A fresh and snappy side dish, rich with bacon, mustardy-tang, and plenty of crunch.
Remember about five or six years ago when the kale craze hit? I’m still riding that train.
I first made this salad in 2011, for a cooking class – Five Shades of Kale. The name of the class was a take-off on the then just-released, 50 Shades of Grey. I had more people sign up for that class than any class I’ve ever taught. Go figure! I guess the name of the class intrigued them.
I’ve been making this Easy Kale Salad ever since. Why? Because it’s extra-nutritious, super-flavorful and so simple to make. Plus, if I include the bacon, Mr. EN is doesn’t grumble about eating it. (Remove the bacon and well…that’s another story!)
What kind of kale? Use any kind of kale you like. I like Lacinato Kale, also called Dinosaur Kale but any kale works in the recipe. In the recipe pictured here, I used regular curly kale which I bought for 69 cents a bunch!
Massage, massage. Here’s where the “50 Shades” comes in. Follow the directions in the recipe for massaging the kale. This helps soften the kale and release its natural sugars. It really does make the salad better. Trust me – the rub down matters.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Consider buying unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It contains good bacteria that are healthy for your gut. Have you seen the word “microbiome” in the news lately? Microbiome is a fancy word for all the good and bad bacteria – and other stuff – living inside your gut. Apple cider vinegar, and other naturally fermented foods introduce new beneficial bacteria to our gut, which helps bolster the already existing good bacteria living there.
About the Bacon. I bought already cooked, NITRATE FREE bacon and crisped it in the microwave. Yes, it cost a little more but it saves Mr. EN from eating a whole pound, which he has been known to do when I’m not looking. Seriously!
Tart Apples – I found organic Fuji apples for 4.99 a bag at Meijer. Tart apples like Fuji or Granny Smith work best in this recipe but any apple you have will work.
Are you feeling this kale salad like Anastasia in 50 Shades? Just one try and you’ll be “hooked”.
Peace, love and good eats, from our Empty Nest to yours.
Kale, Bacon and Apple Salad
Yield 2 large servings
- 2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped
- 1 small bunch kale, any kind
- 4 to 5 medium radishes, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries or cherries, chopped
- 1 medium Granny Smith or Fuji apple
- ½ small red or white onion, thinly sliced
- 2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
- 2 oz. crumbled goat or blue cheese (optional)
- DRESSING BELOW
- 1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or oil of choice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoons honey or agave syrup
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Wash and thoroughly dry the kale.
- Pull the kale leaves off of the tough stems and discard the stems. Use a chef’s knife to chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces.
- Transfer the kale to a large bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant (about 1-2 minutes).
- Add the radishes, nuts, onion, dried fruit, and cut apple to the bowl.
- Crumble the cheese over the top.
- In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour the dressing over the salad. Toss until the salad is evenly coated with dressing. Let the salad marinate in the dressing for 10 to 20 minutes.
- Add the bacon, toasted nuts, and cheese (if using). Toss again then serve.
- Makes two large servings.