This Warm Kale Salad is loaded with bacon, crispy shallots, red peppers and a honey dijon vinaigrette! This salad is nutritious, delicious & perfect for kale newbies or kale lovers alike!
This post was originally published in November 2014. I took new photos, tweaked the recipe slightly and updated the post below to include more information about this Healthy Warm Kale Salad recipe!
Hi, friends! Are you ready for the final post of the No Spoon Necessary Thanksgiving series?
And, to jump on the kale bandwagon?
I know I am – to both of the above!
Developing the recipes, cooking and photographing for this holiday series has been exciting, rewarding and delicious, but truth be told, I’m little bit exhausted. And, definitely gobble-gobble’ed out.
For those of you just joining in the fun filled, holiday shenanigans, you can use the search bar at the top of this page to search “holiday” and get the printable recipes for everything you have missed!
Whether you are just now joining in on the holiday food filled fun, or have been here since the beginning, today’s salad is a must make! And, it’s the perfect addition to your holiday table!
Now, if you are thinking, but I don’t need (or want) any more food on my holiday table, that is just fine!!
Be sure to save this recipe and make it after the holidays! Because, this warm kale salad is the perfect way to detox your body from all the stuffing, cheese, wine, gravy (and only lord knows what else) you have stuffed into your belly!
Warm Kale Salad with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette
Now now, before you run away at reading the word ‘kale’, let me describe the way this salad tastes. Because, this warm kale salad will most definitely make you look at kale in a novel, delicious light!
This salad is well rounded, warm, inviting, colorful and topped with lots of yummy in your tummy goodies.
Basically, this nutritious salad is jam packed with deliciousness, which makes it perfect for the kale newbie or vet alike!
Loaded with crisp, salty bacon, smoky, sweet roasted red peppers, crispy fried shallots, crunchy, nutty walnuts, sharp, freshly shredded parmesan and finished with a sweet, tart, smooth honey dijon vinaigrette this salad is an explosion of flavor!
What is kale salad?
What kale is best for salads?
- Dinosaur Kale (also known as Lacinato, Tuscan or Black Kale). With flat, tender leaves and a very mild flavor, dinosaur kale is perfect for both raw and warm salads!
- Baby Kale. Similar to spinach with leafy greens, but a more peppery flavor, baby kale requires zero preparation and is fantastic in salads!
- Red Kale. With a sweet flavor and thick leaves, this heirloom variety of kale is delicious in salads!
- Curly Kale. With thick, peppery leaves, curly kale needs to be cooked to be palatable. While you shouldn’t use curly kale in raw salads, it is a good option in this warm kale salad, or it’s perfect for soups and stews!
Is kale salad healthy? Is kale good for you?
How to make kale salad tender and soft?
- Always remove the coarse center stems from raw kale.
- Sprinkle kale leaves with salt and massage the salt into the leaves. Massaging the kale will essentially wilt and tenderize them.
- Quickly sauté the kale in a skillet over medium heat until the leaves are deep green in color and not quite wilted. (This method is used in this warm kale salad)
- Steam or boil the kale leaven until softened.
How to make kale salad taste less bitter?
- Quickly blanch, steam, boil, braise or quickly sauté the kale leaves. Cooking the kale leaves slightly helps remove some of the bitterness.
- Counterbalance the bitterness by adding sweet or spicy ingredients. Adding strong, contrasting but complimentary flavors to kale helps balance out the bitterness.
- Add an acid such as citrus juice or vinegar. Not only will acids help brighten up the bitterness of kale, it will also provide a delicious contrast in flavor!
- Add salt. While salt is a flavor enhancer for all foods, it also serves to slightly tame the bitterness of kale.
How to cut kale for salad?
The first thing you want to do when preparing kale for salad is to remove the coarse, tough center stem from the raw kale and discard.
Next, depending on the size and type of kale you selected, you should prep kale for salads by either chopping the leaves into bite sized pieces or thinly slice the leaves into ribbons before using.
So, whether you are in love with kale, just in like with kale, never had kale, or think you hate kale, I can promise you one thing: T salad will make you jump on the kale bandwagon and declare your love for the leafy green!!
With that said, go grab your sauté pan and whip together this super quick, easy, healthy and delicious warm kale salad with all the fixin’s!
UPDATE: I will be taking the rest of the year off to celebrate the holidays with my family. From my kitchen to yours, warm wishes for a wonderful holiday and a happy, healthy New Year! See you in 2019, friends!
How to make the best Warm Kale Salad at home👇
- 12 strips Bacon - diced
- 4 large Shallots – peeled, sliced into thin rings, and separated
- 3 Roasted Red Peppers – medium diced
- 2 large Cloves Garlic - minced
- 12 packed Cups Kale – washed, dried, stems removed & chopped
- ½ Cup Walnuts
- ½ Cup Parmesan Cheese – grated
- Salt and Pepper , to taste
- 4 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 ½ tsp Honey
- 2 TBS White Balsamic Vinegar (can substitute apple cider vinegar)
- ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- ½ tsp each: Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper , or more to taste
- Make the salad: Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the bacon. Cook to desired crispiness and transfer to a paper towel lined plate, reserving 3 tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the pan and discarding the rest*. Set the bacon aside.
- Turn heat up to medium high. Add the shallots to the skillet with the bacon drippings. Fry until golden in color, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the kale to the skillet and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sauté, tossing, until kale is warm and deep green in color, but not yet wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and roasted red peppers. Continue to sauté until fragrant, an additional 30 seconds to 1 minute. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Make the vinaigrette: whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl or place them in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake until well incorporated. Taste and adjust for seasoning.
- Assemble: Transfer the warm kale salad to serving plates or a salad serving bowl. Top with walnuts, bacon, crispy shallots and parmesan cheese. Serve with Honey-Dijon Vinaigrette.
Serves: 6 as a side salad; 3 as an entree
*I used prewashed, de-stemmed, bagged Kale. This can be found along with the other bagged lettuce in your produce isle. If you are using the heads of kale, you will need about 2 large bunches.
*I never discard my bacon drippings. I place mine in a container with a tight fitting lid and keep it stored in the refrigerator. Use it in place of butter or oil when sautéing for additional flavor.
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