In the realm of healthy and flavorsome salads, few recipes can rival the delightful combination of fresh kale, crisp apples, and crunchy pecans. Packed with nutrients and bursting with natural flavors, this kale salad is a perfect blend of wholesome goodness and delectable taste. Let’s dive into this easy-to-make, invigorating salad that will leave you feeling energized and satisfied.
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Easy garden greens
Every spring, I plant kale in my garden. This vigorous green lasts throughout the entire growing season and is one of the easiest leafy green to grow. Kale is very cold hardy and will continue to grow through fall and early winter seasons. This hardy green is versatile, and is a great substitute for any dish that calls for spinach. Kale also stands up to heat and is delicious in soups and sautés.
Types of kale
Kale is a leafy green vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family, which includes cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. There are several types of kale, each with its own unique characteristics. My favorite types to grow are curly and dinosaur kale. Some of the most common types of kale include:
- Curly Kale (Brassica oleracea var. sabellica): This is the most common type of kale, easily recognizable by its ruffled leaves and tough stems. It has a slightly peppery and bitter flavor.
- Lacinato Kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala): Also known as dinosaur kale, black kale, or Tuscan kale, this variety has dark blue-green, long, narrow leaves with a blistered, wrinkled texture. It has a slightly sweeter and more delicate taste compared to curly kale.
- Red Russian Kale (Brassica napus): This type of kale has flat, tooth-edged, oak-like leaves with a reddish-purple stem. It is known for its tender texture and slightly sweet flavor.
- Siberian Kale (Brassica napus): Siberian kale has blue-green leaves that are smoother than curly kale, but not as smooth as Lacinato kale. It has a milder, sweeter flavor compared to some other kale varieties.
- Chinese Kale (Brassica oleracea var. alboglabra): Also known as Chinese broccoli or Gai Lan, this type of kale has thick, flat, glossy blue-green leaves and thick stems. It is commonly used in Chinese cuisine and has a slightly bitter taste.
Ingredients needed to make kale salad with apples and pecans
As you have guessed, you will need kale, apples, and pecans. But there are a few more ingredients needed to make this the BEST kale salad you have ever tasted: Red onion, radishes, olive oil, dijon mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and cheese. I put goat cheese on the recipe, but feel free to use any type of preferred cheese. I think semi-hard cheeses also work beautifully in this salad.
How to make the BEST kale salad with apples and pecans
For the salad:
In a dry skillet, add pecans and toast over medium heat until lightly golden and aromatic. Remove from heat and coarsely chop. Set aside.
Remove kale leaves from stems and chop into bite size pieces. Add kale to a large bowl and add salt. Massage kale with the salt until kale becomes dark and softens. Core and chop apple into bite size pieces and add to kale. Thinly slice red onion and radishes and add to bowl. Crumble goat cheese and toss in pecans and pepper to taste.
For the dressing:
In a small jar with tight fitting lid, combine olive oil, dijon mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and pepper to taste. Place lid and shake vigorously until well combined.
Assemble the salad:
Add the dressing to the salad and toss well to coat all ingredients. Allow the salad to marinate for 10 minutes before serving.
With its vibrant blend of textures and flavors, this kale salad with apples and pecans is not only a feast for the senses but also a nutritional powerhouse. Incorporate this simple yet enticing recipe into your meal rotation to enjoy a refreshing and wholesome dish that will leave you feeling nourished and satisfied.
The BEST kale salad with apples and pecans
- 1 large salad bowl
- 1 sharp knife
- 1 small jar with lid
- measuring cups/spoons
For the salad
- 1 bunch kale, washed, leaves removed from stems
- 1 apple, cored and diced I like gala or honeycrisp
- 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 4 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup pecans, toasted
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the dressing
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tsp pepper, or to taste
- Add pecans to a dry skillet and toast over medium heat until lightly golden and aromatic. Remove from heat and coarsly chop.
- Chop kale into bite size pieces. Place into a large salad bowl
- Add salt and massage kale with the salt until color darkens and kale softens
- Add the apple, onion, radishes, cheese and pecans
- Meanwhile, in a small jar with tightly fitting lid, add olive oil, dijon mustard, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, and pepper. Apply the lid and shake vigorously to well combine.
- Pour dressing over salad. Toss salad to coat.
- Allow salad to marinate for 10 minutes before serving.