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.
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.)
Kale Salad with Apples, Cranberries, & Toasted Pecans
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Add the pecans, cherries, and apple pieces. Crumble the cheese on top.
- In a blender, mix together all the dressing ingredients, making sure to thoroughly incorporate the avocado. Pour over salad, toss, and serve!