Alton Brown's Not Just Another Kale Salad
Alton Brown's Not Just Another Kale Salad
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4.3 (10 rated)

Kale is a unique dark leafy green that can stand up to heavy dressings and yet is tender enough to be eaten raw, hence its popularity in salads. This member of the cabbage family comes in three common market forms: curly, red (also curly), and lacinato, aka Tuscan, aka cavolo nero, aka "dinosaur" kale. This latter specimen has long, relatively flat leaves and is my preferred kale for this application.

Chef's note about the anchovies: Stop it! I know what you're thinking, and yes, you need them and no, the salad won't taste fishy and you must trust me on this.

Make-ahead tip: If you want to make it ahead, just hold out the chickpeas and refrigerate the salad for up to 4 hours. I'd still give it time to come to room temp before serving, though.


  • Quick preserved lemons (Makes 1 pint)

    • 4 medium lemons, scrubbed and dried
    • 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
    • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Crispy chickpeas (makes 2 cups)

    • 30 ounces canned chickpeas
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon sumac (optional)
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • Not Just Another Kale Salad

    • 1 bunch lacinato kale, stems removed, cut into ribbons
    • 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, roughly chopped
    • 1 small shallot, frenched
    • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
    • 2 ounces anchovies in olive oil, approximately half of a 4.25-ounce can, finely chopped
    • 3 ounces firm feta cheese
    • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Quick Preserved Lemons (above)
    • 1 cup Crispy Chickpeas (above), crushed
    • Freshly ground black pepper


For the quick preserved lemons:

1. Remove the top and tail from each lemon

2. Slice each lemon into 8 wedges, removing any seeds as you go. Reserve as much of the juice as possible.

3. Layer the sliced lemons in a clean wide-mouthed jar—sprinkling with the salt at each layer. Don't be shy with the salt—you'll rinse it off later. Pack the jar as tightly as possible.

4. Top the jar with any remaining lemon juice, leaving about ¼-inch of head space in the jar

5. Stash in the refrigerator for 4 days, then flip the bottle over and age another 4 days before sampling. The peel should be nice and soft. This can be used immediately or kept in the fridge for up to 3 months.

6. Rinse the lemons before eating. Preserved lemons are a welcome addition to creamy pasta dishes, grain salads, braises, grilled fish . . . heck, even vanilla ice cream. Be aware that many recipes call for the pulp to be discarded because most of the flavor is in the peel itself.

For the crispy chickpeas:

1. Rinse the chickpeas under cold water in the basket of your salad spinner. Drain, then spin in the spinner to dry even more. Move to a paper towel-lined half sheet pan. Top with another layer of paper towels, roll up and pat to dry even more. In case you don't see the pattern here, what we're after is dry!

2. Remove the paper towels form the sheet pan and toss the chickpeas with the olive oil and salt. Put the pan (with the chickpeas) in a cold oven, set a timer for 30 minutes and crank the oven to 350°F.

3. Turn the oven off and leave the chickpeas in side to dry and become crispy, about 1 hour.

4. Use unseasoned in Not Just Another Kale Salad.

5. Optional: Toss the still-warm chickpeas with the sumac and cayenne pepper. Cool completely before storing. Devour as a snack.

For the not just another kale salad:

1. Toss the kale, parsley and shallot with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, puree the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, the lemon juice, garlic, anchovies and 1 ounce of the feta in a food processor. Pour the dressing over the kale, then toss in the preserved lemon, chickpeas and the remaining 2 ounces feta.

3. Marinate at room temp for 1 hour before serving with freshly ground pepper.

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