This refreshing summer kale salad is packed with seasonal superfoods and topped with creamy goat cheese and crunchy candied pecans.
Kale salads. How do you feel? I was a little suspicious back in the day, but if I give the kale a good massage and add a lot of different toppings, I can now get pretty excited about them. If you’re not into kale salads yet, let me see if I can sell you: we’re adding juicy peaches and blueberries, creamy goat cheese, and perfectly salty-sweet candied pecans. CANDIED PECANS! Sorry to shout, but they’re so good, and they’re super easy and quick to make on the stovetop in less than ten minutes. No fuss, no oven. And you may want to make a double batch, because it’s hard to stop snacking on them. I ate a lot of mine before the salad even got dressed!
In other news, I have a serious peach problem. Last summer, we got down to Chattanooga at the end of peach session, right after The Peach Truck had left town. I was so mad I had missed out. All year I waited and checked the schedule. And when they came to East Ridge a little over a week ago, I was there. I bought a 25-pound box of peaches and a one-pound bag of pecans.
Since then, it’s been all peaches all the time. In addition to eating an embarrassing number of them out of hand, juice dripping everywhere, I’ve made a peach dutch baby, peach margaritas (I shared the full recipe on Insta–they’re so good!), peach muffins, and peach ice cream.
I have a few more peaches stashed in the fridge, and finally got around to a savory application: this summer kale salad. It’s pretty much an all-local salad because the kale is from my Big Sycamore Farm CSA and the peaches and pecans are from Georgia (I live in TN but I’m just a few minutes from the GA border); I picked the blueberries this weekend up at my friend Lindsey‘s family’s place on Lookout Mountain, and they gave me this amazing goat cheese they made themselves with milk from their own goats. I’m pretty sure I live in the best, most delicious place on earth!
This summer kale salad is so easy and so fast, and you’ll feel a wonderfully healthy glow after eating it. Happy summer!
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon maple syrup
- ⅛ teaspoon bittersweet smoked paprika
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or white balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon stone ground mustard
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 cups lightly packed torn kale leaves (center stems removed)
- 1 ripe peach, sliced
- ½ cup blueberries
- 2 ounces crumbled chèvre
- To make the candied pecans, heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the pecan halves, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and a couple of pinches of sea salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the pecans are coated in a sticky glaze and no liquid remains in the pan, about 8 minutes. Transfer the pecans to a parchment-lined plate and spread them out in a single layer to cool.
- Mix all the dressing ingredients with a fork in a large bowl. Add the kale leaves, toss to coat them with the dressing, and massage them by hand until reduced in volume, darker green, and tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the kale to a platter or divide it between individual serving plates. Top with the peach slices, blueberries, crumbled goat cheese, and candied pecans.
I’ll take an extra side of the candied pecans!
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