Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans

Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook on Amazon
This past month, I’ve been to no fewer than 6 different bookstores – which is actually a difficult feat considering I live in a small town and all the local bookstores have closed (sob) actually, 4 of the bookstores were large airport bookstores (another sob – I don’t care much for traveling during the holiday season.) At each store, propped up front and center is Deb’s (Smitten Kitchen) cookbook.

I love that the book features Deb’s strangely comforting black/white mottled countertop design. Not that the countertop is strange, but it’s strange that I’ve followed Deb for so long now that I feel warm-yummy every time I see her blog photos – which always is set on her kitchen countertop. Do I want to snuggle up on her kitchen counter? I might just, given the chance. Hmmmm…..strange, right?!

When I got the book in the mail, the first recipe I flipped to was Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats – rice krispy treats made with nutty browned butter?! Deb’s hallmark sweet treats are balanced with healthy recipes like Vermouth Mussels with Tarragon Oven Fries. In simple terms, it’s a book filled with recipes you actually want to cook. Big Breakfast Latkes (shredded potato/onion latke with sunny side up egg on top) would be perfect for weekends, vegetarian Ratatouille Sub is “belly warming”, and of course, Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans carries all the crunch, sweetness that you could ever want in a salad.

I’m lucky enough to be able to see Deb once year or so – we’ve been to the Bahamas togetherpartied on a rooftop and Jacob’s first subway ride was to come see me at a book signing. She’s amazing, loving and is just as chatty in person as on her blog.

Get it: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans

Now, about that salad…..We grow kale every year in the garden, it’s just now starting to get big enough to harvest the leaves. Kale is super-easy to grow, and it’s one of those plants that you can harvest leaf by leaf – just pluck enough for the salad.

Most of the kale recipes that I see are for cooked kale (see Caribbean Kale & Bacon or Kale Chips (try them!), so get really excited to see kale salad recipes – oh yes, try this Kale & Cauliflower Salad that’s one of my all time favorites.

Deb’s recipe for Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans features frilly crunchy (healthy!!) raw kale, creamy goat cheese, tart dried cherries, crunchy pecans and paper-thin slivers of radish. The variety of flavors, colors and textures that you experience in this salad is what brings me joy.

Watch me make the Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans!

The book: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman


Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time:

From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook from Deb Perelman


1/2 cup pecans
8 ounces Black Kale, also known as Cavolo Nero, or Lacinato, Dinosaur, or Tuscan Kale
4 ounces radishes, sliced into paper-thin rounds
1/2 cup dried cherries
2 ounces soft goat cheese, chilled
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Optional step: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spread the pecans on a tray. Toast them for 5 to 10 minutes, tossing them once or twice to make sure they toast evenly. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool.

Wash your kale and let it dry on spread-out kitchen or paper towels. Then, with a knife, remove the rib from each stalk, leaving long strips of kale leaves. Stack the leaves in small batches, roll them tightly the long way, and cut the roll crosswise into thin ribbons. Add the kale ribbons to a large salad bowl.

Add the radishes, pecans and cherries. Crumble the goat cheese over top.

Whisk dressing ingredients together in a small dish, and pour the dressing over the salad.

NOTE: This salad is great to eat right away, but even better after 20 minutes of tenderizing in the dressing.


Kale Salad with Cherries and Pecans

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Comments 40

  1. Susie

    Happy New Year! I saw your cookbook on display at Asia Books in Bangkok yesterday..always nice to see the familiar! I agree about Deb’s cookbook. I have so enjoyed her blog and her book is so worth having in hand.

    Last summer, I had a chopped kale salad in NC that became a staple for the season. Slivered kale massaged(the chef’s term!) with lemon juice, tossed with toasted pepitas and crumbled manchego cheese. Served with a fillet of smoked trout. I added sliced sundried tomato to to to the mix. Delicious stuff!

  2. Chef Kendra Nguyen

    I usually don’t go for fresh fruit in my person salads, but since this calls for dried cherries my work for me. This salad looks fantastic, I must try it. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Kim in MD

    I love Deb’s new cookbook! I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but it looks delicious. I love fruit in salads! Have I ever told you how adorable you are, Jaden? 🙂

  4. Christine (Cook the Story)

    I had a kale salad recently in a restaurant and loved it. But I thought they had used some kind of baby kale because it was so tender and not what I would expect from raw regular kale. Now I’m betting that it was the Lacinato, which shows up all the time in my bi-weekly organics box. Can’t wait for the next box to arrive so I can give this a try. Thanks for sharing the recipe! -Christine

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  6. debio

    I HAVE this cookbook and it is divine! I am vegetarian and there are lots of good recipes for me. The spaghetti squash tacos are amazing!!! I can’t even….

    Highly recommend this cookbook- I preordered as I love her blog and her cooking. The BB RiceKrispy treats are the best- why would you EVER make them the regular way?

  7. Tony

    Really great recipe. I cooked it today. I used a store bought craisin and almonds mix instead of the pecans and dried cherries. Was still really good, the dressing is very light but perfect for the keel because it’s not over powering. This was my first time trying keel, and it was a great introduction. I had this along side of the Miso Shrimp. If I was going to make this a meal, I would grill some chicken and toss in with it. Recipes a keeper!

  8. Tony

    Really great recipe. I had never tried keel before but read about in Men’s Health and other places. This was a great introduction to keel and I will definitely re-use this recipe. I did do craisins and almonds from a store bought mix compared to the pecans and dried cherries, still worked very well. The dressing is perfect and doesn’t over power the salad. The goat cheese gives it a nice kick!

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  30. Mark

    On my computer I see a “print” icon offered just above the recipe for the cranberry/pecan salad. However, when my cursor gets near the int icon, it becomes a PIN IT icon, which I don’t need. Please reinstate a simple print icon.



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