Crunchy chopped kale tossed with sweet and tangy maple apple vinaigrette and layered with toasted sourdough croutons, roasted squash, sweet pears, and creamy cheddar cheese. Pear and cheddar kale salad is a great stand-alone salad, pair it with roasted chicken, or serve it before dinner!
Anyone else in desperate need of some greens this time of year? Not that I regret eating the cookies one bit, but you know, life is all about balance.
This pear and cheddar kale salad is bringing the crunchy greens, sweet and soft pears, tangy cheddar, and hearty roasted squash to your plate! It's a little bit of everything in a bowl, I love it so much!
Plus, that maple apple cider vinaigrette?! UGH, SO GOOD! If I had to pick one dressing to eat for the rest of my life, that's the one.
TIPS FOR DELICIOUS KALE SALAD
Kale can get a bad wrap if it's not prepped right, so here are my favorite tips for making kale softer and tastier:
- remove the thick part of the stem - this part is bitter and tough and doesn't belong in your salad!
- keep the cut small - bite-sized or thinly sliced makes the greens easier to eat
- wash the greens in cold water after cutting- there's a chemical reaction that happens with the cells in the leaves and the water that helps break down the leaves to make them softer to chew
- coat the leaves with dressing by hand before adding toppings
When it comes to kale salad, I love how long the salads keep without wilting - even with dressing! This pomegranate and blue cheese salad is my go-to lunch when pomegranates are in season and it's so nice to just keep it in the fridge for a few meals!
HOW LONG WILL MASSAGE KALE KEEP?
You've got about 3 days until it gets too soggy to be enjoyable. Store it in the fridge in an airtight container.
FAVORITE WAYS TO DRESS UP A SALAD
The best part of a salad is making it a melting pot of flavors and textures! Here are some ideas for building a fun salad:
- mix in some baby lettuces for softer textured greens
- add nuts, pepitas, or hemp seeds for extra crunch and protein
- pair savory and sweet elements
- switch of warm croutons versus cooled croutons for a change
Ready to get your green on? Me too!
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a rating and a comment below and let us know!
Pear and Cheddar Kale Salad
- 1 head Tuscan kale (stems removed and thinly sliced)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 slices sourdough bread (hand torn or cut in bite sized pieces)
- 1 delicata squash (thinly sliced)
- 1 pear (thinly sliced)
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar (grated)
- salt and pepper
MAPLE APPLE CIDER VINAIGRETTE
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 clove garlic (finely minced)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until fork tender and slightly caramelized on the edges.
- Make the croutons. Cut or hand tear the bread into bite-sized cubes. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake at 400°F for 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool.
- Make the dressing. In a bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, apple cider, dijon, garlic, salt, and pepper. Slowly pour in olive oil while whisking quickly. Alternatively: Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, cover tightly, and shake vigorously until blended.
- Build the salad. Toss the kale with dressing until coated, lightly massaging the dressing into the leaves. Sprinkle grated cheddar over the greens. Top with thinly sliced pear, croutons, and roasted squash.
- If making this in advance, save the pear slicing until you're ready to serve.