crisp sweet apple, grassy greens, toasty pepitas, and sweet, herbaceous dressing: it’s a mouthful of Fall on the freshest spectrum. i suspect that our tongues treasure delicacy and light even in the glorious midst of pumpkin spiced everythings. kale salad is my offering.
there’s no roasting here, no heavy spices — just freshness, in season, with a hint of earthen sweetness. sunflower seed cheese (have you seen enough yet?) lends a welcome tang and subtle richness in contrast to the leafy kale, but goat cheese or walnuts make beautiful alternatives, if you have better access to them. there’s room to play with this recipe — room to make this recipe your own. and i’m all about some of that.
p.s.: i have an idea in the works that i hope to share with you over the weekend! until then, i hope we can taste all the colors the season offers us. here’s to an autumn enlivened.???
- 3 tablespoons pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- 1 small bunch of kale, gently torn into pieces
- ¼ small sweet onion, sliced thinly
- ½ small apple (i like honeycrisp), cored and sliced thinly
- crumbled sunflower seed cheese or goat cheese to top
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, or neutral oil like sunflower, if preferred
- 1-2 teaspoons honey, depending on preference
- ⅛ tsp ground sage, or more to taste (or a teaspoon of fresh, finely chopped leaves)
- 1 small pinch chopped rosemary, fresh or dried, optional (i used rosemary sea salt)
- sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
- place the pepitas in a small skillet over low heat. let them warm while you prepare the vinaigrette, giving them a shake or a stir every minute or so, until they turn golden.
- whisk vinaigrette ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup. taste and adjust honey/salt/herbs to your liking.
- if using mature kale, place the torn leaves in a large bowl with a small dab of oil and rub the leaves until they soften and begin to shine. if using tender baby kale, feel free to skip that step (or massage very gently--the young leaves are delicate).
- assemble salads on plates starting with kale, then onion, apple slices, crumbed cheese, and toasted pepitas. drizzle with vinaigrette and add a few grinds of black pepper on top, if you'd like.