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JR's Kale Salad Recipe

JR's Kale Salad Recipe

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This salad is named after my dear friend Jeff Rapozza. I think we did a pretty great job.


  • ½ bunch kale
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • ½ shallot, diced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or dried apricots, chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • ½ cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half (optional)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted


Cut kale into thin slices, about ¼-inch wide. Toss kale with olive oil. Add the lemon juice and toss again. Add the shallots, cranberries, cheese, optional cherry tomatoes, and walnuts and toss by hand until the mixture is well-dressed. Taste and adjust quantities if needed.

Can be prepared a few hours ahead, but tastes best if prepared just before serving.

  • 2 bunches kale
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 minced anchovy fillet or 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Strip leaves from the stems (discard stems). Wash and dry the leaves. Tear the leaves into small pieces and place in a large bowl. Add Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, anchovy (if using), pepper and salt. With clean hands, firmly massage and crush the greens to work in the flavoring. Stop when the volume of greens is reduced by about half. The greens should look a little darker and somewhat shiny. Taste and adjust seasoning with more Parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce and/or pepper, if desired.

People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Kale Salad

This raw kale salad with avocado is a treat for the eyes and your taste buds! Paired with avocados and the perfect tahini dressing, you’ll love this easy summer salad to serve alongside Black Bean Burgers, Vegan Kebabs, and more!

I love increasing the healthy foods in my diet during the summer months, especially raw foods like salads. That’s one reason I love this perfect summer kale salad. It has a bit of creaminess thanks to the dressing. I swear it reminds me of eating a kale potato salad. I don’t think that’s a thing, but it works!

The Trick to Better Kale Salad Is in Your Hands

Here we are, light years into the age of kale, and still it's possible to come across a bad kale salad. Not just possible, but probable! Everybody's favorite leafy green vegetable can be a bit of a tough customer: One of the things that makes kale good for you—all that fiber—is the very reason it can be chewy and dense. Cooked, that's no problem, but the raw-kale salad is a particularly hazardous form. Who wants to gnaw their way through a tough, chewy kale Caesar?

Kale Salad Like You've Never Seen It Before

This state of affairs is a shame, because rendering kale edible—even delicious—without cooking it is a cinch. Actually there are a number of ways to do this—if you dress your salad and just let it sit around awhile, the vinegar in the dressing will break down the fiber (for this reason, raw-kale salads are excellent make-ahead options for a summer picnic or for work lunch). But say you don't want to wait. Dinner is nigh. What's your strategy now, hungry raw-kale eater?

This is it: a simple rub. Like a literal massage, using your fingers. It takes only about a minute or two. But it turns raw kale into something else altogether: a tender, sweet green that plays great in salad. Here's how to do it:

First, remove the tough stem from your kale, roll it up tightly, and slice into thin strips. This is easiest with lacinato/dinosaur/Tuscan kale, which frankly has a better texture to begin with, but applies to plain old green kale as well.

From here there are diverging schools of thought. Some hold that you dress the salad fully, then massage. That's fine. I prefer just to splash a little oil, a couple drops of vinegar or lemon juice, and a pinch of salt on the greens and massage them like that—just rub the strips between your fingers. You'll feel the kale start to break down almost immediately. Keep going until it's soft and wilted-looking—it loses a bit of volume in this process—and has given off a little juice. Then add the rest of the dressing and whatever else you're putting in the salad.

Oh, and this is a widely applicable technique. Collard greens? Best massaged, if you're serving them raw. Mustard greens, turnip greens, chard? Yes, why not. Everyone likes a massage.

Get the recipe for Grille 401's popular kale salad

Q I'm sure other people have asked for this recipe because it is so off-the-charts delicious. If you printed it, I missed it. So, I'm asking again. I was privileged to have eaten the kale salad at Grille 401 recently and I literally cannot get it out of my mind. I must have the recipe. Thank you so much. — Andréa Steinberg, Hollywood

A. Getting Executive Chef Troy Beasley of Grille 401 (401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-767-0222, to slow down long enough to talk about his Kale salad recipe was challenging. As of late, Beasley is going in multiple directions at warp speed in preparation of the launch of the Beach House Pompano, (270 N. Pompano Beach Blvd., Pompano Beach, 954-607-6530, where he will be taking the culinary lead.

The Kale salad has been on Grille 401’s menu since the restaurant opened five years ago. Beasley notes, “It’s a healthy choice but it is also tasty with clean flavors making it one of our most popular salads and side dish options. We’ll be serving it at Beach House Pompano also.”

Beach House Pompano is the latest concept from Brimstone Restaurant Group, which owns and operates Grille 401, Brimstone Woodfire Grill in Doral and Pembroke Pines, and Piñon Grill in Boca Raton. Located at the Pompano Beach Pier, the 12,000-square-foot, two-story eatery with rooftop patio, ocean views and lounge will offer a relaxed, casual beach vibe with a menu of and a menu of flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, steaks, seafood, sushi, and a raw bar. As of this writing, Beasley anticipates a late March opening.

Possible Variations:

While this base kale salad recipe is super simple, there are all sorts of delicious ingredients that you can add or sub in as well. For example, feel free to…

  • Add a protein: Cooked chicken, steak, pork, shrimp, salmon, or tofu would all be great added to this salad.
  • Add fresh veggies: Such as avocado, cucumber, carrots, bell peppers and/or red onion.
  • Add fresh or dried fruit: Such as fresh apples, berries, grapefruit, grapes. Or dried cranberries or apricots.
  • Add jarred veggies: Such as sun-dried tomato, roasted red peppers, or artichoke hearts.
  • Add beans: Such as chickpeas or white beans.
  • Add croutons:Homemade or store-bought.
  • Use a different cheese: In lieu of Parmesan, feel free to add crumbled blue cheese, feta cheese or goat cheese.
  • Use different nuts/seeds: Such as pepitas, pine nuts, walnuts, pecans or sunflower seeds.

How to Massage Kale

Yes, I really just wrote that as a title! But hear me out&hellip massaging kale is really important!

The key to a great kale salad is you need to massage the olive oil into the kale. If you&rsquore never made a kale salad, that might sound silly, but massaging the kale is so important! Pour in the olive oil and spend a a few minutes massaging the kale between your fingers so it&rsquos fully coated with the olive oil.

Japanese Kale Kobachi (Side Dish)

Japanese kale kobachi is an easy to prepare, small side dish, of sauteed kale lightly seasoned with traditional Japanese ingredients mirin (sweet cooking sake) and soy sauce. The flavor profile of this dish is very simple, yet because of the use of these two ingredients, it makes the kale notably Japanese in comparison to kale that is perhaps cooked with just olive oil and garlic.

Japanese meals are known to be comprised of multiple small dishes, rather than a large main dish as is the custom with American meals. For this reason, cooking just a small portion of this kale kobachi (side dish) adds a healthy, yet impactful vegetable to your Japanese style weeknight meal. Try making a larger portion and saving the leftover to add to your bento lunch the next day.

There are two main types of kale that are often found available at the grocery store. The first is curly leaf kale. Its image might be associated with the same decorative kale that is often seen at salad bars. The second type is lacinato kale, also known as dinosaur kale, which resembles large leaves in texture and darker green in color when compared to curly leaf kale. For this recipe, we recommend lacinato kale.

The stem of the lacinato kale is noticeably thick and hard, which is why it is important for this recipe to chop the kale into small strips across the stem. Alternatively, the leafy part of the kale may be removed from the stem, but the stem adds fiber and texture that we feel works well in this dish.

Enjoy this quick and easy Japanese kale kobachi as a vegetable side dish to any meal.

Houston's Kale Salad CopyCat Recipe

If you love the kale salad from Houstons or Hillstone, this CopyCat recipe will not disappoint. The easy recipe makes a lot and saves well for leftovers or advance preparation as long as you add the dressing just before serving. The key to this salad is using BABY kale.


  • 1 5oz clamshell pkg of baby kale
  • finely julienned cabbage (*measure 1/2 as much cabbage as you used baby kale)
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 1/2 c peanut oil
  • 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp peanut sauce
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Wash all greens. Finely chop the baby kale, fresh mint, and cilantro.
  2. Finely slice the green onions and finely julienne the green cabbage.
  3. Toss the baby kale, cabbage, cilantro, mint and green onions in a big salad bowl. Set aside.
  4. For the dressing, mix all remaining ingredients. Gently fold enough dressing to lightly coat the greens into the salad when ready to serve. Leftover dressing saves well.


Whenever you are finely chopping or finely slicing ingredients, aim to chop or slice them uniformly for best presentation.

  1. For the dressing, place the anchovies, garlic, mustard, egg yolks, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 30 seconds, until smooth. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil through the feed tube, until the mixture emulsifies. Add the grated Pecorino and process just until combined. Transfer to a container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. Wash the kale and spin it dry in a salad spinner. Remove the rib from each leaf. Stack the leaves and slice them thinly crosswise, as you would cole slaw. Place the kale in a large bowl and toss with enough dressing to moisten.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium (10-inch) sauté pan. Add the pancetta and cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, tossing frequently, until browned and crisp. Transfer the pancetta with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Add the bread cubes to the pan, sprinkle with salt, and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, tossing frequently, until evenly browned. Add the pancetta, toasted bread, and shaved Pecorino to the kale and toss with large spoons. Serve at room temperature.

Make ahead: Prepare the dressing, slice the kale, and store separately in the fridge. Just before serving, cook the pancetta and toasted bread cubes, toss the kale with the dressing, and complete the recipe.

Reprinted from Cooking for Jeffrey. Copyright © 2016 by Ina Garten. Photographs by Quentin Bacon. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.


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