Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pecans & Goat Cheese

A kale salad even non-kale lovers will love! It's packed with pecans, tart green apples, dried cranberries and goat cheese for the best mix of textures and flavors... then tossed in the yummiest sweet & tangy Lemon Maple Dressing, making it the most satisfying salad! And it's naturally gluten-free!

Kale Salad cranberries pecans goat cheese gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com
Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pecans & Goat Cheese

Sweet & Savory, Crunchy & Delish!

This Kale Salad with pecans, cranberries and goat cheese is a kale salad even non-kale lovers will love!

It’s packed with the most delicious mix of flavor and textures and tossed in a sweet & tangy dressing that makes you want to eat more and more!

Kale Salad cranberries pecans goat cheese gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

 

To be honest, I wasn’t always the biggest kale fan. It can be tough and a bit bitter.

But there are two things I’ve learned over the years that make me a kale lover now!

  1. In-season kale, especially from our garden or the farmer’s market, is tender and has the best flavor.
  2. The key to great tasting kale is to massage it, or gently rub it with your fingers with a touch of salt, olive oil or lemon depending on what the recipe calls for….

Massaged kale will get soft and turn bright green. And the kale will be super tender and tasty!

Not bitter at all!

And it kale season

we have lots of kale in our garden and we are breaking out all our kale recipes!

Kale Salad cranberries pecans goat cheese gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

 

Let’s talk Kale for a moment…. there are multiple varieties of kale (I think up to 10!)

We grow (and often purchase) two main types.

The above photo is Lacinato Kale, also known as Tuscan Kale and Dinosaur Kale. It’s tender and has great flavor.

The one below is Curly Kale.

This is what many people commonly think of when they think of kale. In my experience, it is the one commonly found in restaurants.

Curly kale also tends to get tougher as the season goes on in our garden, but tastes amazing when massaged!

Kale Salad cranberries pecans goat cheese gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

We make this salad with both types of kale, and both taste great!

So let’s get back to the Kale Salad with cranberries, pecans and goat cheese!

This kale salad is one of my favorites!

A quick backstory — it is based on one originally served at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox!

Did you know that Fenway Park has its own 5,000 sq ft Organic rooftop garden?!

Working with Green City Growers, Fenway Park runs this garden and provides fresh, organically grown vegetables and fruit to Fenway’s restaurants and concessions as well as the local community.

How cool is that?

To read, more about it, click here.

I learned about this and got the original recipe for this salad in a June 2016 issue of Vegetarian Times Magazine.  The website no longer publishes the recipe but so sharing my adapted version here.

So let’s make it!

Kale Salad cranberries pecans goat cheese gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

It’s made with simple, whole foods.

The salad is just 6 main ingredients

curly kale ( or lacinato kale is that’s your preference), massaged with a touch of salt

green apples

fennel (skip if you want, but I don’t love fennel generally but LOVE it in this salad!)

pecans

dried cranberries

and goat cheese (skip if dairy-free)

Fenway Farms Kale Salad gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

And it’s all tossed with the and tossed in the yummiest sweet- savory Lemon Maple Dressing made of:

lemon juice

maple syrup

dijon mustard

shallots

fresh thyme

and olive oil.

And it literally is a quick and simple as it sounds…

Whisk together the dressing.

Toss all the ingredients together in a big bowl with dressing. That’s it!

Kale Salad cranberries pecans goat cheese gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

The original recipe called for toasting the pecans which adds a nice flavor but I usually skip that part…

Fenway Farms Kale Salad gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.comFun side note for you baseball fans: I was raised a Yankee fan, my husband a die-hard Red Sox fan, and our eldest son was born during a Yankee-Red Sox Series! I first made this salad to eat for lunch while at my son’s baseball game.

Hope you love it as much as we do!

For our Harvest Salad with kale and delicata squash, click here.

For our Thai-inspired Kale Salad, click here.

For our Shave Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad, click here.

For more Summer Salads, click here.

PIN it!

Kale Salad cranberries pecans goat cheese gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

Scroll down to see the recipe and leave a comment if you try.

Recipe

Kale Salad with pecans, cranberries and goat cheese.
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A kale salad even non-kale lovers will love! It's packed with pecans, tart green apples, dried cranberries and goat cheese for the best mix of textures and flavors... then tossed in the yummiest sweet & tangy Lemon Maple Dressing, making it the most satisfying salad! NOTE: This salad is adapted from one originally sold at Fenway Park and printed in Vegetarian Times Magazine
Author:
Recipe type: Salads, Sides, Summerr
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan optional
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
Salad
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed, torn into bit size pieces or cut into strips
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 1 generous pinch of salt
  • 2 cups fennel, sliced thin (original recipe suggests submerging in ice water for approximately 15 minutes, then draining -- I do this when I have time, it's tastes great both ways)
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, sliced into thin strips
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup crumbled goat cheese (skip if dairy-free)
Dressing
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, chopped (approximately 1 tbsp)
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
Instructions
Toast pecans (optional, it adds a nice taste but I usually skip)
  1. Spread on a baking sheet and cook in a preheated 350 degree oven for 7 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Cool and chop. Note: I've made this salad without toasting the pecans and it's still delicious.
Dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Add salt & pepper as desired
Salad
  1. Place Kale in a medium bowl and massage with salt. Add remaining ingredients to bowl with kale.
  2. Toss with dressing.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

 

Kale Salad cranberries pecans goat cheese gluten free #glutenfreerecipes www.healthygffamily.com

2 thoughts on “Kale Salad with Cranberries, Pecans & Goat Cheese

  1. I grew up in the Hartford, Connecticut area. My father and brother were diehard Yankees fans and I was a Red Sox fan. Never the twain shall meet! Now, after 35 years in the Washington DC area, I am a diehard Nationals fan. Even living in Florida now, I watch every game and live and die by them. Yay, baseball!

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