Kale Salad with Avocado Balsamic Dressing, Cherries and Sweet and Spicy Pecans

If you know anything about me then you know that I absolutely hate salad and kale. So, for me to be sharing a recipe that combines the two means that it’s a damn good salad. What makes it so good? The creamy avocado dressing cuts down on the intensity of the kale and the spicy pecans are quite addicting.


Difficulty level: Wicked easy
Total time: 45 minutes (15 minutes active time)
Serves: 4 - 6

You’ll need:
1 bunch or 3 – 4 cups Kale, stems and ribs removed and roughly chopped
¾ cup cherries, pitted and halved (frozen is fine here as long as you let them come to room temp first)
1 cup spicy pecans (recipe follows)

For the Dressing:
1 avocado
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
1-3 tablespoons water as needed

For the pecans:
1 cup raw pecans, whole or halved
1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Let’s do it!

  • Start by roasting your pecans. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl then toss the pecans in the bowl to coat evenly. Bake on a parchment paper lined baking sheet at 350 for 8-12 minutes, flipping the nuts halfway through. Keep a very close eye on them and when they start to smell roasted, remove from oven as they can go from roasted to burnt in a matter of seconds. Allow to cool before using in salad (you can flash chill them in the fridge or freezer to speed up the process)

  • make the dressing, blend up all ingredients except the water. The mixture might be quite thick, so add the water tablespoon by tablespoon until it gets to the consistency of a creamy Caesar dressing.

  • Place chopped kale in a large salad bowl and drizzle a small amount of olive oil over it (about a teaspoon). Massage the oil into the kale leaves briefly, attempting to get most of the leaves covered. Massaging the kale helps to break down the tough exterior and make it more edible.

  • Add the dressing to the massaged Kale, tossing to evenly distribute. I let my salad rest in the fridge once dressed for about 30 minutes before serving. Top with the cherries and pecans to serve.

Amy LarsonComment