Sweet & Salty Kale & Brussel Sprout Salad

Sweet & Salty Kale & Brussel Sprout Salad
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This post has been brought to you with the help of my friends at Whole Foods Market Portland. I have been compensated for my time and ingredients, but all thoughts are my own! A promise I will always keep. 

I've been talking a lot about winter salads lately. And for good reason, salads tend to be a bit harder to make in the winter than in the summer. In the summer, you can go to grocery stores, farmers markets, farm stands, CSA boxes, even your own garden and pick your next salad's ingredients at your whim. But in the winter, a lot of these options close down for the season, and it can be hard to find inspiration. Luckily for us, Whole Foods Market creates a monthly Flavors of the Season list to help keep us inspired with foods that are yummy and in-season each month, and readily available at their stores. This month we're looking at brussel sprouts and hearty leafy greens.

I found the 365 Brand shredded brussel sprouts in the produce section at Whole Foods Market Portland and was instantly inspired. What a great way to carve a few minutes off of prep time, and still get a high quality ingredient. The number one complaint I hear from my health coaching clients is how much prep time it takes to cook from scratch at home. This is an excellent corner to cut (there's a pun here, huh?). 

Another little trick I want to share with you is about kale. How many of you want to love this nutrient dense food, but just can't get passed the texture of raw kale? I've heard a lot of feedback on my Instagram that many of you get around that by adding raw kale to smoothies. And that's a great way to get it in daily, but how many cold smoothies can we possibly drink this winter? It's a cold one! So here it is, the best kept secret in the kale-lovers' arsenal; massaging raw kale. Yes, massage it. Add a tablespoon or two of extra virgin olive oil, salad dressing, or even avocado (thanks for that tip, Alexa!), to de-stemmed, cut, and washed kale. Massage for 3-5 minutes, or until a slight banana aroma is released and the kale softens. Taste along the way and continue to massage until you've reached your texture preference. My favorite kale to use is Lacinato (also referred to as dinosaur kale), as it tends to be a bit more tender. 

Brussel sprouts and kale are hearty foods, there's no doubt about that. So to balance it out, I decided a classic sweet and salty topping combination would be just the trick to keep this salad light and fun! But now that you have the two tips above, I encourage you to play with different toppings and use seasonal ingredients as you're inspired at the grocery store.

 So here it is, a super easy and very satisfying winter salad to add to your weekly rotation! 

Enjoy it, friends!!

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Sweet & Salty Winter Salad
Ingredients
  • 1 small bunch lacinato kale, destemmed, chopped and cleaned
  • 1/2 bag 365 Shredded Brussel Sprouts, blanched and shocked (how-to below)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 apple, sliced and submerged in a water and 1 tsp apple cider vinegar mixture to keep from browning
  • 1/4 cup Whole Foods Brand gorgonzola crumbles, or more to taste
  • 1/4 cup 365 Brand dried cranberries, or more to taste
  • 356 brand Balsamic vinaigrette
Instructions
Candied Pecans

1. Combine pecans, sugar, butter, cinnamon, and water in a non-stick pan. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5-10 minutes until sugar butter mixture thickens and pecans start to brown. Pour onto parchment paper to cool.
Salad

1. To blanch and shock the brussel sprouts, bring pot of water to a boil and add the brussel sprouts. Cook for 2-3 minutes until bright green. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Dry and set aside.
2. Put washed kale in a serving bowl and add a tablespoon of 365 Balsamic vinaigrette. Massage the kale gently for about 5 minutes, until kale is tender. 3. Add shredded brussels and evenly layer in candied pecans, apple (drained from vinegar mixture), gorgonzola, and cranberries. Lightly pour balsamic over salad to taste.

Enjoy!

Details
Total time: Yield: 1 family-style salad, serves 4