A few years ago, I was invited to a business dinner at True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica. I’d never been before–or even heard of it until then–but that meal was arguably one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve had. We had Shiitake and Tofu Lettuce Cups for the table (along with some other meat appetizer, which I didn’t eat), and I had the Teriyaki Brown Rice Bowl with Tofu and a Ginger Margarita (which I’ve since adapted and made for several friends).
Needless to say, I’m a fan. Their menu boasts tons of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, all of which are based on Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet and quiet delicious. It’s food that’s not only good for you but good tasting–it’s like the white stag of restaurants.
On subsequent visits, I’ve become quite obsessed with their Tuscan Kale Salad. My sister and I share cravings for it, and the last time she came up to see me in LA, we made a specific point of going to TFK just for this salad.
Kale has been quite the rage in the health food community over the past few years, but with good reason. It’s fill of vitamins K, A, and C and high in fiber. And for those who think kale is a bit tough to swallow, this recipe is a great way to destroy all those negative preconceived ideas.
- 4-6 cups kale, midribs removed (I like dinosaur kale, but any type will work.)
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- 2/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (Dr. Weil suggests Pecorino Toscano or Asiago cheese, but this one is my favorite.)
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs (from lightly toasted bread if you have time to make your own, which I usually don’t)
- For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add as much (or as little) of the spices as you prefer and whisk everything together.
- Rinsing the kale, pat it dry, and remove the midribs (the large vein in the center of the leaf). Slice each leaf into bite-sized pieces and place it in a serving bowl.
- Drizzle the dressing over the kale and toss until each leaf is well-coated.
- Add 2/3 of the cheese and mix again.
- Let the salad sit for at least five minutes before adding the bread crumbs. Toss once more and top with the remaining cheese.
Serve as either a side dish or the main event and enjoy!