Kale Salad with Currants, Pine Nuts, and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette Recipe

Normally tough kale becomes a delicate salad with a light lemon-thyme vinaigrette and complimented with pine nuts and currants.

From "Crossroads"
May 2016

  • Once you’ve tried black kale, you might not ever go back to the more conventional curly variety. Also known as Tuscan or lacinato kale, or cavolo nero, this Italian specialty has long, spiky, ruffled deep green leaves. It’s less bitter than curly kale and has an earthier taste. And kale is one of the most nutritious vegetables on the planet to boot.
    Photo by Tal Ronnen
  • “Crossroads” by Tal Ronnen, Scot Jones and Serefina Magnussen teaches readers to make vegan recipes and proves that the flavors we crave are easily replicated in dishes made without animal products.
    Cover courtesy Artisan Books

Yield: 4 Servings

Reinventing plant-based eating is what Tal Ronnen is all about. At his Los Angeles restaurant, Crossroads, ( Artisan, 2015) the menu is vegan, but there are no soybeans or bland seitan to be found. He and his executive chef, Scot Jones, turn seasonal vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains into sophisticated Mediterranean fare—think warm bowls of tomato-sauced pappardelle, plates of spicy carrot salad, and crunchy flatbreads piled high with roasted vegetables. In this recipe you are treated to a delicate kale salad with currants, pine nuts, and lemon-thyme vinaigrette.

Raw kale can be tough, so it has to be treated right. Yet all of the talk about “massaging” kale to make the leaves tender and palatable is nonsense. The key to achieving a melt-in-your-mouth texture is to cut the robust green leaves into a fine chiffonade, resembling strands of confetti. Once the kale is shredded, you don’t have to chew it endlessly to break down the tough leaves. But be sure to dress the salad with the vinaigrette about 10 minutes before serving, so it has a chance to soak into the kale and soften it a bit.

Kale Salad with Currants, Pine Nuts, and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette


Kale Salad
• 2 bunches (about 1-1/2 pounds) black kale (aka lacinato kale or cavolo nero; see Note)
• 1/2 cup dried currants
• 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
• 1/4 cup Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette
• 1/2 small shallot, minced
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 2 fresh thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from the stems
• 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
• Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
• 1 tablespoon agave nectar
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Kale Salad

1. One at a time, lay each kale leaf upside down on a cutting board and use a paring knife to cut down both sides of the center rib to remove it.

2. Stack a few leaves at a time, roll them into a tight cigar shape, and cut crosswise into thin ribbons (no more than 1⁄8 inch). You should have about 6 cups shredded kale.

3. Put the shredded kale in a colander or salad spinner and rinse well with cold water. Drain and dry well.

4. Combine the kale, currants, and pine nuts in a salad or mixing bowl.

5. Drizzle the salad with the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper. Gently toss with your hands to dress the salad evenly, and let stand for about 10 minutes.

6. Serve the salad in the salad bowl or divide among four individual plates.

 Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette

1. Combine the shallot, garlic, thyme, balsamic, lemon zest and juice, agave, and oil in a small mixing bowl or a Mason jar and season with salt and pepper.

2. Whisk or shake vigorously to blend.

3. You will want to keep this light, tangy, and faintly sweet vinaigrette in the refrigerator as your go-to salad dressing. Leftover vinaigrette can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Try these other recipes from Crossroads:

Scoty's Marinara Sauce Recipe
Spiced Chickpeas in Marinara Sauce Recipe

Excerpted from Crossroads by Tal Ronnen with Scot Jones. (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Lisa Romerein.

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