Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Pecans

Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

Two co-workers were talking about the best kale salad ever at this fancy restaurant downtown — Oak. They both noted that it was most memorable part of their meal. The salad. Can you believe that?!

That conversation got my mind going, and somehow I invented a story in my head about that salad. In my mind, it had pecans, dates, and even bacon. It wasn’t just kale, there were other greens to lighten it up. And the dressing was tangy and sweet but not overpowering. I thought about that salad so much that I went ahead and made it (because why not?).

Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale
Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

It wasn’t until I went to write this post that I remembered the original inspiration (Oak’s famous salad), and figured I should probably look up what their kale salad actually contains. Boy was I off the mark!

Shaved Apple & Kale Salad. Grana Padano, togarashi, candied almonds.

Say what??! Kale, apples, cheese, candied nuts, you have me on the edge of my seat! But then, Togarashi?!

I guess I have to just go try the original. Until then, I’m going to pretend my own kale salad is just as famous.

Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Kale

Chopped Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates & Pecans

Published October 4, 2018 by
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Serves: 4   |    Active Time: 20 minutes



Ingredients:


For the Salad:
  • 4 kale leaves, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • Sprinkle of salt
  • Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup romaine, shredded
  • 1 cup radicchio, shredded
  • 6 medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, cooled and chopped in bite sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Directions:

    1. Place kale in a salad bowl. Drizzle lightly with oil and a sprinkle of salt. Using your hands, “massage” the kale, rubbing the leaves with your hands until they are bright green and tender. This will make them easier to eat.
    2. Add shredded romaine and radicchio to the bowl, and toss to combine. Add bacon, dates, and pecans.
    3. Combine first four ingredients for vinaigrette in a small jar and shake to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle over salad to your tastes and toss. Serve.

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Quinoa salads have been a staple lately. I make a big batch of quinoa, roast up some veggies (it's been extra hot here, so I quite literally carry our toaster oven into the garage and roast them in there so that the house doesn't take all that extra heat), allow everything to cool, and then toss it all with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, feta, toasted pine nuts, and a lemon vinaigrette.

    The combo is light but satisfying, summery and fresh. And just look at that rainbow of colors:  

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad
    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Another perk when it comes to quinoa salads is that you can very easily adapt them. Recently I added chickpeas in place of feta (a good vegan option, if you're into that), made a red wine, garlic and herb vinaigrette lemon, and served it all over butterhead lettuce instead of baby greens. Voila! A totally different experience, but the same exact method. 

    The point is, you can swap whatever the heck is in season into this recipe. This particular recipe uses peak-of-summer crops. Some other combos to tantalize your tastebuds with:

    • Cherry tomatoes, bite-sized fresh mozzarella pieces, and basil with balsamic vinaigrette
    • Fresh tomato, cucumber, parsley, kalamata olives and chickpeas for a greek version 
    • Bell peppers, broccoli florets, cilantro, bean sprouts, and a sesame soy dressing
    • Sugar snap peas, roasted asparagus, radishes, and sprouts for a cheery spring edition 
    • Roasted butternut squash cubes, goat cheese, black beans, and walnuts for a late summer or fall version 

    But for now, onward to this summery rainbow of a recipe! 

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Roasted Summer Vegetable Quinoa Salad

    Published June 19, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Active Time: 60 minutes



    Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 medium summer squash
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1/2 cup feta crumbles
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2-3 cups baby greens (such as baby kale or spinach) 

  • For the dressing:
  • Zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Dice eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes. Slice summer squash into half moons, and slice red onion into medium-large wedges. Spread all of them out on a sheet pan, and drizzle with olive oil, tossing them in the oil to coat. Roast veggies for 30-40 minutes, until onions are brown on the edges and eggplant is very soft the whole way through, and starting to brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool completely.
    2. In a large salad bowl, combine: cooled quinoa and cooled roasted veggies, sliced grape tomatoes, minced parsley, feta, pine nuts, and baby greens.
    3. In a small jar, combine ingredients for dressing. Close jar and shake to combine. Pour dressing over salad and toss until everything is combined. Serve.

    Moroccan Spiced Carrot Salad (Paleo & Vegan)

    Moroccan Carrot Salad is a quick recipe: only 4 real salad components, if you don’t count the spices that give it that Moroccan flare. Carrots, parsley, raisins, and lemon vinaigrette. Then, ground cumin, coriander, paprika, cayenne, and cinnamon pop in and dress it up. Thanks to those spices, this carrot salad really stands out. 

    To my surprise, little baby carrot heads were popping out from the surface of our garden beds back in early March. They were from seeds planted last year, ones that didn’t sprout before the season ended. And somehow, they grew on through snow and frost and unpredictable Colorado spring weather... hardy little plants to say the least! I’m planning to xeriscape our front yard this year, and build brand new garden boxes, so I’ll likely have to wipe them out before they get fully grow, but maybe they’ll have enough time to grow into baby carrots before then. 

    Carrots are a hardy after they’re picked, too: you can make this the day before, and then drizzle on the vinaigrette at the last minute. The carrots won’t get soggy in the fridge overnight. 

    I use a food processor (affiliate link) with a shredding attachment to shred the carrots — I do not have the patience to do that by hand! 

    This is the perfect side to Moroccan Beef Kabobs, or Lamb & Winter Squash Tagine.

    Moroccan Spiced Carrot Salad

    Published April 17, 2018 by
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    Serves: 6   |    Total Time: 20 minutes



    Ingredients:

    • 3 to 4 cups shredded carrots
    • 1/3 cup minced parsley
    • 1/3 cup raisins
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 4 dashes ground cayenne
    • Juice from 2 lemons
    • 1 garlic clove
    • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt

    Directions:

    1. Place shredded carrots in a bowl with minced parsley and raisins. Add cumin coriander, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne and toss.
    2. Make vinaigrette: Mince the garlic and add it to a jar with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Shake to combine. (Makes enough dressing for 2-3 salads). Drizzle about 1/3 of vinaigrette over salad, or to taste. Toss and serve!

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