Pecan & Cranberry Kale Salad

It has taken me quite a few tries to make a good kale salad. Kale is a tricky vegetable to master. My first time is was completely inedible. The kale was tough and way too chewy.

Why all the fuss over trying to perfect a kale salad?

At just 33 calories, one cup of raw kale has:

  • Nearly 3 grams of protein
  • 2.5 grams of fiber (which helps manage blood sugar and makes you feel full)
  • Vitamins A, C, and K
  • Folate, a B vitamin that’s key for brain development
  • Alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. (While kale has far less omega-3 than fish, it is another way to get some of this healthy fat into your diet.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that give kale its deep, dark green coloring and protect against macular degeneration and cataracts Minerals including phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and zinc

Online Reference: Kale Health Benefits

This mistake led me into the art of massaging your kale. Sound crazy to you? Yeah, me too. Raw kale is tough, bitter and fibrous. By massaging it, the cellulose structure in the kale starts to break down and it will darken, shrink in size and become more silky…hence more tasty and completely edible.

kale massage

All it takes to massage the kale is simply a sprinkling of salt and rubbing the kale leaves together for a few minutes. You will start to see a difference in the texture almost immediately. Believe me, DO NOT skip this step!

I decided to pair dried cranberries & toasted pecans with the kale. While rummaging through my fridge to find the pecans, I found a bag of chopped bacon bits so I decided to throw those in too.

pecans and bacon

I love toasting the pecans before adding them to the salad. It intensifies the flavor and just seems to give it an added boost. I added the bacon bits to the pecans and decided to toast them as well.

The dressing…the most important ingredient in any salad. It can make or break a recipe. I decided to pair some of my favorite ingredients…olive oil, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic & honey. It might seem a little odd to pair honey & garlic but it just seems to work really well together.

kale salad dressing ingredients

Mix all of the dressing ingredients together and season with salt & pepper to taste. Depending on your specific tastes, you might need to add more honey or vinegar.

Pour dressing over salad ingredients and mix well. This salad will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days.

kale salad ingredients


1/2 – 3/4 Bag Washed & Pre-Chopped Kale

1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries

1/2 Cup Toasted Pecans – Chopped

1/4 Cup Bacon Bits – Toasted


3 TBSP. Olive Oil

3 – 4 TBSP. Red Wine Vinegar

2 TBSP. Honey

2 Garlic Cloves – Finely Chopped

Salt & Pepper To Taste