A simple kale salad recipe with sliced pears, crumbled goat cheese, and salty toasted pepitas. Jump to recipe.
Right now, a band of fluffy clouds is moving across the sky at a rapid clip; beyond is a clear blue winter sky. As stiff winds push the clouds east, an overcast morning gives way to a bright, frigid afternoon. The turkey vultures that hang out down by the river soar high; looking almost playful as they ride the winds in unending circles.
I’m ready for the cold, with a fourth cup of coffee in hand, wool socks, and a thick sweater. But even in the warmth of my house, I’m feeling restless. I’m putting pieces together, tying up loose ends, and edging closer to the kinds of small changes I hope will add up to something good. I wish I could be pushed into change, like the winds propelling the band of clouds overhead, and that remaking ourselves could be as simple as a passing front or crossing a line on the sky. But things on this plane are messy. I’m going to keep trying, though; with as much coffee as it takes and a bowl of something nourishing at my side.
Here, nourishment is a simple kale salad. It’s made with lacinato kale (aka dinosaur or Tuscan kale), dressed only in olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, and sea salt, and tossed with sliced Bartlett pears, crumbled Capricho de Cabra goat cheese, and salty toasted pepitas. Notes of sweetness, brine, and cream keep each bite interesting, while the simplicity ensures it’s a salad you can actually make.
The salad keeps well, too. To make ahead, combine everything but the lemon, cover tightly, and refrigerate. Just before serving, toss with lemon, and add a drizzle of olive oil or more sea salt to taste.
A simple kale salad recipe with pears, briny goat cheese crumbles, and salty toasted pepitas.
- 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup raw hulled pepitas
- sea salt
- 1/2 bunch lacinato kale, stems trimmed and chopped into thin ribbons
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, plus more to taste
- 1 - 2 firm ripe Bartlett pears, cored and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 4 ounces Capricho de Cabra goat cheese (chèvre can be substituted), crumbled
- fresh ground pepper to taste
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toss in pepitas and sprinkle with sea salt. Toast, shaking pan frequently, until seeds are fragrant and the first few start to pop, 2 - 3 minutes. Spoon into a small bowl and set aside.
In a large salad bowl, vigorously toss kale ribbons with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and several pinches sea salt. Taste and add more sea salt as needed. Toss in pear slices and lemon juice. Top with crumbled cheese and toasted pepitas, finish with a pinch more sea salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
If making ahead, proceed as above, omitting the lemon juice, cover tightly, and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Before serving, toss with lemon juice, adjust seasoning, and serve.