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Eat Well

Salad…it’s what’s for dinner.

I love salads!

We eat them a lot. In our old house with a brilliant garden we mostly inherited from the previous owners, we grew lettuce and would often dazzle our guests and ourselves by picking fresh greens right as we were about to serve the main meal to add a little simple salad on the side. What is more impressive than that?! I mean, really. (Disclaimer: okay, I get that not everyone is as in love with gardening, or organic living, or food like I am. But to me, there is nothing better or more dazzling.)

This is not my garden, although its lovely, no?

The funny thing though is that sometimes I forget about salads and take an unintentional hiatus from preparing salads. Then I see a great salad recipe or a picture of one on a magazine or see a fabulous salad at a restaurant and it reignites my love and obsession with salads. A simple or complex food. Add what you want. Its different every time. Fresh. Healthful. Interesting and colorful. A blank canvas to create what you will depending on what’s in season, what you have on hand, what your mood inspires, who and how many you are looking to feed. Main dish or side. Sweet or savory. Its a perfectly permeable concept food.

In Phoenix, my hometown and a general fabulous desert dwelling, has many delicious restaurants, albeit many chains. One of the more fantastic ones’ is a newer addition to the Biltmore Fashion Park outdoor mall, True Food Kitchen, by the amazing Dr. Weil. This restaurant is amazing for a numer of reason, least of which is that its an open concept kitchen where you are looking at the ingredients in your fresh meal and watching them being prepared. Brilliantly stimulating of all the senses! Anyway, the last time we were there, my husband and I dined for one of our first and one of few date nights since our Sofie was born. We shared several appetizers-which is one of our favorite ways to dine out as it allows us to taste several things, to share and to minimize costs and overeating (quadruple score!)- and one of them was the Tuscan Kale Salad. Folks, it was divine. I mean, D-IVINE!

True Food Kitchen

Kale is one of those elusive vegetables. Many of us know its a superfood and that we SHOULD eat it more often. But like most “should’s” in our lives, we just end up “shoulding” all over ourselves and doing quite little about it. This salad will help you “should” no more. Its’ light, its fresh, its hearty, and its a whole lot of super, as in super food.

While indulging in some Pinterest time (click here for a guide to Pinterest that I wrote, “Pinterest Explained: 5 Step Guide), I saw someone post another recipe from Dr. Weil and I remembered this salad and decided to go cyber hunting to see if I could find the recipe to make my own Tuscan Kale Salad. (Also, check out my “Devour” board on Pinterest for other yummy recipes I have tried or that I want to try!)

Tuscan Kale Salad

Zoo-ta-looo! I have found it! (Said in the voice of the cook from The Little Mermaid (at 1:03 seconds). While, as an adult passionate about Social Justice, I am appalled by this movie’s messaging for our children about gender roles and “voice”, I still have that little girl in me that watched it so many times I broke the VHS tape and I still quote it and remember every word to every song. Please forgive both of us!)

So, here goes, the recipe from the good Doctor:

True Food Kitchen restaurant exclusive! This traditional Tuscan salad is made with strips of Italian black kale, fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic, red pepper flakes, grated pecorino Tuscano cheese and bread crumbs. These bright, refreshing flavors combine to bring the sunny taste of Italy to your table.Watch a video of Dr. Weil and chef Michael Stebner preparing this delicious salad: How to Make Tuscan Kale SaladFood as Medicine
Kale is among the most nutrient-dense commonly eaten vegetables. One cup provides 1,327 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin K, 192 percent of DV for vitamin A, and 88 percent for vitamin C.
4-6 cups kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves of Italian black (Lacinato, “dinosaur,” cavolo nero) midribs removed
juice of 1 lemon
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, mashed
salt & pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
1/2 cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread
    1. Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes.
    2. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well.
    3. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again.
    4. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

Please make this salad and dazzle yourself with its simplicity, freshness and superfood-ness! And then let me know what you think…


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