Crisp greens, salty blue cheese and sweet pomegranate, crunchy brown bread croutons and the balance of tangy cider-maple vinaigrette. Winter Kale Salad with Pomegranate and Blue Cheese is bringing all the best things about winter produce into the lime light in the freshest way possible.
So. Many. Good. Things.
Both in this salad and during the winter season. Well, ok, I guess it’s not technically winter yet but Thanksgiving has come and gone and we’re in the thick of the holiday season. To me, that says cozy things, comfort food, holiday treats, cocktails and cold weather.
When it’s cold out do you ever have a hard time finding cravings for cold food? In the winter we usually gorge on hidden veggie soups and easy instant pot go tos. But then I finally sit down to a salad and I’m like, “where have you been all month?!”
Is that you too? It doesn’t have to be, you can still enjoy this super tasty winter salad. I’m just asking for the sake of solidarity.
Why you should be making winter kale salad
Can you already hear the kale haters out there groaning? Ugh. We’re just some people that love kale ok? Let us live.
You can always substitute kale for other lettuces or spinach, but I love this type of kale because it’s a little softer and more lettuce-like than regular curly kale. Sometimes it’s called Tuscan Kale, Lacinato Kale or Dino Kale. The leaves look more like a dark green version of romaine if you pulled all the leaves off the root.
In the chaos of pre-Thanksgiving gatherings, I brought this for lunch to my mom and dads to watch it disappear before my eyes. Then at the request of my sister, made the same salad for Thanksgiving two days later. It’s nice when something tasty is also real easy to make, huh?
Here’s why this bowl of green winter goodness is a winner:
not as ‘tough’ as curly kale
holds up to dressing really well for a long time without wilting
stems aren’t as bitter
cut first, then wash and dry to soften the leaf
currently in season, so you’ll get the juiciest, sweetest seeds
bring both sweet and acid to this winter kale salad
have a snap and crunch texture
and c’mon, they’re pretty
use a block blue cheese for creamier texture
salty flavor balances the acid and sweet from the pomegranate
the natural fat from the cheese helps to balance flavors and to help make it feel like a more filling dish
if you don’t like blue cheese, a rich goat cheese would be a good substitution
olive oil and salt add simple flavor and seasoning
crunchy bread texture
Maple Apple Cider Vinaigrette
this will never not be my favorite fall/winter salad dressing
not too sweet, slightly acidic, and the right amount of salt and pepper
minced garlic and dijon mustard balance the sweet of the maple and apple
shakes up quick in a mason jar
If you’re looking to make this into a meal rather than a starter or side salad, I’d recommend grilling or broiling up some steak to go with it. A flank steak would be perfect and simple to sear on a cast iron or under the broiler with simple salt and pepper, then slice it thin. Grilled chicken or a quick seared ahi tuna steak would do you good, too.
Or just maybe eat it out of the serving bowl because you just can’t help yourself…
Winter Kale Salad loaded with crisp and light tuscan kale, sweet pomegranate, creamy blue cheese, and brown bread croutons tossed in a well-balanced maple apple cider vinaigrette.
6 cups (1 head) tuscan or lacinato kale, chopped
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
4 ounces blue cheese block, cut in thin slices so it crumbles
4 cups brown bread croutons
maple apple cider vinaigrette
Brown Bread Croutons
1 small loaf or 4 cups sweet brown bread, cut in cubes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Maple Apple Cider Vinaigrette
1/4 cup apple cider vinaigrette
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons apple cider
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
optional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Make the croutons: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut or tear the brown bread into bite sized pieces. Toss with olive oil and spread into an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes until crispy.
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. Set aside.
Assemble the salad: Remove the bottom 1/4 to 1/3 of the kale leaves. Chop the kale in 1/2-inch to 1-inch strips, wash and dry. In a large bowl, toss the kale and croutons with 3/4 of the salad dressing. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with pomegranate seeds and blue cheese.
The kale holds up great to the dressing and can sit dressed for a while. If making ahead with the dressing, wait to add the croutons until serving.
When shopping for brown bread, I use the Cheesecake Factory loaves they sell in the grocery store or you can make your own brown bread with this recipe.
Keywords: winter salad, kale salad, salads for entertaining, tuscan kale, winter salad with blue cheese
This looks wonderful! This looks like a wonderful winter treat for lunch. I love how you incorporated pomegranates!
Hi, I'm Lauren and this is my slice of the internet to share seasonally inspired recipes. I live in the heart of New England with my husband Henry, our two kiddos, English bulldog and our two local restaurants. Life is busy AND delicious!