Kale Salad with Cranberries & Cashews

Full meal salad
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.

Roasted Onion Dip

Roasted Onion Dip with Beluga Lentil Caviar

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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!

Salad with Black Lentils

Salad with Black Lentils

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Cashews

From New York Times Cooking
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.

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