Kale Salad with Pecorino & Walnuts

Yield: 3 to 4 servings Active time: 30 minutes Total time: 40 minutes January 4, 2020

I’m just getting to know kale. This finely shredded salad has a lot of steps (toast the walnuts, plump the raisins, toast the breadcrumbs, grate the pecorino), but it’s elegant and special, and is a lovely way to enjoy your leafy greens.

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.


  • 1/2 cup (3 3/4 oz.) walnut halves or pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz.) golden raisins
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 oz.) panko or slightly coarse homemade breadcrumbs (from a thin slice of hearty bread)
  • 1 tiny clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • Coarse or kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 bunch (about 14 oz.) tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale; this is the thinner, flatter leaf variety), washed and patted dry
  • 2 ounces pecorino cheese, grated or ground in a food processor, which makes it delightfully rubbly (1/2 cup total)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes, to taste


Prepare walnuts: Heat oven to 350º. Toast walnuts on a baking sheet for 10 minutes, tossing once. Let cool and coarsely chop.

Prepare raisins: In a small saucepan over low heat, simmer white wine vinegar, water and raisins for 5 minutes, until plump and soft. Set aside in liquid.

Prepare crumbs: Toast bread crumbs, garlic and 2 tsp; of the olive oil in a skillet together with a pinch of salt until golden. Set aside.

Prepare kale: Trim heavy stems off kale and remove ribs. if removing the ribs is annoying with a knife, tear the ribs off with your fingers. Stack sections of leaves and roll them into a tube, then cut them into very thin ribbons crosswise.

Assemble salad: Put kale in a large bowl. Add pecorino, walnuts and raisins (leaving any leftover vinegar mixture in dish), remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil and lemon juice and toss until all the kale ribbons are coated. Taste and adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and some of the reserved vinegar mixture from the raisins, if needed. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving, if you can, as it helps the ingredients come together. Just before serving, toss with breadcrumbs and, if needed, a final 1 tsp. drizzle of olive oil.

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