kale salad with asian pear, goat cheese + champagne vinaigrette

I love a salad you can eat the next day.

I made this salad on Thanksgiving a few weeks ago, and it survived until the next day. It almost tasted better. Not wilty and soggy and sad like a dressed greens salad you try to save because you made too much. I always try to, but... Never works out how you want it to and you are left with a green, slimy "salad." Ugh. But then there was kale!

I wanted to incorporate some hearty greens into the meal this year, and the farmers market has had a large abundance of kale this season. Bins and bins of purple kale, green curly kale, baby kale, dino kale, baby lacinato, and I am sure there were more. Californians seem to really love their kale. I certainly do.

I usually sautée kale with garlic and extra virgin olive oil, or pop it in the oven with salt, vinegar, and oil. But I wanted to try something new for Thanksgiving. It was a small meal this year - only three of us - and surprisingly, I managed to cook an appropriate amount of food. I think this was because I skipped the turkey and roasted a 4-lb chicken instead. I know, I know, it's not the same, but can you blame me? The smallest turkey was 12-lbs! Turkey would be coming out of my ears! Anyway, it was the perfect amount of food. I tend to cook enormous portions, but, I assure you that it never goes to waste in this house... my boyfriend eats everything I put in front of him no matter how large the quantity. And in the rare event we have leftovers, he will most likely put them in an omelet the next morning.

I cannot believe Christmas is next week. I plan to force my family to try this salad because... they should love kale as much as I do, but also because I am going home! I can cook for them! I already have our Christmas Eve dinner planned. (roasted chicken, balsamic brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, LOTS of cheesecake, etc.) My job graciously allowed me to take a whole two weeks off to be with my family + friends. I haven't been in Massachusetts since January when I moved to San Francisco, so this will be a great trip. I will have a "guest kitchen" post for the blog coming up, probably on Christmas Eve... What are you eating or cooking for the holidays?

kale salad with asian pear, goat cheese + champagne vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 bunch curly green kale, stems removed + roughly chopped 

4 green onions, sliced diagonally

1 asian pear, diced

1/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds, shelled

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles

for the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp german mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced 

salt, to taste

ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix the kale, green onions, pear, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries.
  2. Make the dressing. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or mason jar. Mix the contents (with some elbow grease) until mixture is emulsified. (You can save whatever is left over in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.)
  3. Toss salad with dressing and let rest in fridge for 1-2 hours. This will allow the kale to soak up all the flavor from the vinaigrette and become a little softer and less chewy.
  4. When you are ready to serve, top with goat cheese crumbles, if desired.