I must share this recipe, because I am totally addicted to this salad. Given my last post on Absolut addiction, people are going to think that I have addiction problems. Perhaps I do. Regardless, you must try this salad, or some sort of variation. It is tasty, satisfying and high on the fairly healthy list. The trick to eating the kale raw and having a great taste is to massage the kale thoroughly. I’ll explain in the recipe.

lunch saladMy recipe is based on one I found on Cookie and Kate, which is based on a recipe from in Deb Perlman’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Feel free to add whatever fresh goodness you have in your kitchen. The possibilities are almost endless!

Kale Salad with Cherries, Pecans and Goat Cheese

  • 1/2 cup candied pecans (remember I said fairly healthy) (or toasted pecans)
  • 8 ounces kale (I used regular curly green kale)
  • 1/2 red, orange or yellow pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or cranberries)
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled
  • optional: hard-boiled eggs
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Make candied pecans beforehand or start with item #2 for toasted pecans.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the pecans on a baking tray. Toast them until lightly golden and fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice to make sure they bake evenly. Remove the tray from the oven and set them aside to cool.
  3. Slice the kale leaves off from the tough stems and discard the stems. (I hold the large end of the stalk and stroke downwards with a chef’s knife to easily remove the leaves.) Slice the kale into bite-sized pieces. Transfer the kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves change to a different color of green. Trust me, you’ll see a difference. (You can be quite vigorous in your massaging. With a large salad my hands get tired, and be prepared to look like you are related to the Jolly Green Giant for a little while.) Some liquid is released from the kale, and I think the “raw” slightly bitter taste disappears.
  4. Clean and cut your pepper into bite size pieces. Add them to the bowl.
  5. Add the nuts and dried fruit (cherries or cranberries) to the bowl. Wash and chop the snap peas and add them as well. Crumble the goat cheese over the top.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss until the salad is evenly coated with dressing. Serve immediately, or for even better flavor, let the salad marinate in the dressing for 10 to 20 minutes beforehand. I doubled the salad dressing ingredients, because I love having a little home-made dressing on hand for a quick salad fix.
  7. Garnish with sections of hard-boiled egg if desired. I added the eggs for protein so this could be a complete meal.
fresh kaleslicing leaves from kale stem
chopped kale kle in bowl massaged kale peppers and cherries added goat cheese added mixed salad dinner salad
I will be using kale as my salad green of choice for the forseeable future. It has so much taste and substance that lettuce looks like the sickly distant relative by comparison. Sorry lettuce. Don’t mean to be cruel but it is the truth.

20 thoughts

  1. Oh I think I can imagine why you’re now hooked on this salad, Terri! The dressing sounds wonderful! I need a salad for a potluck on Saturday and I think I’d like to make this. It’s different, and although kale is gaining in popularity, I haven’t had a salad quite like this! Thank you, Terri!


  2. I’ll have to try this!
    Prior to my mother in law telling me about Russian kale, which seems to be a bit less bitter, my recipe for kale was: Wash the kale, chop it up, sauté with some garlic and olive oil,and then throw the whole thing away since kale is so bitter no one wants to eat it!


    1. Rosie, it might be hard for you to find, but it is obviously trendy and in demand here. We can buy it in all the grocery stores – all the time. Now I’m always watching to find it on sale, since it keeps well and I love having it on hand!


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