I didn’t jump on the kale train when it came around, I DOVE IN. Kale stir fry, kale soup, kale pizza, creamed kale, the list goes on. It’s probably because I’m partial to bitter flavors like black coffee, really dark chocolate, and vegetables in the brassica family. I blame it on eating a lot of Chinese vegetables as a kid.
Still, despite my love of kale, it was a while before I had it raw. Kale salad? Only if it was baby kale, a much more tender version. I couldn’t fathom eating that tough, leafy green and chomping on those thick, fibrous stems. Actually, I bet that’s how the dinosaurs felt.
When I finally ventured further into the world of raw kale salads, I started by not eating kale stems. I also learned that the acidity of the lemon juice or vinegar helps break down the kale making it easier to chew. Hooray!
This kale salad is a beautiful addition to any holiday dinner. A simple apple cider vinaigrette helps marinate the lacinato kale. Toasting the pecans intensifies their flavor and helps remove any bitterness they may have. With the deep colors of the ingredients, it’s like a Christmas tree on a salad plate.
Pomegranate Kale Salad with Toasted Pecans
A beautiful kale salad with pomegranates and pecans and a simple, easy apple cider vinaigrette. The perfect side salad to your holiday meal.
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, destemmed and roughly chopped (about 2 cups packed)
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 2 ounces crumbled chevre
In a small jar, combine apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and maple syrup. Whisk or shake vigorously to mix.
Place kale in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing over kale and toss to coat. Let the kale sit for 10 to 20 minutes, the acidity in the dressing helps to soften the greens.
To toast pecans, heat a pan over medium heat. Add pecans to the un-oiled pan. Stir or shake constantly to prevent pecans from burning. Heat for 2 to 3 minutes until pecans are lightly browned and fragrant. Immediately remove from heat and let cool.
When kale is tender, add pecans, pomegranate seeds and chevre. Toss to combine and serve.
I chop my kale into bite sized pieces for this salad. And to save time, I deseed the pomegranate while the kale is tenderizing.
Keep it vegan and skip the cheese. Avocado would be a great substitute to keep the creaminess.
Ready to step it up? Try this recipe for spiced pecans and add some heat to your salad.
CHECK THE FRIDGE
Missing a few ingredients? Instead of kale, you could use spinach or frisee. Try it with blue cheese or gorgonzola if you can’t find chevre. Or add sliced persimmon, apple, or pear!