I know. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "enough with the damn kale Danielle!" You're probably reading this wondering how in the heck I'm not sick of kale yet. 'How the hell is this chick not sick of this leafy green that she seems to be using in the same way over and over again?! What a hoot this chick must be with her never-ending kale salads.' I have to be honest, after making so many different variations on kale salads this summer, I was just as sick of kale as you would imagine I would be. I was just about to throw in the towel (or the kale!) and whip out a box of KD or frozen hot and spicy chicken fingers, when I realized that if I didn't eat that last half bunch of kale that very day, it would go bad, a thought that would surely traumatize me for the rest of the week, meaning sleepless nights laying in bed feeling guilty self-hatred about wasting good food. I knew that if I was going to make good use out of that kale, I would have to get creative and come up with a completely different type of kale salad from anything I have made before. With a big bowl full of fresh, hand-picked Ontario apples, that task wasn't too daunting. As soon as I got out my pad of foolscap to start jotting down kale salad ideas, scribbling down different flavour combinations that would shine with apples and kale, my stomach began to rumble and I started to get excited about kale once again. Who woulda thunk it?
My apple and kale salad turned out to be just the combination I was looking for to drag me out of my kale rut. The crunchy, sweet, and slightly tart Ontario apples worked perfectly against the slightly bitter kale. I knew that I would have to play with textures to get me devouring this salad until the bottom of the bowl, so I first toasted up some slivered almonds for a crunch and warm, nutty flavour, as well as a handful of trail mix filled with an assortment of other whole nuts (including peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins). To contrast all that crunch from the nuts and the apple, I crumbled in some tangy goat cheese to add a wonderful creaminess. A light sprinkle of some chia seeds for extra healthy points, and a drizzle of some store-bought vinaigrette dressing (yes, I cheated a little!) and this salad was ready for tasting! One taste said it all. This is was definitely my new favourite salad, not just kale salad, but salad in general! It had everything I was looking for in terms of health benefits and big flavours, and made me forget all about that box of KD and frozen chicken fingers!
* Don't choose a creamy vinaigrette as the goat cheese will already give the salad the creaminess to offset the crunch from the other toppings.
1/2 bunch kale, washed, dried, torn into smaller pieces
about 1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium eating apple (I used Cortland thanks to its sweet and juicy flavour with just a bit of tartness. Cortlands also take longer to brown, which makes them great for salads!), cut into 1-cm strips
handful of slivered almonds, toasted
handful of trail mix
about 1/4 cup goat cheese
1 tbsp chia seeds
vinaigrette of your choice* (I used a pear and blue cheese vinaigrette that worked great!)
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Add kale to a medium mixing bowl and drizzle with about 1 tbsp olive oil. Sprinkle over a pinch of salt. Using clean fingertips, massage kale for about 1-minute, or until the kale has softened slightly and is not tough.
- Add in the apple strips, slivered almonds, trail mix, goat cheese, and chia seeds and toss. Add the vinaigrette (a bit at a time so you don't overdress) and toss. Taste and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Taste once more and season again if needed. Serve immediately!