Can be dressed and ready to go!
Kale seems to be all the rage today. Up until a couple of years ago, I had never eaten kale. Since then I have experimented with kale chips, kale and mashed cauliflower with kale (or potatoes) and just plain old cooked kale.
Our HEB market here sells a Kale salad that comes from the mother ship — Central Market. I’m still mad that the powers that be did not see fit to put a Central Market in The Woodlands about five years ago. Since then we have gotten a Trader Joe’s and a Hubble and Hudson which are great little stores but I miss my trips to Central Market to check out all the unusual things they have. (All I have to do is drive to Houston, but seems like a long grocery shopping trip now since we have so much right here.)
What amazes me about this salad is that it will last for several days after having been dressed at the store (I hope mine last that long). And it really does stay fresh for at least 3 days. We get together with friends occasionally and go out on their boat on Lake Conroe. We usually go out around 5:00, find a nice quite spot and float around on noodles and then have some food and drinks. Although the drinks are happening as we float also. When we went recently, the water was still a little too cold to float in so we just enjoyed the afternoon, friends, good food, wine and the beautiful sunset. This salad was perfect for the afternoon because I mixed it all up with the dressing and it was perfect by the time we were ready to eat.
So, how did I get this recipe. Well I didn’t. Since it is sold in the “foods to go section” of the grocery, they put a label on it saying exactly what is in the salad; I simply copied down the ingredients and set about coming up with an orange sesame vinaigrette recipe. I love the texture of the kale (chopped in small pieces) because it does not get soft or limp after sitting all “dressed” and waiting for you to eat it. The crystallized ginger is yummy in it and the dried cranberries add a lot to the sweet/tart taste of the salad. If you don’t like almonds, substitute walnuts or pecans. I did add bacon to the recipe; never a mistake.
Don’t you just love finding new salad recipes to try with a new type of green.
If you have additions you make to this salad, leave a comment below because I would like to add it to this recipe.
You can see my crystalized ginger and I ended up using all that even though I said 3-4 tablespoons in the recipe.
I toasted the pine nuts in a little butter and olive oil, maybe 1-2 teaspoons each.
Chop up the onions, shallots, and ginger.
Put the chopped kale in a salad bowl and add the cranberries, ginger, pumpkin seeds, green onions and shallots.
Add the toasted pine nuts after they have cooled.
I love this dressing. I altered my original recipe by adding the honey because I thought it needed a touch of sweetness.
I toasted the sesame seeds in my tiny skillet I bought in Paris last year. Then add these to the dressing or directly into the salad.
Add the fried bacon crumbles right before serving.
Cranberry Kale Salad
1 large bag Kale, cleaned and cut in small squares or strips.
Orange sesame vinaigrette (see recipe below)
3-4 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, chopped*
2 shallots, sliced thin
4 green onions, thinly sliced, white and green part
1/3 c. toasted pine nuts
1/3 c. roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (I bought mine already that way)
1/2 c. dried cranberries, cherries or blueberries or more
1 lb. bacon, sliced in small strips, fried, set aside
Orange Sesame Vinaigrette
1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. white wine vinegar, or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. honey
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 c. vegetable or canola oil
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds (or more)
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
If you kale has been pre-washed and cut into small pieces, place it in a large salad bowl. If it needs to be cleaned, wash under cold water and spin dry or blot with paper towels. Cut into small pieces about 1″ squares.
Add to the salad bowl, the cranberries, sesame seeds, the pumpkin seeds/pinenuts (or whatever nut you use), the shallots and green onions and the crystallized ginger. Save the bacon until right before serving.
For the dressing mix the orange juice and vinegar. Stir in the soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, honey and the ginger and mustard. Slowly whisk in the vegetable or canola oil. Salt and pepper to taste.
About 20 minutes before you want to serve the salad, toss the kale mixture with enough of the Orange Sesame Vinaigrette to coat. You can use your hands if you want to “massage” the dressing into the kale. Just make sure it is coated well with dressing. You may not need all the dressing.