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Kale and Pear Salad

Last weekend we hosted a dinner party with four new-ish friends.  I hope it will be the first of many... there was much laughter and wine and truly awesome food.  We cooked potluck style and while I loved all of the food, my favorite dish was a kale salad.  

Yes, that is right.  Kale salad.  Truthfully, had you asked me before that night if I even liked kale, I probably would have said "sure", but without much enthusiasm and mostly because I know that I should like kale.  After all, how excited can someone really be about greens?

Rob has cautioned me about raving too much about certain recipes, so instead I'll just tell you that in the week since I first had the kale salad, I have made it twice at home.  Once I made a double recipe and I ate it for lunch three times last week (and again at dinner).  When we finished the double batch, I went to Whole Foods for more kale so I could make it again.  I'm not raving, per se, just stating the quantities in which I am willing (and eager) to eat this salad.

What I love about this salad is threefold.  First, the kale stays crisp and crunchy for days unlike lettuce and most other salad greens.  The one item in this salad that doesn't hold up for days on end is the pears, which you might want to add each day if you don't plan to serve all of this salad the day you make it.  Second, the dressing is dynamite.  I am not a huge dressing person, but this is healthy and tangy and complements the kale and other ingredients.  This isn't a salad for serving the dressing on the side -- you need to toss the dressing with the salad and fully coat the kale.  Third, it just tastes great.

The original recipe called for persimmons instead of pears.  After trips to three separate upscale grocery stores that seemed likely to carry persimmons, I gave up and used pears.  I think they are delicious and clearly they are more readily accessible (at least in Denver).  If you have access to persimmons and give this salad a try, please let me know how they are.

Kale Salad with Pears
Adapted from this recipe on Food52
Yield = 6 appetizer servings

5-6 cups of shredded kale (approximately one head)
4 medium pears
1 cup chopped, roasted walnuts
1/2 cup crumbly blue cheese or gorgonzola
1 lemon, halved
1/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (I prefer a grainy Dijon)
salt + pepper to taste

Mix the kale with the juice of half a lemon and leave to marinate in the fridge for about an hour.  (You can omit this step if pressed for time, but it won’t be as good!)

Meanwhile, prep the dressing by whisking the olive oil into the yogurt.  Then, blend in the juice of the other lemon half, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and mustard.  Season to your liking with salt and pepper and set aside.

Crumble the cheese, slice the pears and chop the walnuts if this hasn’t been done.  Gently toss the pears and walnuts with the kale.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss.  Top the salad with the gorgonzola or blue cheese.  It’s possible that you may have a little dressing leftover, depending on how much kale you used. If so, refrigerate for future use. 

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Reader Comments (12)

Awesome. Thank you, Darcy, for showing me that one can eat kale without sauteing it for ages. I always eye it at the farmer's market, and inevitably pass it over because I just don't like cooked greens. I'm excited to try this recipe!

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Julie, let me know what you think if/when you make the salad. I, too, thought kale was only for sauteed greens cooked within an inch of their life. But seriously - this salad. Yum.

October 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

Made this tonight and you were absolutely right. I left out the walnuts 'cause I just don't like 'em, and it made no difference to the salad. Husband and I are both taking leftovers for lunch tomorrow. Yum. Does it make it less healthy that I served it alongside fried chicken? Don't judge me.

October 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

Yeah! So glad you liked it! And there is no judgment coming from me -- I love fried chicken!

October 26, 2011 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

I love kale. I need to try this dressing. Love the idea of using Greek yogurt!

October 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterali

Using Greek yogurt made me *feel* like the dressing was healthy. Whether this is true or not, I don't know... but I did like how it tasted!

October 28, 2011 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

This recipe was on another post of yours in the recent past and I tried it immediately. Talk about a delicious salad, we loved it and I repeated the recipe several times in a row. Shared your site and the recipe with several dinner companions. We loved the combination of flavours. Who knew that kale could be so delicious! Thanks


November 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Bachelor

Diana, I am so glad you liked this salad. When I tell people about it, they are very suspicious that a salad with raw kale could be good. Thanks for trying it and for your comment!

P.S. I am making more of this tonight! I finally located persimmons at the grocery store and can report that this is also quite good with persimmons.

November 19, 2011 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

Darcy, finally got around to making this and it was fabulous! My mom, aunt and i all devoured almost the enitre bowl in one sitting. Thank you for posting!

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJackie

Jackie, so glad you made this and even happier that you enjoyed it!

January 15, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

I was just doing a Google search for a kale and pear salad since I have those two things at home and your blog popped up - small world! I am definitely going to try this salad tonight. I too recently became a big fan of kale - we got a farm share this summer and all of a sudden I had lots of kale to cook with! Sending my best to you and Rob.

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Higgins

Julie, it IS a small world. I hope you and Rob and your new addition are doing well! I hope you love the salad - it is one of my favorites and I make it all the time.

October 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterDarcy Eden

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