Tuscan Kale Salad from True Food Kitchen (and a Restaurant Review)

by Dorothy Reinhold on May 16, 2011

Print This Post Print This Post Tuscan Kale Salad from True Food Kitchen on Shockinglydelicious

A brand new restaurant in Santa Monica, Calif. hits all the marks – the food is undeniably good for you, the prices are right, the ambiance is casual yet special, the menu has a large and interesting variety so many different palates will be pleased, AND it tastes out-of-this-world good!

True Food Kitchen on ShockinglydeliciousThat’s quite a collection to get right, immediately out of the starting gate, yet True Food Kitchen manages to do it all extremely well. I would happily return many times to eat my way through this beguiling menu.

A partnership between Phoenix-based Fox Restaurant Concepts and the best-selling healthy living author Dr. Andrew Weil, True Food Kitchen offers what they call a globally inspired seasonal menu, featuring high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients with a health and fitness bent. Fish is wild-caught, chicken is free-range, dairy is minimal, veggies and grains are abundant, and nutrition is paramount.

It will also be a boon for foodies with dietary restrictions, because menu items are helpfully marked with a GF for gluten-free, a V for vegan, or a VEG for vegetarian. Dairy-free options are also noted. You can check out the menu here if you like.

The Santa Monica location is the fourth True Food Kitchen (the other three are in Arizona and Newport Beach), and is on the first floor of the newly-remodeled shopping center Santa Monica Place.

My husband, son and I ate there on a Saturday night in May, and we truly enjoyed every single dish we chose.

Let’s run through our dinner. I’ll pause while you drool.

Hamachi with Radish and Sprouts from True Food Kitchen

Appetizer: Hamachi with Radish and Sprouts ($12).

Edamame Dumplings at True Food Kitchen

Appetizer: Edamame Dumplings with Daikon Radish and White Truffle Oil ($9)

Spicy Shrimp and Asian Noodles from True Food Kitchen

Spicy Shrimp and Asian Noodles with Shaved Vegetable, Mushroom, Tofu and Savory Broth ($18).

Bison Burger from True Food Kitchen on Shockinglydelicious

Grass Fed Bison Burger with Umami Mushroom and Onions, Mayo and Parmesan on Flax bun, with Kale Salad and Sweet Potato Hash ($16).

Miso Glazed Black Cod at True Food Kitchen on Shockinglydelicious

Miso Glazed Black Cod with Bok Choy and Asian Mushroom ($25).

And for dessert…

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream from True Food Kitchen on Shockinglydelicious

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream ($7).

Strawberry Sorbet from True Food Kitchen on Shockinglydelicious

Strawberry Sorbet with Fresh Blueberries ($2.50).

While I really enjoyed my Miso Glazed Black Cod, the side dishes at a restaurant are often what thrills me most. And so it was with the star of the side dish show (for me anyway), the Tuscan Kale Salad. Fresh, bright green and packed with flavor, this one was hard to keep from snitching off my husband’s plate. I should have just ordered my own bowl of it! Whether for Meatless Monday or any other day of the week, this one’s a winner.

Luckily for us, the restaurant is willing to share the recipe.

VIDEO VERSION: If you would like to see Dr. Weil and chef Michael Stebner of True Food Kitchen show you how to make the salad, watch this video. 

Tuscan Kale Salad

True Food Kitchen

  • 4-6 cups Italian black kale, loosely packed, sliced leaves, midribs removed (called Lacinato, “dinosaur,” or cavolo nero)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, mashed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Hot red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2/3 cup grated Pecorino Toscano cheese (Rosselino variety if you can find it) or other flavorful grating cheese such as Asiago or Parmesan
  • ½ cup freshly made bread crumbs from lightly toasted bread


Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and a generous pinch (or more to taste) of hot red pepper flakes. Pour over kale in serving bowl and toss well. Add 2/3 of the cheese and toss again. Let kale sit for at least 5 minutes. Add bread crumbs, toss again, and top with remaining cheese.

True Food Kitchen

Santa Monica Place, 1st floor (not in the 3rd floor food court!)
395 Santa Monica Place, Suite 172
Santa Monica, CA 90401
P: 310.593.8300

Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. (brunch served until 3 p.m.)
Sunday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (brunch served until 3 p.m.)

True Food Kitchen in Santa Monica on Shockinglydelicious

Santa Monica location, on the 1st floor at Santa Monica Place.

Disclosure: My meal was provided by the restaurant at no cost to me. My opinions are entirely my own and I was under no obligation of any kind.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

www.raccianello.it July 3, 2015 at 5:55 am

{great|wonderful|interesting|nice post.
One of the most characteristic towns that I visited in Tuscany is San Gimignano, near Volterra. I stayed there during my last holiday in Tuscany, in a farmhouse really beautiful. There was a restaurant and a swimming pool overlooking sille towers. It’s called Farm Raccianello and both me and my parents really enjoyed it.


Trevor February 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on True Food Kitchen.


Teri Carcano May 26, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Per your recommendation I dined here earlier this week–LOVED it.
I had the edamame dumplings and a tuna sashimi salad-so flavorful and shockingly delish! thanks for the rec.


Dorothy May 30, 2011 at 9:53 am

Sure thing. I will go back! Let me know when you want to go, and we’ll make a pilgrimage.


Sky Stipanowich May 23, 2011 at 2:25 pm

True Food Kitchen is a great addition to downtown Santa Monica. Easy to find with free valet parking (validated at restaurant) right out front. There’s a good variety. Love the sweet potatoes. Food is delicious..and so fresh! Someone at our table got a chocolate banana tart that was out of this world. There’s a good vibe there,too. Thanks for keeping us up to date on all things food, Dorothy!


Dorothy May 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm

So glad you liked it! I want to go back RIGHT NOW! I see a Chocolate Banana Tart in my future.


Suz May 20, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Your meal looked delicious! I’m glad we all had something different so we could share and compare our thoughts 🙂


Lentil Breakdown May 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I didn’t have the Tuscan Kale unfortunately, but I did have that lovely strawberry rhubarb cobbler. I liked most of the dishes I tried, and the fava bean ravioli was outstanding. The herb hummus was really good too. Glad you enjoyed it too!


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: