Kale-Cranberry Crunch Salad

Kale cranberry crunch salad


I’m always the one to bring something green to the party. I don’t mind forgoing the oohs about the baked brie and the aahs about the pumpkin cheesecake to ensure that there will be something bright and fresh on my plate. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still go elbow-deep into the buffalo-chicken dip, but I like to balance out my plate with something colorful. I also believe that salads can be so much more than the limp, stale contents of a Dole salad mix; they can be worthy of a main course.

This salad is tangy, slightly sweet, and a little spicy with a satisfying, crunchy texture. I recently brought it to a Friendsgiving party where its ruby red and dark green palate stood out on a table decorated with white and brown food. I didn’t expect anyone to acknowledge the vegetables in a crowd of carbs, but I actually received a few compliments on the dish. The hostess thanked me for bringing something fresh to the gathering that featured multiple forms of mac-and-cheese, and another guest actually texted me the next day asking for the recipe. Salads can be cool, too.

What you need

  • 1 pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, de-stemmed and leaves thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 TB honey
  • 1/2 tsp- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it, I use a full teaspoon)
  • 1/2 cup-3/4 cup olive oil (depending on how acidic you like it, I only use a half a cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped, roasted walnuts (you don’t have to roast them if you don’t want to, but I promise they are better)
  • A lot of shaved parmesan cheese

What you do

-Using a mandolin, a knife, or the shredding blade on your food processor (my preferred method) thinly slice the Brussels sprouts. Place in a large bowl, add the kale and toss to combine.

-In a small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, honey, red pepper flakes and olive oil, salt and season with pepper.

-Wash your hands, take off your rings and perhaps your watch. Pour half of the dressing over the Brussels sprouts and kale and massage it all in there with your hands, this helps break down the toughness of the kale and work the dressing into the greens. Add the rest of the dressing if it needs more. I used it all, I really like a vinegar-y bite on my salads. If you make this ahead of time, use less dressing because it will seep into the greens as it sits and the flavor will be more concentrated. Just before serving, toss it with a bit of fresh dressing.

-Sprinkle the dried cranberries, walnuts, and parmesan cheese over the salad and toss to combine. Add some more of everything on top to make it look pretty. Watch out, mac-and-cheese.

**Serving idea: I added leftover shredded turkey (chicken would also work) to make it into a main course. Also, croutons are never a bad idea.

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