A Winter Kale Salad

We all love kale, right?

The hearty green we can enjoy all year round and incorporate to every meal ( depending on just HOW much you love it...like me) giving us loads of Vitamin K, potassium, iron and niacin (aiding our circulation in these colder months). I was attending a potluck this weekend and looking for a more wintery take on my favorite salad when I came across the PERFECT ONE.

Because the kale is baked in this salad, it creates a great texture of crispy kale chip meets a warm wilted braised green. The creamy dressing and smokey tempeh bacon make this salad a hearty one, unworthy of just being a side dish. This is not vegan, as it has pecorino romano in it, but that can be ommited with the addition of nutritional yeast. There were other kale salads at the potluck - 3 others to be exact - but none with the same wintery notes as this one. Hope you all enjoy it!

A Winter Kale Salad

Salad ingredients

  • large bunch of kale (plus olive oil, salt & pepper for drizzling)
  • 2-3 chopped scallions, white and green parts
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or any nut you like)
  • soy-balsamic tempeh bites

Dressing ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons lemon juice, plus some zest
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt, pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • a good grating of pecorino or parmesan cheese plus some for the top of the salad (if vegan, just omit cheese, or add a tablespoon or two of nutritional yeast)
  • water to thin, as needed
  • a few pinches of red pepper flakes

Soy-balsamic tempeh:

full disclosure - I just bought fakin bacon tempeh and it was perfect.

  • 1/2 package tempeh, sliced into 1/4″ thick strips
  • olive oil
  • splash of soy sauce
  • splash of balsamic
  • drizzle of honey
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Start dressing. In a small bowl measure out your olive oil, lemon juice, zest, honey, salt & pepper. Smash and mince your garlic well. Set aside while you work on the other components.
  3. Drizzle whole kale leaves with olive oil, salt & pepper. Spread into a single layer on 2 baking sheets. Bake in the oven for 8-12 minutes or until the edges are crispy and the centers are wilted. Remove from oven, let cool to room temp. Stack the leaves and chop them, removing the more coarse parts of the stems. Set aside.
  4. Start the tempeh. Heat oil in a small skillet. When your pan is hot, add the tempeh. Cook on both sides for a few minutes until they start to brown. Then add a splash of soy sauce, balsamic. Flip around to coat all sides. Add a drizzle of honey and cook a few minutes longer until the sugar and vinegar caramelizes a bit on the edges of the tempeh. (This got real sticky in my pan and some of the sugar burned, but that slight char ends up tasting really good). Remove from heat and chop into bit size pieces.
  5. Back to your dressing.  Whisk in tahini, cheese or nutritional yeast, water if necessary to thin it, and a few red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. More lemon for tartness, more cheese to mellow it out if it’s too tart for you… etc.
  6. Toss kale leaves with (some) of the dressing, add as much or little as you like, to taste. Add scallions, cherries, parsley, and tempeh pieces and toss again. Plate and garnish with pine nuts & more grated cheese.

adapted from Love and Lemons