Dinner Tonight: Kale Salad with Cranberry Dressing

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kaleThis coming weekend is always a little bittersweet. Here in Canada, our family celebrates Thanksgiving, but we also close down our cottage for the winter every year at this time. For us, this is the true marker of summer end, and the beginning of cold weather.

But it is also usually the nicest weekend to be at our cottage. Crisp cool mornings, beautifully colored leaves, no bugs, and the best part… Thanksgiving dinner!

We have a rustic, yet fairly traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey, stuffing, potatoes, corn, and this year, kale salad with cranberry dressing. I had this at a friend’s house the other night – it was delicious and the perfect complement to a traditional meal.

Kale is a winter collard and at only 36 calories per cup, it provides a boat-load of nutritional goodness. Every serving of kale provides:

  • Over 10% of our RDA for calcium and copper
  • 25% manganese
  • 88% vitamin C
  • 192% beta carotene
  • A whopping 1,325% vitamin K (required for blood clotting)

It also offers good levels of B vitamins, vitamin E, potassium, tryptophan, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, and carotenoids such as lutein, that contribute to eye health.

Combined with cranberries, which are also nutrient-rich and packed full of disease-fighting antioxidants, this salad is not only super healthy, but also super delicious.

Kale Salad

  • 6 cups of kale (take off stems and tear into small bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

Dressing

  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all dressing ingredients, except olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Transfer mixture to a mini food processor or blender and add olive oil. Pulse to combine, leaving dressing slightly chunky for texture. Cool completely.

To prepare salad, in a large bowl, gently squeeze the torn kale leaves (this breaks down the fibers, making it easier to eat). Mix in chopped pecans. Toss with 1/2 cup of dressing (or more to taste).

Enjoy!

Photo from here, with thanks.

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October 2014
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