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Favorite Kale Salad with Parmigiano Reggiano, Shallot Vinaigrette, and Toasty Bread Crumbs


Here are the essential elements to my favorite kale salad:

  • Tuscan kale, stems removed, leaves finely chopped. No need to massage.
  • Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • Shallot Vinaigrette. See notes below if you’d like to make a small batch.
  • Optional: olive oil toasted bread crumbs

If you plan on using the food processor, as outlined above in the photos, this should be your order: bread crumbs, cheese, shallots, wiping with a tea towel between each use. Once the shallots are puréed and macerating in the vinegar, it’s safe to give the processor a rinse and tuck it away.

You absolutely do not need to use a food processor to make this salad. I’ve had two occasions this week that called for making an enormous salad, and so I found the food processor to be so handy. Entertaining or not, however, it’s so nice having a large batch of vinaigrette on hand. It will keep for weeks in your fridge.


for the toasted bread crumbs (totally optional):

  • a large hunk of bread, to yield 1.5 to 2 cups lightly packed fresh crumbs, see notes
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

for the large-batch shallot vinaigrette:

  • 3 to 4 shallots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup white balsamic vinegar, my preference is Colavita
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/3 cups extra-virgin olive oil, my preference is California Olive Ranch

for assembly:

  • Tuscan kale, however many heads you need, stems removed, leaves finely chopped
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • toasted bread crumbs, optional
  • shallot vinaigrette to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper


If you are using a food processor, this should be your order: crumbs, cheese, shallots:

  1. To make the crumbs: Place day-old bread in the food processor and purée until fine. Measure out 1.5 to 2 cups of crumbs. Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the crumbs and the salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crumbs are golden brown. This could take 5 to 15 minutes (or longer) depending on your heat level. If you have the time, go slowly to prevent burning. When the crumbs are nice and golden, turn off the heat. Let cool briefly. Taste. Add more salt if necessary.
  2. To grate the cheese: Wipe out the processor, switch to the grating attachment, and pass hunks of cheese through the food chute.
  3. To make the shallot vinaigrette: Wipe out the processor. Place the shallots in the food processor and pulse until very finely chopped. Transfer shallots to medium bowl or 1-qt liquid measure. Cover with the balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Let stand for at least 15 minutes. Whisk in the olive oil slowly. Taste, adding more salt by the 1/2 teaspoon to taste. I always use 2 teaspoons. Vinaigrette will keep for weeks in the fridge.
  4. To assemble the salad: Place the finely chopped leaves in a large bowl. Top with however many toasted bread crumbs you would like. Top with however much cheese you would like. Give your vinaigrette a stir, then pour some of it over your greens. Give the salad a toss. Taste. Add more dressing if you wish. Add pepper to taste, if you wish, too.


Small Batch Dressing Quantities

  • 1/4 cup finely minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar, I like Colavita brand
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Toss
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: kale, salad, vinaigrette, large-batch