Oh, Holiday Chopped Kale Salad, how I love thee! Too much? Probably, but this salad has been one of my favorite holiday cooking discoveries. I tested it a couple of times before our annual holiday bash, and happily ate it for days. At the party I had to refill the serving dish three times! Even people who profess to not like kale have eaten this salad and admitted that they liked it. Give this Holiday Chopped Kale Salad a chance this season.
The beauty of this salad is obvious visually. It’s a stunning combo of frilly dark greens and shreds of bright red cabbage, sprinkles of salty, white feta and dots of deep red from the pomegranate arils. The dried cranberries provide a nice textural contrast and a little tartness, and candied pecans add some crunch and a shot of sweetness. Dressed with an easy pomegranate and balsamic vinegar-based dressing, there’s just a lot to love about this salad.
I really like chopped salads because every bite delivers a little taste of every ingredient—there’s no sad pile of “toppings” left at the bottom of the bowl once the greens have been consumed. I also like that the dressing is evenly distributed throughout, so there are no drenched greens or undressed veggies.
In general, kale-based chopped salads (as opposed to regular lettuce salads) tend to keep nicely for a couple of days—even when they’re already dressed. The salad mixture lasts even longer if you leave the dressing off until you want to serve it. Having a bag of this salad around has allowed my family to have a healthy salad with our dinners so quickly this season. It’s a very handy thing this time of year when my mind is crammed with holiday to-do lists and I just want something tasty and wholesome to appear on my plate at dinnertime. We’ve topped this salad with cooked chicken and also served it alongside leftovers from our annual holiday bash. Every time we sit down to this salad my husband and I actually remark about how good it is—and how nice it is to have it at-the-ready.
Ok, that’s enough intro, here’s the recipe. Keep in mind that a little time for prepping the kale is required (don’t buy the chopped kale in a bag unless you enjoy eating the stems—I don’t). Other than that, it’s pretty quick to put together.
- 1 large bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped
- 1/2 small head red cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 small bulb fennel, finely chopped
- 1/2 small red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2/3 cup crumbled feta
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1/2 cup candied pecans here's our recipe
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries (I used the reduced-sugar version)
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- In a large bowl, combine chopped kale, red cabbage, chopped fennel, and red onion; toss together and set aside.
- Prepare the dressing: in a measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the Dijon, salt and pepper. Add the oil and whisk again, then slowly whisk in the pomegranate juice and then the balsamic vinegar.
- Pour half the dressing over the vegetables and toss gently—reserve remaining dressing for another use.
- Add the remaining ingredients (feta, candied pecans, pomegranate arils and dried cranberries) and toss again. If you like, add a little more dressing to the salad.
Prep-Ahead Note: This salad keeps nicely in the refrigerator—in fact, some think the dressed salad actually tastes better after the vegetables have had time to mingle with the dressing (and by the way, if you have leftovers, they are delicious the next day). So, if you'd like to prepare it ahead of time, we'd suggest tossing the vegetables with the dressing and then refrigerating for up to 4 hours. When it's time to serve, toss the dressed greens with the feta, candied pecans, pomegranate arils and cranberries.