Sometimes the simplest recipes are the most delicious. Using fresh, high quality ingredients and combining a few complementing components, oftentimes results in a dish with a wow factor you just didn’t see coming. Such was the case with this salad I made for a dinner party last weekend.
A group of friends came over on a gorgeous fall evening—they brought the wine, fabulous reds and a white that paired perfectly with our various courses. And unbeknownst to them, they were my guinea pigs for a couple of recipes I wanted try out as possibilities for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
This fun Roasted Onion Dip (served in hollowed out onions) from a recent issue of Food & Wine Magazine I knew would be good because my parents were the testers for a small batch made when they were here earlier that week and we all agreed it was a definite winner.
Our entrées off the grill were simple tried and true basics, but the salad and dessert were first timers in my kitchen. The dessert, a vegan fall fruit crisp, was a bit of a disappointment and I wouldn’t make it again, but the salad was another story. Everyone loved it and I think this is the first time I haven’t had at least a little bit remaining in the big salad bowl when everyone was done eating. You know how it goes, you pack the leftovers in a container, pop it in the fridge, and there it sits until you throw it away a week later because no one EVER eats left over already-dressed salad.
After enjoying a mostly great dinner, we talked and laughed by a blazing bonfire Pete made down by the pond. What an incredible night! The dearest of friends, great food & drink, and a toasty fire under a clear, star-filled autumn sky. Ah, life is good!
I followed the recipe exactly for the dinner party and when I made it again tonight, I added some cooked black lentils left over from the Roasted Onion Dip (they make a perfect vegan substitute for the caviar suggested in the recipe). The lentils provide additional protein making this a complete meal salad. Enjoy!
Kale Salad with Cranberries and Cashews
1 good-size bunch kale, washed and dried
Olive oil or other healthy vegetable oil, as needed
⅔ cup dried cranberries
½ cup crushed toasted cashews
½ cup vegan mayonnaise (Earth Balance Mindful Mayo is delicious)
1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice, to taste
Strip the kale leaves off the stems. Cut into ribbons and place in a large bowl. With a little olive oil rubbed into your palms, massage the kale for a minute or so, until it becomes bright green and softens a bit.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve at room temperature. Serves 6-8.