Tuscan Kale Salad with Currants and Parmesan

by | Jan 7, 2013 | Italian, Salads, Sauces & Dips, Sides, Snacks & Appetizers, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian | 9 comments

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

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.
Course: Appetizer, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword: cheese, corn-free, dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, vegetables
Servings: 4 as a starter or side
Author: ness


  • 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


  • Place currants in small bowl and cover with two tablespoons white wine vinegar. Set aside.
  • Lay several leaves of kale on top of each other and cut thinly crosswise. Add to a large bowl.
  • 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.
(adapted from Epicurious)

Related Posts

Lamb Koftas

Lamb Koftas

So I've been a little obsessed with Lebanese food for a while now, particularly lamb koftas. I always thought they were complicated to make but then I saw Gordon Ramsey making it on his Ultimate Home Cooking show and...

Herbed Beet and Celery Salad

Herbed Beet and Celery Salad

So it's been a while since I posted a recipe and it's basically because I started a newish gig that involves some travel and lots of catered lunches.  All I can say is that I'm loving the job and maybe a little too...

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

February seems like the perfect time to post a summery grilled steak in a refreshing and herby chimichurri sauce.  It reminds me of summer barbeques and Argentinian restaurants in the midst of -20 degree weather and no...


  1. Britt

    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

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

  2. Karolina

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

    • Ness

      Thanks Karolina!

  3. new article

    How do you give a facebook like? I do not often care but this material was literally fantastic and
    it helped me so that is the least I could do.
    I find myself embarrassed by asking this but I truly wish to give you a like.

  4. Ultigurl

    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

      Thanks so much! Hope you enjoy making this at home 🙂

  5. Marcia

    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

      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 - […] My friends (and kids, truth be told) tend to avoid these winter green veggies as many of them have…
  2. Take a Bite out of the Bitterness of Winter Greens - […] My friends (and kids, truth be told) tend to avoid these winter green veggies as many of them have…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Pin It on Pinterest