Measure out your dressing ingredients and chop your vegetables while you’re waiting for the water to boil so you can make this salad super quick. It’s a great repository for any other leftover meat or vegetables you have chilling in the fridge. Instead of Parmesan, add the same amount of crumbled goat cheese or feta.
Kale Pasta Salad With Parm and Smoked Almonds
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season it with 2 tablespoons salt. Add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, which is 1 minute more than al dente, according to the package directions I found on all brands.
While the pasta cooks, use a Microplane grater to finely grate the lemon zest into the largest bowl you own. Similarly, grate the garlic cloves on the Microplane (or finely mince with a knife) into the bowl. Juice both lemons and measure out ½ cup juice. Pour the juice into the bowl, along with the shallot, pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon salt. Whisk in the olive oil, then add the kale and use your hands to massage it with the dressing until evenly coated. Add the tomatoes, radishes and cucumbers and toss to combine.
Drain the orzo in a colander or sieve, then return it to the pot. Immediately add cold water from the faucet to the pot until it covers the orzo, then drain away the water. Return the pasta to the pot once more, fill with cold water again and drain.
Add the cold drained orzo and Parm to the kale and veggies and toss to combine with your hands or a spoon. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed. If serving all at once, sprinkle the almonds over the salad just before serving to keep them crisp. If keeping it in the fridge, keep the almonds separate and top portions of the salad with them right before serving.