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Crunchy Salty Lemony Salad

Crunchy Salty Lemony Salad

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Consider this recipe a no-brainer formula where you can sub in any raw veg, oil, or cheese you feel like. And if you’re feeling fancy, add some crunch (nuts, seeds, or fried onions) or herbs. Your new favorite side dish of summer!


  • 2 small Chioggia (candy-stripe) beets, trimmed, peeled
  • 1 medium watermelon radish, trimmed
  • 1 ounce Parmesan, Pecorino, Asiago, or other hard cheese, shaved
  • Olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Recipe Preparation

  • Very thinly slice beets, cucumbers, and radish on a mandoline or with a knife. Arrange slices on a platter. Scatter cheese on top. Finely grate some lemon zest over salad, then slice open lemon and squeeze on some juice. Drizzle with oil; season with salt and pepper.

Recipe by Andrew KnowltonReviews Section

Lemony Raw Kale Salad

This is the third post in my three-part series. We made it! The first post was my Easy Homemade Almond Hummus, and the second was my Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette. Both are ingredients in this salad. I know it seems like a lot of work to make three recipes for one little salad, but all three are super simple, and definitely worth it. Making fresh and healthy food that tastes good is the trick to loving to eat healthy.

As I mentioned before, this is my version of a salad I recently had at a restaurant, and I was blown away by how good it was, being that it was so simple. I had to try to recreate it. I think I got pretty close.

11 Early Spring Salad Recipes

Of all the recipes to look forward to in the springtime, it’s the salads that speak to me the most. Coming out of a winter of rustic soups and comforting casseroles, light bright salads are a breath of culinary fresh air. They’re as welcome in my kitchen as spring tulips are on my dining table.

What I like most about spring salads is their ease. They demand little of the cook. Add a drizzle of olive oil, squeeze of lemon, and flash of fresh herbs to nearly any spring vegetable, whether raw or cooked, and you have a fine plate of food on your hands. Scatter on toasted nuts or crumbled cheese to elevate things further with little effort.

Below you’ll find 11 salad recipes that feature the finest that spring has to offer including asparagus, artichokes, radishes, snap peas, strawberries, watercress, arugula, favas, English peas, and leeks.

These recipes all lean on the lighter end of the spectrum and make a terrific lunch or a side dish for dinner. Add a source of protein to nearly any of these—whether grilled chicken, slow roasted salmon, or warm lentils—to make a complete meal.

Arugula and Prosciutto Salad with Lemony Vinaigrette

Don’t you love simple recipes that have mind blowing flavor combos? It’s almost like cheating. It’s too simple to taste this good, okay?! This salad has four components – four:

Four simple components, but when mixed together – THE best flavor! I mean, it has prosciutto in it…how can you possibly go wrong? Feel me?

The arugula is fresh and peppery, the prosciutto is salty and savory, the croutons are crunchy and salty, and the vinaigrette is tangy with plenty of complexity coming from the dijon, garlic, and shallot. It’s seriously all a match made in heaven.

I made my croutons in a cast iron skillet with pleeennnttyyy of olive oil + salt and pepper – you can make them this way (which tends to yield a “crispy on the outside, slightly chewy on the inside” situation), or you can make it even easier and bake the croutons in the oven for more of a “crunch all the way through” situation. I tend to like pan fried croutons better because of that little bit of chew, but they do take some babysitting.

WORTH IT. In my humble opinion.

The combination of flavors and textures going on here is so satisfying, you guys. Such a yummy summer salad. I made this for an impromptu dinner with friends where everyone just brought something they had in their fridge, and this was a hit! I had multiple people asking for the dressing recipe afterwards, and multiple people went up for a second plate. It’s a crowd pleaser!


Crunchy Tuscan Kale Salad with Lemony Oil Dressing

I came across this recipe back in 2007, attached to an article/restaurant review in the NY Times. In that article, Melissa Clark echoed my own skepticism about a raw kale dish I was no stranger to the winter green staple, but thought of it as coming out of a sauté pan with garlic and butter and balsamic vinegar, or in a soup or baking dish combined with other tasty things, like comfy root vegetables and white beans. I had not thought of it as a main ingredient and certainly not edible in its raw state. When I thought of chewing raw kale it was of a long, laborious process, ending probably in a sore jaw and not much in the way of satisfaction.

But, Melissa’s description of the simple yet intensely satisfying combination of earthy flavors and textures – and assurance that the Tuscan (or Lacinato) kale was indeed tender enough to be satisfyingly eaten raw, especially when sliced into thin ribbons – enticed me to try it.

I was totally won over. I may not have actually stood at the counter and eaten the entire bowlful the first time I made it, but pretty close. It was such a delightful surprise – a perfectly balanced combination of crunch from the kale and bread crumbs, with the garlic, salty cheese and sharp citrus of the dressing. The next time I made it I added more garlic and had more cheese and toasted bread crumbs available, as I found myself always wanting just a bit more of that bite.

I have introduced it to many a friend – taking it to potluck dinner parties or forcing co-workers to try a bite at lunch – and even the most doubtful have liked what they tasted. My friend Sandra ate it nearly every day during one winter, her kale planted so thickly that it was available outside her back door nearly until spring. She claimed addiction. She served it back to me sometimes with her own experimental additions toasted pine nuts and bits of homemade sundried tomatoes, even sometimes thin ribbons of red lettuce when nearing the end of her kale supply. It’s a great dish that way, amenable to variation depending on mood or palate, or what happens to be in the pantry.

While I like (and sometimes use) these additions, I confess I prefer the fewer number of ingredients that I first encountered, letting each one have its full share of flavor in each bite.


  • 1 bunch Tuscan (Lacinato) Kale
  • 1/3 cup toasted, coarse breadcrumbs
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese, preferably Pecorino Romano (see notes)
  • 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, plus some to garnish as needed
  • Fresh juice of one lemon
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 – ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Trim bottom 2-3 inches of bottom kale stems and discard. Slice kale leaves, including ribs, into thin ribbons (1/4 inch or so). You should have 4-5 cups.
  2. Fresh bread crumbs are best. Toast bread until golden on both sides and then tear it into pieces and pulse in food processor or blender only until it forms coarse crumbs.
  3. With a mortar and pestle or the side of a knife, pound garlic into a paste with the salt. Place in a small bowl with the cheese, oil, lemon juice, pepper flakes and black pepper, and whisk to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  4. Put kale in large bowl, pour the dressing over and toss thoroughly (dressing is very thick because of the cheese and so needs lots of mixing to get all the kale covered. Using hands for this is a good method).
  5. Let the salad sit for a minute, top with bread crumbs, more cheese, optional toppings (see note).

Yield: Serves two to six – seriously.

Misc. Notes:
Pecorino Romano is best with its sharp saltiness, but regular Romano, or even good quality Parmesan will work fine.

For some additional tastes and textures, the salad can be topped with finely chopped, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts or walnuts, or chopped black olives. Or all of the above.

Recipe and post Courtesy of Peggy Acott

A fifth-generation Oregonian, Peggy Acott has been actively supporting garden and farming programs in the Portland area for over ten years, as Portland Nursery’s Community Outreach Director, and as a founding board member of the Learning Gardens Institute. More of her writings and photography can be found on the Portland Nursery Community Outreach site.

Your Thanksgiving Salad Should Be Wacky

There so many Thanksgiving dishes that inspire dogmatic preferences. You just can't imagine the holiday without exact replicas of the dishes that your mom made you and your grandmother made her and your toxic-masculinity-victimized uncle ate in front of the football screen every year. Sweet potatoes should absolutely have marshmallows on top. Marshmallows are disgusting and belong nowhere near sweet potatoes. Cranberry sauce isn't cranberry sauce if it isn't unmolded onto a platter in the exact shape of its can. Only freshly pureed cranberries straight from the bog laced with status citrus and the finest brandy will do. Turkey is good. Turkey is bad.

You know what no one ever argues about? What no one even remembers, actually? The Thanksgiving salad.

Thanksgiving salad might as well be you in middle school with acne and a strange predilection for wearing skirts over your jeans. But you know what that means? Thanksgiving salad, like you in middle school, has potential. It could grow up to be something truly great. In fact, this is its year.

Since the salad at Thanksgiving is overlooked, no one is going to cross you when you make one that's, I don't know, actually good? One that's kind of strange but in a good way.

I can speak from experience. Last year, I cooked my first Thanksgiving meal ever. While my brother complained about the cranberry agrodolce I made in lieu of our family recipe and insisted that my mom was the only one that could properly prepare the mashed potatoes, he was totally fine with the weird-as-hell salad I put on the table. And oh, was it weird. It was from Cal Peternell's cookbook Almonds, Anchovies, and Pancetta and it contained a combination of sweet, crisp apples and salty anchovies. That's right, apples and anchovies living together in one dish, in harmony. It also contained the polarizing vegetable known as celery. People devoured it.

Hello, grapefruit and pickled chiles.

Photo by Alex Lau, Prop Styling by Kalen Kaminski, Food Styling by Rebecca Jurkevich

Even though everyone forgets about salad and no one holds it particularly dear, it's an essential part of this heavy feast. It can cleanse the palate between bites of butter-soaked carbohydrate and gravy-loaded protein. It's the one real opportunity to bring freshness to the table. When done well, salad can be perfectly bright and salty in a way that actually brings out the flavor of the other dishes. Above all, it shouldn't be an afterthought of sad boxed mesclun with some oil drizzled over just for the sake of having something green on the table.

Herbs galore!

In previous years I’ve spent a fortune on kosher-for-Pesach dried herbs. Typically these then either a) get packed away for a year before being unearthed, dusty and tasteless, the following year. Or b) are added to the year-round spice rack where they are unhelpful duplicates, taking up space without adding any value. This year, I decided to spend the money on pots of fresh growing herbs instead. They are still on my counter, brightening the kitchen with their verdant leaves, and making our food taste delicious!

I combined the cooked quinoa with plenty of chopped fresh herbs, some zingy lemon juice and rich olive oil, and some tasty, toasty nuts. It was delicious!

Creamy Massaged Kale Salad Recipe With Lemon

Heather Dessinger 5 Comments This post contains affiliate links.

So, true story: Once upon a time I greeted my kids in the morning by shouting “Welcome to waffle week!” Because frankly, there are “family favorite” recipes and then there are recipes that have been tested six ways from Sunday to make sure that:

  • They’re the yummiest, best possible version
  • I’ve pinpointed anything that can go wrong and made sure to write my instructions so that everything works well

So we’ve had waffle week. And stuffed sweet potato week. Unsurprisingly, when I announced kale week my kids weren’t quite as excited as usual. BUT – this easy massaged kale salad won them over.

Light and lemony, it’s a surprisingly delicious way to enjoy one of the most nutrient-dense veggies available. It’s rich in betacarotene (a precursor to Vitamin A), Vitamin C, Vitamin K1 and folate, which is a nutrient that’s especially important for those of us with the MTHFR mutation.

Although in general raw kale is not easily digested, the addition of salt in this recipe and the scrunching done during preparation improves digestibility. Often referred to as massaging the kale, this technique breaks down the cell walls of the plant so that nutrients are more bioavailable.

But enough nerdiness for now – what you need to know is that it’s simple and kid-approved. Pinky swear and everything.

I was really craving some chicken salad this week, so I set out to find a new twist on the old classic. I knew I wanted cranberries, so I took quick inventory of my…