Officially dubbing this the year of kale salads as my blog seems to be filling up by the second with them… But they’re so good and so versatile that it’s hard for me to stop! So we’re welcoming yet another salad to the group today that’s going to make sweet and savory lovers (like me) get their happy dance on! Trust me loves, this apple white cheddar and toasted pecan kale salad is unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before! It’s sweet, tangy, slightly salty and has a whole lotta crunch!
Apples: Adds sweetness and a little bit of crunch. (I used envy apples for my salad. See below for more details. You can find a wide variety of apples at your local Sprouts this season too which are always a fun addition to any sweet and savory dish!)
Cheddar cheese: Adds a savory component to your to salad and compliments the sweetness of the apples.
Pomegranate arils: Adds a little extra pop of flavor. (Plus it makes the salad look so pretty too! )
Toasted pecans: Adds crunch and gives your salad that little extra somethin’!
Kale: Provides a sturdy base for all of your ingredients
Maple-mustard dressing: Ties is all together and balances out the flavors!
WHAT TYPE OF APPLES SHOULD YOU USE FOR THIS SALAD?
I would suggest using a sweeter apple that has a really good bite to it. That’s why I love using Envy apples for this type salad because they’re incredibly crisp and still have a slightly sweet flavor to them too. Plus they also stay white after being cut so they’ll still look pretty in your salad even hours later! (A HUGE entertaining win if you ask me! )
I always buy my apples at Sprouts because they have the best fresh produce and I’m able to find varieties there that I’ve never seen anywhere else.
HOW TO MASSAGE KALE
Want to know the key to a great kale salad? MASSAGE. YOUR. KALE! If you’re not familiar with that term, I’m sure this sounds extremely weird to you right now but trust me, it makes all the difference! Massaging the kale leaves helps to soften it making it easier to eat and also brings out the kale’s mild flavor. Here’s how easy it is below:
Cut the kale leaves off the stem or “rib”. Then cut the leaves into bite sized pieces.
Drizzle 1 Tbsp of your dressing over the kale. (Or you can use 1 Tbsp of olive oil instead but I like to “infuse” the kale with my salad dressing flavor.)
Rub the kale together with your hands to fully incorporate the dressing/olive oil throughout. Do this for 5 minutes. (The kale should begin to soften and turn a bright vibrant green color. You’ll also notice that the amount of kale you have will “shrink” as well.)
At this point, the kale can be stored in the fridge until your ready to make your salad.