Welly well well, I can officially file this salad under “Things I’m Currently Obsessed With”. I am not a huge salad fan, as I tend to get into salad-ruts and make the same thing for a few weeks straight. I’d much rather post paleo chicken pot pies and desserts every day.
BUUUUT, we went apple picking this weekend and also picked a bunch of fresh spinach, kale, swiss chard, broccoli, and beets… and pumpkins! FUN! (My idea of fun: Picking a bunch of veggies that spoil faster than usual and quickly having to develop 8 recipes with those ingredients… what can I say, I’m a masochist.)
When we get home, I decide to begin writing my recipe plans for each & every freshly plucked leaf, floret, fruit, and root. I had recently told my mom while eating at my parent’s house, that I would never turn down a salad with bacon (or in this case, pancetta). It lends a savory and smoky flavor that you just can’t achieve any other way. After remembering that conversation, I knew what needed to be done. I had a bunch of kale, a BUNCH of apples, and frozen cubed pancetta. Of course, a hearty leaf like kale is just begging for a crunchy element and a salad with apples just wouldn’t be complete without candied pecans. #candiedpecansalldayeveryday
While the old me would’ve protested the mere name of this salad, the new & improved me REJOICES at the name. I used to be able to eat an entire meal consisting of cheese & cured meats (I still could) and be totally content with my body shutting dow via overexercised sweat glands, swollen chins, bloated belly, and subsequent collapsing-of-body. (okay, I wasn’t THAT gross, I just wouldn’t have eaten a kale salad.) The new me is all about that kale, and the end result is a sweet, salty, smoky, tangy, perfectly balanced salad. Delicious.
- 6 cups lightly packed torn kale leaves, washed & dried
- 2 apples, cut into matchsticks & tossed in 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 12 oz. cubed pancetta, cooked until crisp & drained on paper towels
- 1 cup pecans
- 3 tbsp maple (or coconut) sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp butter
- Pinch of sea salt
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tsp poppyseeds (opt)
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp each garlic & onion powder (opt)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare parchment lined baking sheet & two spatulas.
- Melt 1 tbsp butter over med heat. Whisk in maple sugar & honey until bubbling & thickened/caramelized - about 2-3 mins max. Immediately add pecans and whisk until evenly coated.
- Immediately pour caramelized pecans onto parchment tray and individually separate each pecan using two spatulas. Sprinkle & toss with sea salt.
- Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.
- Add torn kale leaves to large bowl. Top with apples & pancetta, then, pour dressing over top. Gently toss and sprinkle candied pecans over top.