There’s no doubt kale salads are healthy and full of nutrition, but kale can be a little tough when it’s raw, which can make chewing through a whole kale salad a bit tiring, right?  What if I said you could make fresh raw kale super tender and easy to eat with one simple step? I’ve started doing this and it’s taken my kale salads from mediocre to incredible.

Before I share the secret to a delightfully tender kale salad, I want to do a quick refresher on why kale is so healthful. It’s super low in calories, as are most greens, but it’s high in Vitamins A, C, and K, which can help protect the eyes and bones and lower the risk for cancer and heart disease. Plus, it’s high in fiber, with a whopping 5 grams per cup of raw kale. That’s 1/5th of the recommended amount for an adult! One simple salad can do all of that, and I haven’t even talked about the other super-nutritious ingredients this salad includes (such as apples, dried cranberries, and pecans!).

Did I mention this salad is really beautiful and delicious? I took it to a ladies night about a month ago, and, I’m not kidding, it was gone before any one of the desserts! That is certainly saying something!

Kale gets the royal treatment in this massaged Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans. It's loaded with nutrition and delicious too!

With the holidays coming up, wouldn’t this salad be a pretty addition to your Thanksgiving feast or fancy Christmas dinner? People will love it, they will feel good eating it, and it won’t take you a lot of time to prepare. That’s my kind of salad!

Now to the little secret for making the kale super tender. After washing and drying the kale, you simply drizzle the leaves with a little olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Then, gently massage the leaves with your fingers until the kale looks wilted. It will shrink in size and get a smidge darker, but the results will make you love this salad even more. You can then serve it right away, or let it sit for a few hours before tossing together the salad. It’s that easy…and quick!

Kale gets the royal treatment in this massaged Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans. It's loaded with nutrition and delicious too!

Two final words on this Hand-Wilted Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans (that my husband and I polished off in one sitting, by the way…it really serves 4!). There’s no oil in the dressing, which is on purpose because the kale is already dressed with oil in the massaging step. Also, most of the components can be made several hours or even days in advance, which will make it even easier to include in your holiday food spread. Bonus!

Hand-Wilted Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans How To Photos:

Start by pickling some onions…it’s easier than it may seem!

Kale gets the royal treatment in this massaged Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans. It's loaded with nutrition and delicious too!

Next toast some pecans until they are very lightly browned.

Kale gets the royal treatment in this massaged Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans. It's loaded with nutrition and delicious too!

Add a little honey, coconut oil, and salt.

Kale gets the royal treatment in this massaged Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans. It's loaded with nutrition and delicious too!

Bake a bit more to get them well coated and nicely toasted.

Kale gets the royal treatment in this massaged Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans. It's loaded with nutrition and delicious too!

Use fresh raw kale. In the Fall, it’s typically nice and tender anyway, but the hand wilting step makes it even more so!

Kale gets the royal treatment in this massaged Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans. It's loaded with nutrition and delicious too!

Start with 6 cups torn raw kale – make sure to remove the tough stems.

Beautiful and flavorful, this Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans makes a perfect addition to any holiday meal.

Drizzle the kale with some olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt.

Beautiful and flavorful, this Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans makes a perfect addition to any holiday meal.

Gently massage the kale with clean hands. It will shrink down and get a bit darker.

Beautiful and flavorful, this Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans makes a perfect addition to any holiday meal.

Assemble the salad with you’re ready to eat. It’s that simple!

Beautiful and flavorful, this Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans makes a perfect addition to any holiday meal.

This kale apple salad complements most any meal really well! It’s especially festive for the holiday season!

Beautiful and flavorful, this Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans makes a perfect addition to any holiday meal.

 

Hand-Wilted Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans
Serves 4
Kale gets the royal treatment in this massaged Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans. It’s loaded with nutrition and delicious too!
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Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
7 min
Prep Time
25 min
Cook Time
7 min
Ingredients
Pickled Onions
  1. ¼ cup quartered and thinly sliced onion
  2. 1/8 teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
  3. Cider vinegar
Honey-Roasted Pecans (makes about 1 cup; use ¼ cup in the salad)
  1. 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  2. 1 tablespoon honey
  3. 1 teaspoon refined coconut oil
  4. ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
Salad
  1. 6 cups torn fresh kale leaves (tough stems removed)
  2. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  3. ¼ teaspoon coarse kosher or sea salt
  4. 1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
  5. ¼ cup dried cranberries
Dressing
  1. 1 tablespoon vinegar drained from the Pickled Onions
  2. 2 teaspoons honey
  3. 1 teaspoon coarsely ground mustard
Directions
Pickled Onions
  1. In a small bowl combine sliced onion and salt. Add enough vinegar to almost cover the onions. Toss to coat with a fork. Press onions into vinegar as much as possible. Cover and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or chill for up to 1 week.
Honey-Roasted Pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Arrange pecans on prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 4 to 6 minutes or until very lightly browned. Drizzle with honey. Add coconut oil in a couple mounds. Sprinkle with salt. Bake 1 minute more. Stir pecans to coat well. Bake about 2 minutes more or until nuts are toasted. Stir again. Cool on pan on a wire rack. The salad only uses ¼ cup of the pecans. Store the rest in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 weeks.
Salad and Dressing
  1. In a large bowl drizzle kale with oil and sprinkle with salt. Using clean hands, massage the kale gently with your fingers until it darkens slightly and shrinks in size. Make sure to massage all the kale leaves evenly. You can continue with the recipe or cover and chill the kale at this point for up to 4 hours.
  2. To assemble salad, drain the Pickled Onions, reserving the vinegar. For Dressing, in a small bowl whisk together 1 tablespoon of the drained vinegar, 2 teaspoons honey, and 1 teaspoon mustard. Save the remaining drained vinegar for making salad dressing another day.
  3. Add the drained onions to the wilted kale. Top with apple and cranberries. Drizzle with the dressing. Toss to coat. Transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with ¼ cup of the pecans.
Tips
  1. Turn this into a main dish salad by adding some sliced cooked chicken or turkey!
Yield
  1. 4 cups total salad
Nutrition Information (per serving for 4 side dish servings)
  1. 229 cals, 5 g pro, 27 g carb, 13 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 2 g sat fat, 6 g fiber, 324 mg sodium
Fresh Food Bites https://www.freshfoodbites.com/

This Hand-Wilted Kale Apple Salad with Honey-Roasted Pecans is fancy, flavorful and full of good nutrition. While it makes a perfect addition to any holiday feast or dinner party, it's quick enough to toss together for a casual weeknight meal. Hand-wilting the kale makes it more tender and doesn't take long to do.

 

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