kale and ricotta salata salad

kale and ricotta salata salad (1 of 1)Anyone who knows me knows that I love lacinato kale. I mean it just tastes so good, yes, you heard me right, it really tastes good. It’s not just me who feels that way, my kids prefer a kale salad over an arugula or spinach one any-day, and John, well he likes all types of salads, he’s not a picky guy. Kale is uber healthy, and if stored properly the leaves can last for about 2 weeks in the fridge. Kale is also a great make-ahead salad.  It’s one of those salads that you can make ahead, like the morning of an event, and have it taste great at dinner. Kale salads make great leftovers. I love that I can make up a salad on Monday and then eat leftovers on Tuesday and Wednesday, and it tastes great all three days. I will have to say that lacinato kale is the kale to try first if you are new to kale.  Lacinato kale really tastes more like a lettuce, especially when you massage the dressing into it.  Curly kale on the other hand, tastes bitter and can leave a chalky aftertaste in your mouth. I think most people who have tried kale have tried curly kale, and that’s why kale has gotten the bad reputation. Please, just try a salad with lacinato kale (sometimes called tuscan or dinosaur kale) and you might be converted.

Anyway, I’m always on the hunt for new kale recipes. I already have 5 kale salads that I love, and my top two salads are my lacinato kale salad and miso kale salad.  My lacinato salad has turned kale haters into kale lovers, so that is saying a lot. This ricotta salata salad may also be one that turns people around, not only because it tastes great, but it’s so easy to prepare, and much like my lacinato salad uses pantry ingredients. This is Eli’s favorite kale salad thus far. Many of you may not be too familiar with ricotta salata. Ricotta salata is an aged ricotta that has been pressed, so it looses moisture and becomes crumbly and easy to grate. It’s a fairly mild tasting cheese, (I think that’s why Eli loves it so much) but has an amazing salty flavor to it.  The other great thing about ricotta salata, is its price tag.  You can usually get a chunk of cheese for under $4.00. So, this is a great salad for those of you on a budget.  Don’t look for ricotta salata cheese near the traditional ricotta cheeses, (the ones in the plastic containers) this cheese will be located in the cheese section of your grocery store, where the fancier cheeses are.

As I said earlier, this is a great make-ahead salad. I often make it in the morning and then have some for lunch or dinner that night, and then gobble the rest up the next day.  It’s really the perfect bring to work salad or travel salad.  Pair this salad with some quinoa cakes or quinoa patties, and you have yourself a nutritional power packed lunch.

kale and ricotta salata salad (1 of 1)-3

kale and ricotta salata salad:

Recipe slightly adapted from Epicurious
serves 4 to 6

  • 3/4 to 1 pound of lacinato kale, also called dinosaur or tuscan kale (approximately 2 medium sized bunches of kale) – This may sound like a lot of kale, but remember it breaks down as you massage in the dressing.  
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (minced well) - You can get 2 tablespoons from one standard shallot. 
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated ricotta salata cheese - Feel free to add less if you want.   

A note about purchasing lacinato kale:  Don’t purchase lacinato kale that feels tough and paper-like.  It will not breakdown and thus will not absorb the dressing even when you massage it.  Kale is best when its soft and pliable, (feels like regular lettuce) as it absorbs the dressing and is tender when eaten.  

DSC_0005I like to make the dressing first before I get my kale ready so that the flavors can mesh together, and the shallots can marinate in the lemon juice. Squeeze your lemon and peel and finely chop up your shallot. Make sure to mince it fine so you don’t have big chunks of shallots in the dressing.

Get out a small bowl or glass measuring cup, and add in the 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; whisk to combine.

DSC_0009-4Slowly add in the 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and whisk until well combined.  Let the dressing sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors mesh together.

DSC_0011-2Using a cheese grater, grate up your ricotta salata cheese.  This cheese actually grates quite nicely.

DSC_0013-2Wash and de-stem your kale, and then cut it into thin strips.  I show you step-by-step photos on how to de-stem and slice kale in this post. Put the sliced kale into a large salad bowl.

DSC_0017-2-2Pour the dressing over the kale (enough to coat the leaves well) and make sure to massage it well so that all of the kale absorbs the dressing.  When I say, massage your kale, I literally mean, get your hands in there and massage it. When you massage kale, not only does it absorb the dressing, but it also breaks down the kale almost like when it’s cooked, and takes away any bitter flavor. Eli is demonstrating below how to massage the kale.  Aren’t his little hands the cutest?

DSC_0017

DSC_0013

DSC_0015See how much the kale reduced down after being massaged?

DSC_0021-2Add in the ricotta salata, and toss to combine.  I always let the salad sit for a bit so that the kale absorbs all of the flavors.

DSC_0014This salad, if stored properly covered in the fridge, can last for 3 days.  Just give it a little re-fluff before you serve it.

kale and ricotta salata salad (1 of 1)

kale and ricotta salata salad

kale and ricotta salata salad

Ingredients

  • 3/4 to 1 pound of lacinato kale, also called dinosaur or tuscan kale (approximately 2 medium sized bunches of kale) - This may sound like a lot of kale, but remember it breaks down as you massage in the dressing.
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots (minced well) - You can get 2 tablespoons from one standard shallot.
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated ricotta salata cheese - Feel free to add less if you want.

Instructions

A note about purchasing lacinato kale: Don’t purchase lacinato kale that feels tough and paper-like. It will not breakdown and thus will not absorb the dressing even when you massage it. Kale is best when its soft and pliable, (feels like regular lettuce) as it absorbs the dressing and is tender when eaten.

I like to make the dressing first before I get my kale ready so that the flavors can mesh together, and the shallots can marinate in the lemon juice. Squeeze your lemon and peel and finely chop up your shallot. Make sure to mince it fine so you don't have big chunks of shallots in the dressing.

Get out a small bowl or glass measuring cup, and add in the 2 tablespoons minced shallots, 1 1/2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; whisk to combine.

Slowly add in the 4 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and whisk until well combined. Let the dressing sit for about 10 minutes, so that the flavors mesh together.

Using a cheese grater, grate up your ricotta salata cheese. This cheese actually grates quite nicely.

Wash and de-stem your kale, and then cut it into thin strips. Put the sliced kale into a large salad bowl.

Pour the dressing over the kale (enough to coat the leaves well) and make sure to massage it well so that all of the kale absorbs the dressing. When I say, massage your kale, I literally mean, get your hands in there and massage it. When you massage kale, not only does it absorb the dressing, but it also breaks down the kale almost like when it's cooked, and takes away any bitter flavor.

Add in the ricotta salata, and toss to combine. I always let the salad sit for a bit so that the kale absorbs all of the flavors.

This salad, if stored properly covered in the fridge, can last for 3 days. Just give it a little re-fluff before you serve it.

http://www.marinmamacooks.com/2013/03/kale-and-ricotta-salata-salad/

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Comments

  1. says

    I’m looking forward to trying this version of kale salad. I seem to be stuck on Dr. Weil’s recipe so a change will be good! Great tips on choosing the kale – no tough or papery leaves! Last night I made the kale pesto from the True Food cookbook and tossed it with linguine and I was surprised it was bitter. Now I’m wondering if the leaves were too tough for the oil to absorb. We are having it again tonight as pesto on crostini before dinner, so hopefully it will have mellowed a bit. I’m going to freeze the rest (in cubes) to add to soups for that background flavor.

    Also, before I made the pesto I found your post on cleaning and de-stemming the kale. Afterwards I kept exclaiming “Brilliant!”. I was spraying the leaves (with vinegar solution), soaking it, rinsing it and then de-stemming it. Talk about taking the long way…..Thanks for making my life more simple!

    Lastly, I just found your fig and arugula pizza post and pinned it to my food board. Can’t wait to try that one as well ;-)

    • jackiegrandy says

      Hi Cheryl! I know, the lacinato one is still my favorite. I just can’t get away from the garlic, lemon and red pepper combination, yum! This one is growing on me as well though.
      It really does make a difference on how the kale feels as to whether it will absorb the dressing or not. I have been disappointed on many occasions when I have purchased crispy kale leaves. You really feel like you’re eating paper. I have become an expert at choosing kale now that I buy it all the time.
      You know, I have tried a few recipes from that True Food’s cookbook and I have not been impressed. I tried the cauliflower curry soup as well as the caesar salad dressing and I hated the soup and the dressing was OK. The family did not like it though. I really prefer the kid friendly caesar dressing that I have on the blog. I was going to try the kale pesto, but I got lazy and never did. I’m going to give one more recipe a try from that cookbook and if I don’t like that one, then the book is going to be donated to the Library. My lacinato salad is from him, but I have noticed that it’s different in the cookbook. Hmmmm.
      Anyway, the fig pizza is so good and so easy. It’s one of my lunchtime faves! I hope you like the salad!
      xoxo, Jackie

      • says

        Another great idea Jackie…donating unwanted books to the library! I use a lot of their resources so it would be great to give back!

        • jackiegrandy says

          Thanks girl! I do that with all of my books. I usually get my cookbooks from the library as well, but thought I would love this one, so I went ahead and bought it! I’m sure I will find some good recipes in it still. Fingers crossed. :)

  2. says

    You and me both! I love this type of kale too better than the other greens you mentioned. It’s sturdier and lasts longer and like you said, really good for you! This sounds like another winner! I really do pin every single one of your recipes. :) This one I’d actually like to try in the next few days! Okay my friend, I’m off to get some work done and try to get over this cold that I’ve caught. Its moved down into my lungs so I sound like a barking seal! Talk to you soon. xoxo, Sharon

    • jackiegrandy says

      So sorry to hear that your cold has not gone away yet. You poor thing :( I’m sending you some white light so you’re healed soon! I hope you have more of that chicken noodle soup left, but I doubt it considering you have two men in your house. xoxo, Jackie

      • says

        LOL! You got that right. That soup was gone in a couple days. :) Still sick but I’m hoping today is the day I go over that hump.
        Okay I came over here to tell you that I sort of made this last night! Well, I didn’t want to go to the store, but I had most of the ingredients except for the ricotta salata, and I had baby kale instead so I used that. It was SO flavorful and delicious! I didn’t have to do much massaging since it’s already tender baby kale, but that part was fun. :) I am loving trying your recipes and so far this week we’re two for two with the hot cereal and this! I just finished it up for lunch and it reminded me of you. Thanks for having lunch with me! :) Okay, talk to you soon. xoxo, Sharon

        • jackiegrandy says

          OK, you’re cracking me up. You sort of made this last night? You’re missing the key ingredient, the ricotta salata. Ha Ha! You know that I’m just teasing you right? Did you eat the salad cheese free then? I have yet to try it that way. I just love the cheese so much!
          I’m so glad you liked the salad and the quinoa cereal. Yaay! It’s a two for two recipe success at Sharon’s house!
          I wish we actually had a real lunch together, that would be the best! Someday girl! xoxo, Jackie

          • says

            LOL! I definitely was missing the part that made this a ricotta salata salad! HA! I used parmesan instead since I always have that in the fridge, that was good!
            Someday we WILL have lunch together, I agree that would be fun and happy and full of laughs. :) xoxo, Sharon

  3. Carolyn says

    woops hit enter too early….any way since I have all the ingredients I think I’ll make it tonight!

    • jackiegrandy says

      Whoops! Hey girl! I’m so glad you love ricotta salata. This salad was my first time using it and I’m a fan now! Let me know how you like it :) xoxo, Jackie

  4. says

    Hi Jackie! I made this tonight…first time making any kind of kale salad. I really like it :) I don’t have ricotta salata, so I used parmesan and it is still good. Most salads don’t taste good as leftovers, so I like knowing I can made this ahead of time and it will last a few days (although I don’t think we’ll have leftovers tonight)!

    • jackiegrandy says

      Yaay girl! I’m so happy that you made up this salad girl! Try it next time with the ricotta salata, OMG, it gives it a whole new flavor. See, kale isn’t so bad right? It just needs to be massaged down and dressed properly plus the addition of cheese doesn’t hurt etheir! ;) xoxo, Jackie

      • says

        I made it with the ricotta salata last night, and it was delicious! The cheese brings it to a whole new level. I actually used about half a bunch of soft kale, and a whole bunch that was tough and paper-like (I needed more and all the kale at whole foods was tough). I was worried it wouldn’t break down right, but I left it in the fridge for several hours and it tasted perfect! Thanks so much for this recipe Jackie!

        • jackiegrandy says

          Hi Christine! Yaay! So happy that you made this version. I’m having dinner with friends on Tuesday and need to bring a kale salad and I’m debating between this one and my lacinato kale one. You sort of inspired me to want to make this one :) Glad the kale softned as it sat. I think the produce guys at Whole Foods get annoyed at me because I’m always feeling all the kale looking for the softest batch! :) Have a fablous Sunday girl, I’m sure you’re off on hike already! xoxo, Jackie

          • says

            Oh and guess what…I served it to guests last night. They ate it. They got seconds. Then they asked if it was spinach. When I told them it was kale they were surprised because they “Don’t like kale”!! This salad is definitely a winner :) I love your lacinato kale salad as well, but now this one is my favorite :)
            I hope you have a wonderful Sunday as well! I’m heading off to the beach with the dog soon, the weather is nice :)

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