and mince/grate the garlic clove.
  3. Place the shredded kale in a bowl and add the oil you are using and massage gently into the kale making sure all the leaves are covered.
  4. In another small bowl combine the garlic, salt, lemon juice, and fresh ground black pepper, lemon zest and parmesan.
  5. Toss the dressing in with the Kale well and just before serving add the toasted almond flakes as they will lose their crunchiness if you add them too early.