My Go-To Kale Salad (for the cooler months)

Go-To Kale SaladOn any given day, you can find me putting slices of avocado, crumbles of cheese, or toasted nuts or seeds into a green salad. Fruit, on the other hand, more often gets relegated to the dessert section rather than an accent to a salad. It’s not because I don’t like fruit with my greens. On the contrary, I love fruit in salad. It’s just not been my go-to up to this point. At this time of year, though, I tend to come in hard with the sturdier leafy greens and they can be rather grassy tasting without a little help. Enter this fruit-forward salad.

Go-To Kale SaladGo-To Kale SaladGo-To Kale SaladA massage with the AVC/maple dressing helps to break down the fibres and give kale some added flavour. Sweet, crisp apples and crunchy, salty pumpkin seeds add a much needed contrast and crunch. Red onion lends a little heat. And tart, dried cherries soak up the dressing and bring a slight syrupy to each bite they encounter. Unlike most salads, this one stands up fairly well to a vinaigrette for a day in the fridge, making it a great leftover to tote along for busy, next-day meetings/adventures.

We’ve eaten this salad several times in the past 2 weeks, so you’ll understand why I’m calling it my “go-to kale salad”. Give it a shot, as-is. Or if you’d like more inspiration for the days that you’re craving greens, this salad is easily adaptable with some minor additions or subs:

  1. Add in cubes of your favourite caramelized, roasted squash (delicata, butternut, kabocha would all be great) and/or a hearty grain (think spelt berries or farro tossed with the vinaigrette, as well) to bulk it up.
  2. Toast up some olive bread based croutons and toss in some feta cheese for a salty-sweet panzanella of sorts.
  3. Swap in pears and dried cranberries for a similar take on the original.
  4. Swap out the pumpkin seeds for toasted walnuts, take out the dried cherries, and add in some roasted crispy potatoes.
  5. Just before serving, toss in a handful of some more delicate peppery greens like arugula or mustard greens and sub the pumpkin seeds for toasted pecans.

Go-To Kale SaladGo-To Kale Salad

If you make this, be sure to tag me @80twentyfood or #80twentyfood. I love seeing what you’re up to.

My Go-To Kale Salad (Print recipe here
Serves: 4
Notes: Unlike most salads, this salad will keep fairly well in an airtight container in the fridge overnight.

Apple Cider Vinaigrette
1½ tbsp apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp dijon mustard
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
Pepper, to taste

Add all ingredients to a jar with a lid, shake until combined. Set aside

A bunch lacinato or curly kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-size pieces (I photographed lacinato kale, but I think I like curly better in the salad)
Apple Cider Vinaigrette, enough to coat
¼ cup dried tart cherries, thinly sliced
1-2 thinly sliced apples (I like Gala or McIntosh apples)
¼ small red onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1/3 cup tamari-roasted pumpkin seeds (recipe to follow)

To a large bowl, add the kale and a few tablespoons of vinaigrette (enough for it to be coated and glossy). Use your hands to coat the leaves, gently massaging the kale as you go. Set aside until ready to eat. It’s best to do this at least a couple of hours in advance. About an hour before eating,, add in the the cherries, apple, and onion along with more vinaigrette and toss to coat. Just before serving, sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.

Tamari-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
(barely adapted by a recipe in Amy Chaplin’s book, At Home in the Whole Foods Kitchen)
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1½ tsp tamari

Preheat oven to 300°F.
Cover pumpkin seeds with cold water and swish them around to gently rinse. Strain and spread the seeds on a parchment-lined baking pan.
Roast in the oven for 10-12 minutes.
Remove seeds from oven, give them a shake, and break up any clumps that may have formed. Spread them out evenly again.
Roast for another 10-12 minutes, until browned and fragrant.
Remove tray from oven and gather all the seeds in a pile in one corner of the pan. Sprinkle with tamari and stir with a spoon or fork to coat. Spread the seeds out again until they dry. Store in an airtight container for several weeks.

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