I used to think kale was just a pretty food decoration, and I couldn’t even fathom the idea of eating it. The summer before my senior year of college I worked in the deli at the local grocery store. Since grad party and company picnic season was in full swing, the meat and cheese platters were flying like hot cakes. My job as the humble, rookie deli worker was to grab the extra ingredients needed to assemble the platters. My manager handed me a list and off I went on a mission through the store to find pickles, mustard, mayo, red onions, iceberg lettuce, and…kale?! Excuse me? Feeling a bit sheepish, I returned with everything but “this kale stuff.” “You know the greens that we use to decorate the platters?” Oh yeahh. And that’s how I learned to see kale as an inedible garnish.
Imagine my shock 7 years later when I learned that people were baking kale and eating them like chips. Bahahahaha! Impossible. And that night I made and devoured my first batch of kale chips. Then, kale started to replace lettuce in salads and people were sautéing it like spinach, and adding it to soups and casseroles. And by the way, kale’s actually loaded with nutrients and super healthy!
So obviously I jumped on board. And here we are. This salad would make a really pretty Thanksgiving side dish or salad, thanks to the kale, obviously 🙂 But gosh, the flavors and textures make this Orange-Infused Kale and Brussels Sprout salad truly shine. It’s one of those bulky, textured, flavor explosion-type salads that make you want to sit down with a fork and the entire bowl and just go to town.
But refrain from doing that because you need to let everyone experience the delightful crunch of shredded kale and brussels sprouts that are tossed in a tangy and sweet orange vinaigrette dressing spiked with a pinch of warm cinnamon. I could stop there but, the salty feta, the pops of sweetness from the dried cranberries, and the toasted pecans, adding a final nutty crunch to the salad, are absolutely necessary too. All of that goodness in each and every bite.
Moral of the story: Gobble up that pretty kale!
- 1 pound of brussels sprouts (about 35-40 sprouts, depending on size)
- 4 cups of kale
- Zest of 1 orange
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ⅓ cup chopped and toasted pecans
- Juice of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ clove garlic
- 1 tablespoon chopped shallot or onion
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Place the Brussels sprouts in the food processor. Pulse about 15-20 times until the sprouts are finely shredded. Pour the shredded sprouts into a large salad bowl.
- Once the sprouts are shredded, add the kale to the food processor.Pulse 15-20 times until the kale is finely shredded. Add the shredded kale, cranberries, and feta cheese to the salad bowl.
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until the mixture reaches a smooth consistency. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine.
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 127 Fat: 7g Carb: 14.3g Fiber: 4g Protein: 4.6g Sugar 5.1g Sodium: 179mg