Tuscan Kale Salad with Currants and Parmesan

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Kale Salad with Lemon Vinegarette

Have you ever ordered something in a restaurant and swooned with every delicious mouthful? And then wondered how they made it so delicious, even long after the meal was over. I bet that you have experienced this feeling, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t over a salad.  Now I like salad just fine, but I’m not one to get excited about them, normally that is. But then I ordered the ‘Cavolo Nero’ salad at Gusto 101 and lost it.  I ate that salad so hard, with the gusto (sorry couldn’t resist) that I typically reserve for cupcakes or french fries.

The texture of the  dark green bumpy leaves of raw lacinate kale (aka cavolo nero, Tuscan kale, or lacinato kale) becomes silky and velvety after marinating in the lemon vingarette, which softens the leaves.  The currants add a lovely sweetness that goes perfectly with the saltiness of the parmesan shavings.  Gusto 101 served the salad with pine nuts, but I’ve swapped them for sunflower seeds, perfect for those with nut allergies.  I knew I nailed the recipe when D and I had this salad for dinner and it got gobbled up way before the perfectly juicy pan-roasted chicken and fingerling potatoes sharing the same plate.  Buon appetito.

Tuscan Kale Salad with Currents and Parmesan (adapted from Epicurious)

Serves 4 as a starter or side


  •  2 Tablespoons dried currants
  • 2 Tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bunch lacinate kale, centre ribs and stems removed, washed and dried (about 1 pound)
  • 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • Parmesan cheese shavings


  1. Place currants in small bowl and cover with two tablespoons white wine vinegar.  Set aside.
  2. Lay several leaves of kale on top of each other and cut thinly crosswise.  Add to a large bowl.
  3. Make vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine one teaspoon white wine vinegar, lemon rind, lemon juice, honey, olive oil and salt, and whisk.  Add vinaigrette, sunflower seeds, and currents, including any additional vinegar left over from soaking, to the kale and toss to combine.  Let marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature, tossing occasionally.  Sprinkle with cheese shavings and serve.

Recipe note: for vegan version, use agave nectar instead of honey and omit parmesan.

Kale Salad with Lemon Vinegarette

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10 Responses to Tuscan Kale Salad with Currants and Parmesan

  1. Britt January 15, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    made this for dinner last night and it was wonderful! My husband, who isn’t the biggest salad/kale fan even loved it. I will definitely be making this again and again. thanks!!

    • Ness January 15, 2013 at 5:45 pm #

      Thanks Britt! So happy that you and your husband loved the salad! :)

  2. Karolina February 22, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    The dressing for this is simply amazing! I loved the sunflower seed option to teh salad.

    • Ness February 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm #

      Thanks Karolina!

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  4. Ultigurl May 6, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    I had the exact same reaction to that salad at Gusto 101 (they serve the same salad at Trattoria Nervosa, their other location) and I’ve been trying to find a similar recipe to no avail. Thanks so much!!

    • Vanessa May 6, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

      Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy making this at home :)

  5. Marcia May 22, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    Soooooo delish!!! Hubbie and I adore this salad at both restaurants and I was missing the white wine vinegar (was using white balsamic) but wasn’t nearly this good. Have you figured out gusto’s fungi fettuccine???

    • Ness May 22, 2014 at 1:50 am #

      Hi Marcia, thanks so much! The funghi fettuccine is my favourite too. I haven’t tried making it but it involves truffle paste. Perhaps one day I’ll splurge and bring a jar of that home to experiment with :)


  1. Take a Bite out of the Bitterness of Winter Greens - February 4, 2015

    […] My friends (and kids, truth be told) tend to avoid these winter green veggies as many of them have a strong bite – some are even downright bitter, which can be an acquired taste.  I LOVE the peppery flavor of kale, collards and mustard greens, but if you’re NOT like me, try pairing them with intensely flavorful ingredients that will offset the bitterness — like feta cheese and a little walnut oil. Here’s a delicious Tuscan kale salad that incorporates dried currants and parmigiano. […]

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