Grace Esler

The "It Girl" Salad

Grace Esler
The "It Girl" Salad

Before I give this recipe out, I must give mention to its’ source of inspiration. This past summer I worked at a restaurant called Fire + Wine in a Chicago Suburb where they serve this salad called the “Tuscan Kale”. Though this recipe is my take on the original, I’m telling you their salad is incredible and I must give credit to where credit is due. I made it almost every other day for my family this summer and somehow, someway, my version of the recipe became coined The “It Girl” Salad (not too sure how it happened, but I kinda dig it). So here she is, the ever so popular salad of my family’s summer:


The “It Girl” Salad

(serves 2-3)



-1 large bunch of kale

-1/2 of an apple (honeycrisp or granny smith work best)

-1/4 cup of cooked quinoa

-1/4 cup of unshelled sunflower seeds

-1/8 cup of shaved parmesan reggiano

-1/8 cup of Lemon Dijon Dressing (see recipe)



Start by preparing the kale, remove the stems, rinse thoroughly, and cut into very thin strips. In a large mixing bowl, pour the dressing over the shredded kale and begin massaging with your hands for 1-2 minutes. The process of massaging the kale helps to break it down creating a better texture for chewing. It also helps to break down the cell membrane fibers of the kale, which actually contains a bitter component.


Once the kale is slightly broken down and brightened in color it’s time to add the fun stuff. Slice the apple in a julienne cut (I think this looks prettiest) and add to the salad. Add the cooked quinoa, sunflower seeds, and shaved parmesan reggiano. Toss the salad and serve!


Other great additives to this salad could be cherry tomatoes or avocado. Pepitas also work great in this salad to replace the sunflower seeds as well as a nice cotija cheese to replace the parmesan! This recipe is perfect for playing with so mess around with whatever grains, nuts, or fruits you habe laying around