Cathy Walthers is the author of several healthy eating cookbooks, including Raising the Salad Bar. Her latest, Kale, Glorious Kale (those names!) serves as a tribute to the popular farmers market staple. While braised kale might be the most-common move, salad is a pretty close second. This recipe struck us for its simplicity, and maple-forward balsamic vinaigrette. Here, Walthers gives us her take:
This salad works best with the tender baby kale, now available at many farmers markets and in supermarkets labeled as “baby kale” — usually in the clear plastic boxes. Use juicy orange slices instead of apples in the winter for a variation, or omit the apples when making in the spring or summer.
- 4 cups baby kale, stemmed, washed and dried
- 8 pitted dried dates (try to find soft, not dried-out dates)
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 crisp red apple (organic if possible, as it won't be peeled)
- 1 wedge lemon
- 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
- 1/2 cup Feta cheese, crumbled
- 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or other sweetener
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Place the baby kale in a wide serving bowl or platter.
- Cut the dates, lengthwise, into very thin strips, and place in a small separate bowl.
- Peel the celery and cut in half lengthwise.
- With your knife at a diagonal angle, cut very thin, 1 to 2-inch pieces of celery. Add to the dates.
- Slice the sides off the apple and cut those pieces into very thin slices.
- Squeeze lemon juice over the apple slices, to keep them from browning.
- Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, maple syrup and olive oil.
- Season with two pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
- Just before serving, pour most of the dressing over the salad and toss to combine; pour the rest over the celery and dates.
- Top with the date mixture, apple slices, walnuts and feta cheese.
Cook’s Note: Some feta cheese has little flavor, surprisingly. But the French sheep’s milk feta is usually flavorful, as is the Greek feta that is a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk.
Find more kale salads on Food Republic: