Serving as the foundation for this hearty salad, kale makes for a flavorful and nutrient-dense component. Many individuals can find the texture of raw kale in salads to be a bit off-putting. Well, this recipe offers a nice trick to make your kale even tastier – massaging it. You may be asking yourself, what the heck does massaging do for kale? Well, massaging raw kale with dressing, softens it and helps to break down the cell structure. This gives the kale a softer texture and gentler flavor for a more enjoyable experience. Simply pour the dressing on the kale and begin to rub the leaves until the kale gets darker in color and more tender. You will defiantly not want to skip this step!
I would like to thank Gina from Skinnytaste for inspiring this vibrant and delicious recipe. This versatile salad has a wonderful texture and a very hearty composition thanks to the addition of quinoa, chopped pecans, and cranberries. This salad can be served as a nice side salad or main dish and even elevated with the addition of a nice protein source such as salmon. I would also recommend experimenting with a variety of mix-ins such as other varieties of nuts, dried fruits, cheeses, or grains.
For the Dressing:
1 Large Garlic Clove, Grated or Finely Minced
1 Small Shallot, Minced
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon Pure Maple Syrup
Kosher Salt to Taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste
For the Salad:
1 Bunch of Kale, Center Ribs Removed, Leaves Finely Chopped
¼ Cup Chopped Pecans
1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
¼ Cup Dried Cranberries
2 Tablespoons Grated or Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Prepare the Dressing
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the dressing and set aside while you prep the kale.
Toasting the Pecans
Toast the pecans. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Make sure to not put any oil in the pan. Add the pecans to the pan and cook for two to three minutes, shaking the pan regularly, until golden brown and fragrant. Immediately transfer to a small bowl. Once cooled, your pecans are ready for chopping.
Massage the Kale
Add the chopped kale to the bowl with the dressing. In handfuls, massage the kale by rubbing the leaves in between your fingers for about a minute or two, until the leaves are softened and darken in color. Set aside briefly.
Combining the Ingredients
Add the cooked quinoa, along with half of the pecans and half of the dried cranberries to the kale and toss to combine.
Ready to Serve
Lastly, transfer the salad to a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds and dried cranberries, and then sprinkle with cheese. If you have leftovers, this salad will keep in the fridge for up the five days.