Kale and Ricotta Salata Salad

November 25th, 2008 by megan · 6 Comments

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I know what you’re thinking: yuck! raw kale! But I’m here to tell you that this might be the most delicious salad of all time. Out of all of the recipes I make, this one is the most requested. And kale is in season right now, which makes it even better.

I use lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale or dinosaur kale) because I think it’s a bit more tender than regular kale, and hence better raw. If you can’t find ricotta salata (a kind of dried, pressed ricotta), you could always use a little Parmigiano-Reggiano or even feta. I think that a bit of dried red chili flakes would be a nice addition to this recipe. I have a friend who adds little bits of bacon to his version of this salad, which also sounds delectable. This recipe was originally published in Gourmet.

Serves 4.

Raw lacinato kale

1 lb lacinato kale (also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale)
2 tablespoons very finely chopped shallot or 1 garlic clove, very finely minced
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 1/2 tablespoons very good quality extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces coarsely grated ricotta salata (about 1 cup)


  1. Remove the tough stems from the kale (including the rib that runs up the center of the leaf, if very large). Cut the kale into thin ribbons (chiffonade) by stacking the leaves, rolling them up tightly, and slicing them horizontally into thin strips.
  2. Combine the shallot or garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream and keep whisking until the oil is incorporated.
  3. In a large serving bowl, pour the dressing over the kale and toss gently to coat. Add the grated ricotta salata and toss gently again. Taste and correct for salt and pepper if necessary.

Note: this can be made several hours in advance (the kale doesn’t wilt even after being tossed with the dressing)

For Renu.


sivan harlap Nov 26, 2008 at 12:21 am

i am a big fan of raw kale! i make mine with dried cranberries, raw pine nuts, flakes of parmigiano-reggiano, fresh lemon, olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. best salad in the world. im so excited to try this recipe. bet its divine! thanks megan! enjoy your turkey! x

megan Nov 26, 2008 at 6:11 pm

mmm that sounds good Sivan! I’m going to try yours!

Olga Dec 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm

What an interesting combination! I love ricotta salata.

Have you tried raw beets? You might like them too!

megan Dec 4, 2008 at 10:56 am

Olga – I think raw beets would actually be really good in this salad! Maybe with a handful of walnuts (or as Sivan suggested, pine nuts) thrown in for crunch?

rachel Dec 7, 2008 at 4:43 pm

i saw this recipe this morning and went right out to buy the ingredients. i am going to make it the moment my son takes a nap. thank you for sharing it. i might have to add some bacon!

John Jul 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

It works great with Mustard greens too.

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