More POWER to you. Kale may be one of those greens that you love to hate; or, you are definitely on board with it. Either way, I’ll bet you’re going to enjoy this Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette found on FineCooking.com. At the very least, you’ll feel a tad healthier after consuming all of the good-for-you ingredients.
Our dinner guest that evening, step-daughter Julia, was not even a fruit fan, especially cranberries, but she adored the dressing. And while the cranberries get chopped up in a food processor, admittedly any of the larger chunks she pushed aside. But she surprised even herself with finishing her portion.
Speaking of cranberries, the supermarket was out of fresh, so I bought a packet of organic frozen (without sugar), and let them thaw about 30 minutes before chopping in the food processor. Cranberries are considered to be a superfood due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content.
In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard, research has linked the nutrients in cranberries to a lower risk of urinary tract infections, the prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure. Who’s not on board now?
The homemade vinaigrette softens the raw kale leaves, so it’s essential to let this salad sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. The longer it sits, the more tender the kale will become. (Ours was coated with dressing for an hour before eating.) We often find curly kale to be tough and bitter, so we usually substitute the lacinato variety, as we did here.
Without any cranberry juice on hand, and with only needing 1 tablespoon, I wasn’t about to run out to the store, so instead, I substituted 1 tablespoon of orange juice. Plus, after cutting down the orange sections, I put them in a small bowl until ready to assemble the salad. The accumulate juices added another component of flavor.
To make a full meal of it, add shredded rotisserie chicken, or nuts such as almonds or walnuts to keep it vegetarian.
Kale Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) cranberries
- 1 large navel orange
- 2 Tbs. red wine vinegar
- 1 Tbs. cranberry (or orange) juice
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp. peeled fresh ginger, finely grated on the small holes of a box grater
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 5 oz. lacinato (dinosaur) kale leaves, trimmed and coarsely chopped, or baby kale (5 cups)
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the ends of the orange to expose a circle of flesh. Stand the orange on an end and pare off the peel and pith in strips. Quarter the orange lengthwise; slice each quarter crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick pieces.
- Pulse the cranberries in a mini or regular food processor until finely chopped, about fifteen 1-second pulses. Set aside.
- Whisk together the vinegar, cranberry (or orange) juice, and honey in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Whisk in the ginger and chopped cranberries and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Toss the kale and the orange pieces, with their juices, in the dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes to 1 hour before serving.
Adapted from a recipe by Maryellen Driscoll of Fine Cooking
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