This salad. Y’all. This salad is everything that is right with salads. It is the quintessential perfect fall salad. And no. I am not hyping this up too much. This apple kale salad with cranberry cinnamon vinaigrette is life.
It’s no secret that we are cinnamon-lovin’ family. I blame Lane. I always liked cinnamon, but he is obsessed. Anytime I make something that is supposed to have cinnamon in it, he thinks there should be more. So finally, I threw in the towel and combined his love for salads with his love for cinnamon and created this apple kale salad with cranberry cinnamon vinaigrette.
And I have to say, I think this time he might be on to something. I loved the warm spice with all the deliciousness of fall’s harvest. It was homey, comforting, with just a little bit of fancy from the pomegranate seeds.
So perfect 🍎
I’m not going to lie – the idea to use unsweetened cranberry juice instead of vinegar in the dressing might just be my most brilliant idea ever. I may have peaked. And I’m totally OK with that. It might be all downhill from here guys, but at least we will always have this salad to remember the good times.
Also, my idea to make super fast glazed pecans was
genius born out of necessity. I realized that I wanted the pecans on the salad to be glazed but by that point I was basically ready to photograph the thing. So, instead of glazing, baking, and waiting for them to cool I decided to cheat and do them super fast. It was so worth it.
Some recipe notes for this apple kale salad with cranberry cinnamon vinaigrette:
- Massage your kale. Just like exhausted moms who have been socially distancing with a toddler and a new born for 4 months 🤱🏻, kale can really benefit from a nice massage. Tear it up in to pieces, drizzle it with a teaspoon or so of EVOO, sprinkle with salt, and then get in there and massage it. You are basically just rubbing/squeezing the leaves until they become soft and silky smooth. This helps eliminate the bitterness.
- Make your honey glazed pecans a little ahead of time so they don’t totally wilt your salad (about 10 minutes before you plan to serve the salad is just fine).
- You can make this salad vegan by subbing in agave – we’ve done it with honey and agave and both are delicious.
Apple Kale Salad with Cranberry Cinnamon Vinaigrette
- 1 c pecans
- 1 T honey or agave
- 1 bunch kale washed and patted dry
- 1 t EVOO
- 1 t salt
- 1 head romaine washed and spun dry
- 1 apple diced
- 1 pear diced
- 1 pomegranate
- 1/4 c cojita cheese crumbled
Cranberry Cinnamon Vinaigrette
- 1/4 T EVOO
- 1/4 T sugar free cranberry juice
- 1/4 T honey or agave
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t ginger
- 1/2 t cinnamon
- In a medium saucepan, heat the honey or agave until smooth and runny over medium heat. Stir in the pecans and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Tear pieces of kale into a large bowl (slightly larger than bite-sized pieces). Drizzle with 1 t of EVOO and sprinkle with 1 t of salt. Massage kale leaves for about 1 minute, or until leaves are smooth and silky.
- Roughly chop up romaine and add to kale. Add in apple and pear. Gently quarter the pomegranate starting from the top and working down the outer skin with a pairing knife. Pull the pomegranate apart into four pieces and remove the seeds from the membrane. Add to the salad along with the cojita and pecans. Toss with dressing, serve and enjoy!
To Make the Cranberry Cinnamon Vinaigrette
- In a salad dressing jar combine the EVOO, cranberry juice, honey/agave, salt, ginger, and cinnamon. Shake vigorously to combine. Set aside or pour over salad.
- NOTE: To make this salad vegan, sub in agave for the honey and leave out the cheese!
So, I’ll be eating this for the rest of November 😋.
Share in the comments below: What is the best idea you have ever had? What is your favorite spice to cook with? What quick and easy hack have you come up with that totally works?
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