Lacinato kale

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Tuscan kale (cavolo nero) growing in a SELROSLT garden.

Lacinato kale (UK: /ˌlæsɪˈnɑːt, ˌlæ(t)ʃɪ-/,[1] US: /ˌlɑːsɪ-/[2]) or, in Italian and often in English, cavolo nero (/ˌkævəl ˈnɛər, ˌkɑːv-/,[3][4][5][6] Italian: [ˈkaːvolo ˈneːro]; literally "black cabbage") is a variety of kale with a long tradition in Italian cuisine, especially that of Tuscany. It is also known as Tuscan kale, Italian kale, dinosaur kale, kale, flat back kale, palm tree kale, or black Tuscan palm.[7][8] Lacinato kale has been grown in Tuscany for centuries,[9] and is one of the traditional ingredients of minestrone[10] and ribollita.


Lacinato kale grows 60 to 90 centimetres (2 to 3 ft) tall[11] and has dark blue-green leaves with an "embossed texture"; its taste is described as "slightly sweeter and more delicate" than curly kale[12] and "slightly bitter [and] earthy".[13] The lacinato variety is sometimes called dinosaur kale because its bumpy leaves may resemble what dinosaur skin looked like,[14] and perhaps because the unique appearance of the leaves is evocative of primordial flora. Because of its taste, it has been called "the darling of the culinary world".[15]

Preparation and dishes[edit]

Lacinato kale, like most other kale varieties, is usually blanched first, and then sautéed with other, flavourful ingredients; in Campanian cuisine, anchovies are often added.[9] It is commonly used in pastas and soups, but can also be eaten raw, in a salad.[16]

In Tuscan cuisine, lacinato kale is often used in ribollita (literally: "reboiled"), a thick, hearty soup made up of ingredients cooked for a meal the day before.[17]

In Dutch, it is called (as in German) palmkool or palmkohl, referring to the palm-like shape with the leaves growing from the stem, especially after the bottom leaves are harvested. In Swedish and Finnish, it is known as svartkål or mustakaali, meaning 'black cabbage'.


Lacinato kale dates to the 18th century in Italy.[18] This cultivar is popular among gardeners because of its colour and texture,[18][19] and was amongst the plants Thomas Jefferson recorded in his 1777 garden at Monticello.[20] The plant grows to a height of two feet, with blistered leaves often over 30 cm (1 ft) in length and 5–10 cm (2–4 in) wide.[18] The straplike leaves[21] are typically harvested from the bottom of the stem, leaving the remainder of the plant resembling a palm tree.[18]


  1. ^ "lacinato". Lexico UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2022-08-23.
  2. ^ "lacinato kale". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  3. ^ "CAVOLO NERO". Cambridge English Dictionary. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Cavolo nero". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 13 September 2019.
  5. ^ "cavolo nero". Lexico UK English Dictionary UK English Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Archived from the original on 2022-08-26.
  6. ^ Stevenson, Angus; Lindberg, Christine A., eds. (2010). "cavolo nero". New Oxford American Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press (published 2011). ISBN 9780195392883. Retrieved 13 September 2019 – via Oxford Reference.
  7. ^ Goin, Suzanne; Gelber, Teri (2005). Sunday Suppers at Lucques: Seasonal Recipes from Market to Table. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 236. ISBN 9780307547675.
  8. ^ Thorness, Bill (2009). Edible Heirlooms: Heritage Vegetables for the Maritime Garden. Skipstone. p. 90. ISBN 978-1-59485-142-1.
  9. ^ a b Appleman, Nate; Lindgren, Shelley; Leahy, Kate (2008). A16: Food + Wine. Random House. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-58008-907-4.
  10. ^ Brennan, Georgeanna; Koons, Todd; Frankeny, Frankie (2003). Great Greens: Fresh, Flavorful, and Innovative Recipes. Chronicle. p. 30. ISBN 978-0-8118-3907-5.
  11. ^ "Tuscan Kale - Dr. Weil's Garden". Archived from the original on 2009-06-05.
  12. ^ Murray, Michael T.; Pizzorno, Joseph; Pizzorno, Lara (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. Simon and Schuster. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-7434-7402-3.
  13. ^ Middleton, Susie; Fink, Ben (2010). Fast, Fresh, and Green: More Than 90 Delicious Recipes for Veggie Lovers. Chronicle. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-8118-6566-1.
  14. ^ "Lacinato Dinosaur Kale". Farmer D Organics. 2012-10-30. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
  15. ^ Soler, Ivette (2011). The Edible Front Yard: The Mow-Less, Grow-More Plan for a Beautiful, Bountiful Garden. Timber Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-60469-199-3.
  16. ^ Ross, Jenny (2011). Raw Basics: Incorporating Raw Living Foods Into Your Diet Using Easy and Delicious Recipes. Hay House. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-4019-3166-7.
  17. ^ Dickie, John (2008). Delizia!: The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food. Simon and Schuster. p. 285. ISBN 978-0-7432-7799-0.
  18. ^ a b c d Staub, Jack E.; Buchert, Ellen (2005). 75 Exciting Vegetables for Your Garden. Gibbs-Smith. p. 120. ISBN 978-1-58685-250-4.
  19. ^ Ryrie, Charles (2003). The Country Garden. Reader's Digest. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7621-0391-1.
  20. ^ Jefferson, Thomas (2002) [1999]. Edwin Morris Betts (ed.). Thomas Jefferson's Garden Book. Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, UNC Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-882886-11-1. Retrieved June 1, 2011.
  21. ^ McLaughlin, Chris (2010). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Heirloom Vegetables. Penguin. p. 139. ISBN 978-1-61564-052-2.