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Kale Salad with Almonds and Warm Garlic Golden Raisin Vinaigrette

Ingredient mysteries are part of the fun of co-posting with a friend from another country. Earlier this year Giovanna asked, “What is whole wheat flour?” We discovered that in Italy it’s called ‘farina integrale’. And believe me, when we were in Italy, we spent plenty of time in confusion – especially at the grocery store. One of my favorite posts from the trip tells, err shows, all about it. KaleSaladGiovanna and I agreed that we should choose an ingredient and offer our own take on it, so I suggested lacinato kale. Here was her response:

It  is a beautiful idea, I love lacinato kale! I thought it was typical from Tuscany and not well known outside this region …. When I read “lacinato kale” I had to see a dictionary – I discovered a new word! Wow … We call it cavolo nero!

It turns out that this kale answers to many names. Check out this list from Wikipedia: lacinato kale, Tuscan kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, black kale, flat back cabbage, palm tree kale, or black Tuscan palm.  This green wonder is not just diverse in name; it’s utterly delicious and endlessly versatile. Giovanna decided to share her recipe for Kale Bruschetta (Yum! Can’t wait to try it.) And I chose a salad.

Oh heavenly salad! I’m making it again tonight, the third time this week.


I have to thank Kathryn of CookieAndKate for a technique that is KEY to the flavor of this salad – a salt massage. The other keys: leave the stems, slice in the thinnest ribbons you can (chiffonade if you’re fancy :), a warm tangy, savory, sweet vinaigrette – reminiscent of the warm bacon vinaigrette that you often see on spinach salads.


I realize that many recipes involving kale advise to remove and discard the stems. Perhaps this is a case of cutting the ends off of the roast? I love the stems; they add crunch and depth of flavor. Remove them if you must, but please try the recipe once with them intact. I predict you’ll be converted.

Even though I’ve offered amounts for the warm vinaigrette, it’s a to-taste kind of recipe. Adjust any of the elements to suit your taste. The combination of raisins and garlic may seem odd, but just wait until you taste it! Divine.

Kale Salad with Almonds and Warm Garlic Golden Raisin Vinaigrette
For the Salad
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale (see post for aliases), sliced in to very thin ribbons
  • fine sea salt
For the Warm Vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ⅓ cup golden raisins
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Top
  • ⅓ cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds
  • several shavings of good quality Parmesan cheese
  1. Place kale ribbons into a serving bowl. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of fine sea salt. Massage salt into kale by squeezing it in fistfuls and then rubbing it between your fingers, until it turns a darker shade of green and has a softer texture - just a minute or two. Set aside.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and garlic. Cook and stir until garlic and fragrant and softened, but not browned. Adjust the heat as necessary.
  3. Add golden raisins to garlic in skillet; cook and stir until raisins have plumped and softened, about 15 seconds. Add lemon juice and zest, stir to combine.
  4. Remove from heat; add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  5. Drizzle warm vinaigrette evenly over kale; toss to coat.
  6. Sprinkle salad with toasted almonds and Parmesan cheese shavings.
  7. Serve.
Serves 4 as a side dish

28 Responses to Kale Salad with Almonds and Warm Garlic Golden Raisin Vinaigrette

  1. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella January 14, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    That looks divine! And hehe we call it Tuscan Kale or Cavalo Nero :P Isn’t it funny how all of these names change? Same with fish names-they’ve renamed all these fish types here!

    • Marissa January 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

      It is funny – I wonder who decides about the names? The proverbial ‘they’ I suppose. :)

  2. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen January 14, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I can´t believe I never had kale! It´s not something to find in your regular supermarket, but there are places that sell it, so I must remember to buy it. I´m so intrigued about it. This salad sounds heavenly, sweet, tangy and crunchy. Wonderful Marissa!

    • Marissa January 15, 2013 at 7:19 pm #

      What?! No kale. You’ll love it…

  3. Kathryne January 15, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Whatever you want to call it, I love kale! Glad you picked up that massaging trick. It really is the key! This salad looks fabulous, love the dressing idea.

    • Marissa January 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      I’m so glad you gave that tip, Kathryne. Changed kale salad for me forever…

  4. Jenn January 15, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    I just made this salad and added some tofu i sauteed with sesame oil to turn it into a complete meal, and i am in love!! It was soo satisfying! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Marissa January 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      MMM that sounds so good. I’m really glad you liked it!

  5. Sandra (@SECooking) January 15, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

    Fantastic salad. We love kale, and this sound so perfect for lazy days. Beautiful colors too. Thank you for sharing…will pin it!

  6. giovibi January 18, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Sunday i will have friends for lunch and i’ll prepare both kale salad and kale crostini … i look forward to taste them !!!

    • Marissa January 19, 2013 at 12:16 pm #

      I wish I could fly to Italy to join you!

  7. Laura January 19, 2013 at 12:13 pm #

    It looks like you might have mustard in your vinaigrette. Did you add some?

    • Marissa January 19, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

      It does look like mustard in the pan, doesn’t it? No, no mustard. That’s the emulsion of olive oil and lemon juice. With that said, I think a little mustard in the dressing would be good!

  8. MK March 2, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Just found this salad on tastespotting. it was so good! I added some dijon mustard to the sauce as well as a splash of sherry and blended it. I know kale is good for me so I eat it, but this actually made me love it. Massaging the kale really is key! Thanks!

    • Marissa March 3, 2013 at 8:51 am #

      I’m so glad you liked it! Your mustard and sherry additions sound great…

  9. Ineke March 27, 2013 at 8:33 am #

    Heavenly! I made this last night after coming home from the farmers’ market with several bunches of kale, and this is one amazing salad! My husband and I were oohing and aahing while eating every last bit of it, and I can’t wait to make it again. The ‘salt massage’ technique is really genius — the kale developed the most amazing fragrance while I rubbed it, which really set the salad apart from other kale salad recipes I’ve tried. I used walnuts instead of almonds, and orange and a splash of vinegar instead of lemon, since that’s what I had on hand, and it worked beautifully. Thank you for sharing this recipe, it’ll go into heavy rotation over here!!

    • Marissa March 27, 2013 at 10:26 am #

      I’m so glad you liked it! Walnut/orange/vinegar variation sounds terrific.

  10. Cristel October 2, 2013 at 3:28 am #

    What a great recipe!! Thanks so much for sharing, I’m definitely making this one again. Absolutely delicious!

    • Marissa October 2, 2013 at 8:19 am #

      I’m so glad you liked it Cristel! :)

  11. Sarah October 17, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    I made this salad last night, except using spinach (regular, not baby, since it is a bit tougher like kale) because there is no kale to be found where I currently live (Chile)! The flavors were amazing and made the tough spinach easier and much more pleasant to eat. I topped it with a hard boiled egg for a little extra protein. First time making a warm vinaigrette and now I don’t think I’ll ever go back! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Marissa October 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm #

      I love the addition of hard boiled eggs – yum!

  12. Fran April 28, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    I know this is an old recipe, but I was searching for novel ideas on what to do with the two bunches of kale in my fridge, and this is it! I don’t have golden raisins, so I hope it works just as well with sultanas?

    Anyway, I’ll give it a whirl and see how it turns out.

    • Marissa April 28, 2014 at 4:23 pm #

      The sultanas will be perfect! Let me know how it goes…


  1. Lacinato Kale Crostini | CRAZY about TUSCANY - January 17, 2013

    [...] Thank to Marissa I have learned something new: I was thinking this kind of cabbage was typically from Tuscany and almost unknown in the rest of the world. When she proposed a “lacinato kale post” I had to look in a vocabulary to understand this strange word and, with joy, I’ve discovered it was my adorable “cavolo nero” and it was possible to use it in lots of different recipes as the delicious salad Marissa has prepared for her post! [...]

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