Recipes

kale salad with apples, cranberries, and toasted pecans

10.29.16

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If posting a kale salad recipe on Halloweekend isn’t the height of nonchalance, I don’t know what is.

Promise I’m not a grinch. Nor am I seasonally confused. It’s just that by the time October 31st rolls around, I’ve already consumed more orange-and-black brownies and pretzel witches’ brooms and batty cupcakes than a girl should, in her lifetime, consume. I needed a quick, one-day, noncommittal break from all things spooky.

Enter: this salad. If there’s one food that can’t be dressed up like a mummy or slathered in chocolate, it’s kale. (I think. I hope?) Plus, this one happens to be particularly good. It’s been my go-to for the last month or so. I first found the recipe on Cookie and Kate, where it’s attributed to Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen. Naturally, my first thought as a newly-minted blogger was, “How can I make this my own?” followed by a few disastrous extra ingredient additions. Like…paprika. Very unnecessary.

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And then…and THEN…I think I really made it better with the addition of avocado. I’m a vinegar girl, but the original dressing tasted was on the tart side and I preferred how it tasted with something to subdue the acid kick. I also got rid of the radishes. Sorry, radish-lovers.

For the record, though, Kate and Deb can’t really be beat for perfect recipes. Go check them out if you haven’t.

Then, just for tonight, I urge you to eschew your usual Seamless order, tell the kids at the door to come back on Monday, and make this. (Oh, and never fear: My regular holiday-obsessed programming will resume tomorrow.)

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Kale Salad with Apples, Cranberries, & Toasted Pecans

SERVES 5.

What you’ll need for the salad:

  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 8 ounces kale (any kind works!)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 ounces chèvre

What you’ll need for the dressing:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast them for about 7 minutes until fragrant. Toss them on the pan a few times to ensure that they toast evenly on all sides.
  2. After setting aside the pecans to cool, pull the kale leaves off of the woody stems and rip them into bite-sized pieces using your hands. Transfer to a large salad bowl as you go.
  3. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on the leaves, then massage gently with your hands until you notice a slight change in color and texture (this will only take a minute or so). The leaves should turn darker and softer.
  4. Add the pecans, cherries, and apple pieces. Crumble the cheese on top.
  5. In a blender, mix together all the dressing ingredients, making sure to thoroughly incorporate the avocado. Pour over salad, toss, and serve!

Recipe adapted from Cookie and Kate. Originally from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman.

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