Christmas Kale Chopped Salad

It’s not even Thanksgiving and here I am wrapping up a Christmas present for you. It’s called Christmas because it’s red and green, and bejeweled with seasonal treats like oranges, walnuts and pomegranates.

The fact that’s it’s healthy is purely by accident, I swear. I just thought about the flavors of the season. That’s why there’s port-soaked cranberries, juicy orange bits, crunchy jicama and bright kale. OK, jicama might not be the first holiday ingredient you think of, but it’s a wonderful addition, trust me.

I wanted another crunchy element, so I toasted some walnuts, another a holiday treat — or am I the only one who got oranges and walnuts in her Christmas stocking? (Neither were as treasured as the book of LifeSavers.)

A traditional chopped salad is sometimes presented in rows of ingredients, with the dressing served on the side.

But, being the control freak that I am, I like to reign over how much dressing goes on the salad (do you really want to leave this crucial detail up to your guests? What if they don’t have a clue about how much is enough? Or they’re too polite to use as much as they should, thinking less is more?)

To avoid all that pressure, I toss it myself. And I sprinkle a few pomegranate seeds on top to make it extra holiday-ish. I love this salad. Even if it is good for me.

Christmas Kale Chopped Salad

How to describe the fresh, vibrant taste of this salad? Fantastic! The fresh ground cardamom is a pleasant, exotic surprise. I love the crunchy textures, the tart-but-sweet cranberries and pomegranate seeds. In a word? Christmasy.

Serves 6

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup ruby port (or apple juice)

For the dressing
Zest from 2 medium navel oranges
Juice from those 2 oranges after the sections have been removed
1-1/2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the salad
1 bunch Tuscan kale, washed, trimmed and chopped
Orange sections left over from dressing
1 cup of 1/2-inch cubed jicama
1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds

1. Stir the cranberries and port together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil and turn off the heat. Steep the cranberries while you make the dressing.

2. After zesting and removing the sections from the oranges, squeeze the juice from the pulp into a small bowl. Whisk in the vinegar, mint, agave nectar (or honey), cardamom, salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Set aside while you prepare the salad.

3. Place the chopped kale in a large salad bowl. Cut the orange sections into bite size pieces and add to the kale. Add the jicama and walnuts. Drain the steeped cranberries and add them to the salad bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss. Divide salad between six salad plates. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve.

10 replies
  1. Dana Treat
    Dana Treat says:

    Oh the book of Lifesavers! I looked forward to that all year. What a great memory. Beautiful salad. I love all of these things separately and together they look just gorgeous. Such a nice addition to a holiday table.

  2. Dana
    Dana says:

    Served this salad for Christmas Eve to offset our traditional standing rib roast. Amazing! And, with a few leftovers it tasted (almost) as good the next day. The kale is hearty! Thanks for such a treat.

  3. Donna Eng
    Donna Eng says:

    Gwen, just wanted to let you know I made this salad once again this weekend! This time I didnt’ have cranberries or walnuts, used apples instead of jicama and it was still a hit. Everyone wanted the recipe so I’ve shared your recipe on my FB. This recipe always converts non-kale eaters :o)

    • Gwen Ashley Walters
      Gwen Ashley Walters says:

      Donna, thanks so much for taking time to share. I love the idea of using crisp apples in place of crunchy jicama. Brilliant!

  4. Sandra Lee Childs
    Sandra Lee Childs says:

    Absolutely the best salad of any kind EVER! I make it often, with any kind of kale I have on hand and without the pom seeds when they’re off-season. Took some to our local produce kale-hating man and he and his wife LOVED it.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Christmas Kale Chopped Salad A supremely festive dish both in colour and content, this salad is filled with crunch, juice, zest and bite. Pomegranates meet kale for Christmas colour, while jicama and toasted walnuts bring crunch to this Tuscan kale salad with fresh orange segments. Great on a summers day dressed with champagne vinegar, mint and agave. […]

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  3. […] You’d think I wouldn’t care for cauliflower since it’s in the same family as Brussels sprouts. But so is kale, and I love kale. […]

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