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 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!
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!
In-season kale, especially from our garden or the farmer’s market, is tender and has the best flavor.
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!
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!
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.
I learned about this and got the original recipe for this salad in a June 2016 issue of Vegetarian TimesMagazine. The website no longer publishes the recipe but so sharing my adapted version here.
So let’s make it!
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
fennel (skip if you want, but I don’t love fennel generally but LOVE it in this salad!)
and goat cheese (skip if dairy-free)
And it’s all tossed with the and tossed in the yummiest sweet- savory Lemon Maple Dressing made of:
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!
The original recipe called for toasting the pecans which adds a nice flavor but I usually skip that part…
Fun 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.
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: Healthy Gluten-Free Family
Recipe type: Salads, Sides, Summerr
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan optional
Serves: 4 servings
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)
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
Toast pecans (optional, it adds a nice taste but I usually skip)
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.
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Add salt & pepper as desired
Place Kale in a medium bowl and massage with salt. Add remaining ingredients to bowl with kale.
Hi! My name is Karen, and I’m the mom in our Healthy Gluten-Free Family. My posts and pictures here and on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter are labors of love that allow me to share a very personal journey with you, one our family has taken together — learning, experimenting and sharing how to raise a healthy happy gluten-free family. Read more ...