Considering this is a healthy food blog, it is incredibly embarrassing that after over 200 recipes, I am finally posting my first recipe for a kale salad. The primary reason- I hated kale. In my defense, it was a lack of knowledge that caused these strong feelings towards the leafy vegetable
Up until this point my exposure to kale has been almost entirely limited to curly kale, and with its tough texture and sinewy stem, I often felt like a cow when eating it raw. Tuscan kale (aka Cavolo Nero) has been appearing more frequently in my local grocery store, and so I finally decided to venture back into the world of kale and give it a try.
What I quickly learned about this dark and leafy green, is that when prepared correctly, IT’S ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! But the key is in the preparation. The stem has to be removed and the leaves chopped into small pieces.
Next the shredded leaves should be salted and massaged for about a minute with your hands, this will make the difference between a chewy salad, and one with supple and tender leaves.
This salad has a wonderful flavour combination of salty, sweet, sharp and fruity. The kale is topped with crispy bits of bacon (or pancetta), shredded apple, sweet and salty pecans and a shallot dressing.
Although the pecans take a bit of extra time to bake, they are the absolute star of the salad. The key to ensuring the spice mixture sticks to every part of the pecan, is to use a whipped egg white, which helps to fully coat the nuts. These sweet and spicy pecans are so good, I would recommend baking twice as many of them, they will last for a few weeks in a sealed container and are an awesome snack.
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite_) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
- 1 egg white
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tsp honey
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1 bunch tuscan kale
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup bacon or pancetta
- 1 apple cored and cut into small pieces
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit)
Whip the egg white until stiff peaks form and then stir in the water, honey, cumin, salt and chill powder. Fold the pecans into the mixture and then spread them out evenly on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until crisp and golden in colour. Flip them half way through baking to ensure they are evenly cooked.
To prepare the kale, use a knife to remove the rib from the center of each leaf. You will be left with two separate leaves from each piece. Next chop the kale strips into small bite sized pieces and then place in a large salad bowl.
Sprinkle the kale with 1/4 tsp salt and then massage the leaves for approximately 1 to 2 minutes with your hands. You can do this by scrunching and releasing handfuls of the leaves. Don't skip this step, it makes all the difference!
Time to cook the pancetta or bacon. Chop it into small pieces and cook in a frying pan until crisp which should take 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside on a paper towel.
To make the dressing, in a bowl whisk together the olive oil, 1/2 of the chopped shallot, vinegar and honey.
In the salad bowl with the kale, add in the pecans, cooked bacon, chopped apples and half of the chopped shallot. Top with the dressing and toss.