Compliments of Cookie and Kate
How To Make the Best Kale Salad
- Remove the ribs: Regardless of which variety of kale you choose (I love them all), you’ll first want to remove the tough ribs from the leaves. Use a chef’s knife to slice out the stems or just pull the leaves from the ribs with my fingers. The ribs are too chewy and distracting to include in the salad, but you can chop them and sauté them later (or feed them to your dog, if your dog will eat anything like Cookie!).
- Chop the kale: Then, you’ll want to chop the kale into pretty small, bite-sized pieces. Eating kale salads made with pieces of giant kale is mighty awkward.
- Sprinkle with salt: Next, transfer the kale to a serving bowl and sprinkle it lightly with sea salt (salt helps cut the bitter flavor of kale).
- Massage the kale: Yes, this step sounds ridiculous, but it makes all the difference. Reach into the bowl with (clean) hands and start grabbing handfuls of kale. Scrunch, release, scrunch, release. Repeat until the kale is fragrant and dark green. This makes the kale less poky and more palatable. Kale is tough, so don’t worry about damaging the leaves! This step should take 30 seconds or less.
- Dress the kale: Drizzle in a bold dressing and massage that into the leaves so the kale is lightly and evenly coated with dressing (this is important!). Kale does particularly well with zippy dressings. If you’ve always followed the standard vinaigrette formula (one part vinegar to three parts oil), you’ll probably want to up the ratio of vinegar for kale salads. I tend to add a little more dressing to kale salads than other green salads.
- Toss well: Now is the time to toss in additions like toasted nuts, grated/crumbled cheese and/or chopped raw fruits and veggies. If you have time, let the salad marinate for ten minutes before serving. Ta da! Best kale salad ever.
Deb’s Kale Salad with Apple, Cranberries and Pecans
Author: Cookie and Kate
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 20 mins
Total time: 20 mins
A hearty, holiday-worthy raw kale salad with chopped Granny Smith apple, cranberries, toasted pecans and goat cheese, tossed in a zippy honey mustard dressing. It’s both vegetarian and gluten free.
- ½ cup pecans
- 8 ounces kale (I used regular curly green kale, but Deb recommends Cavolo Nero or Lacinato, Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale)
- 4 to 5 medium radishes
- ½ cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
- 1 medium Granny Smith apple
- 2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 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.
- Pull the kale leaves off from the tough stems and discard the stems. Use a chef’s knife to chop the kale into small, 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 lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant.
- Thinly slice the radishes (this is easier to do if you first chop off the root end so you can place the base of the radish flat against your cutting board). Add them to the bowl.
- Coarsely chop the pecans and cranberries (or cherries) and add them to the bowl. Chop the apple into small, bite-sized pieces and add it to the bowl as well. Crumble the goat cheese over the top.
- 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.