Kale Chicken Salad with Blueberries, Pecans and Goat Cheese
From the beginning of this website’s life, kale has really been Laura’s thing. I mean, I liked it well enough and understood its nutritional benefits but to be honest I was always a bit meh on actually putting in my grocery cart week to week. While Laura was putting it on pizzas, pureeing it into pestos and practically bathing in it on the regular I just couldn’t get excited about it. But now? I’m like that super cool person who tells you about this amazing show called Mad Men. Have you seen it? I’m so late to the party that everyone else has moved on to food crushes on freekeh and hemp and I’m over here going, “Oh, my God, kale!” I’m going through at least one bunch per week and think I could easily add another to my grocery list.
What changed things for me? Honestly, I have my friend Claire Tansey to thank. She taught me the simplest step to add to kale recipes: massage the kale. It’s a game changer, people. Once you’ve removed the tough spine from each leaf, just drizzle the tiniest bit of oil on the kale and get in there and really rub for a few minutes. It makes the kale more tender and pleasanter to eat. And here’s the icing on the cake that I came up with all on my own: you can get children to do it. Both of my kids groan when they see me washing and slicing up kale now but they roll up their sleeves and massage those greens! And angels sing!
In this honeymoon phase that kale and I are having, I’ve done lots of different salads but this is my current favourite. It’s substantial enough to be a meal on its own and would be perfect to bring along to a picnic or barbecue. You can change up the ingredients as you need to – almonds instead of pecans, strawberries rather than blueberries – but you’ll always end up with a healthy, hearty meal. Just don’t change the kale – it’s so good!
Photo Leila Ashtari
- Makes: 4 servings
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
- 1 small head of kale
- 1 cup (250 ml) blueberries
- 1 cup (250 ml) pecans, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) crumbled goat cheese
- For the dressing
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) red wine vinegar
- 2 tsps (10 ml) honey
- 1 tsp (5 ml) Dijon mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
You can cook your chicken breasts on the barbecue, a grill pan or even just a regular frying pan. Season them with just salt and pepper and then cook them over medium heat until they are cooked through, about 5 minutes a side depending on their thickness. Set aside.
Wash your kale and use a sharp paring knife to cut out the thick rib running down the centre of each leaf.
Now slice the leaves horizontally to make ribbons of kale and place them in a bowl.
Drizzle the kale with just a bit of olive oil and toss.
Now use your hands to massage the leaves. Really get in there and rub them together between your fingers. Don’t worry about bruising the kale – it can handle it and it will make your salad so much more tender.
Cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.
Toss the chicken, berries and pecans in with the kale.
Whisk together the salad dressing and pour half over the salad and toss.
Now place the pieces of goat cheese all over the salad and very gently toss (add it too early and it will break down).
Place the extra dressing on the table for those who might want a little more.
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