Kale cranberry salad is five minute salad full of healthy ingredients that may just become your next food obsession, it’s that good. Perfect as a lunch all on it’s own or served next to grilled or roasted meat, poultry or seafood. Add this to your other quick heathy recipes for your family’s menus!
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You know, if you had told my 20-year-old self that one day I would sing the delicious praises of a kale cranberry salad I would have said, “Excuse me?” Mainly because I had no idea what kale was – and nobody else I knew did either – but then I would have said, “As if!” (It was the late 1980s, after all…)
Salads were just salads – something you had to eat to get to the “good stuff.” I certainly didn’t crave them – or even think about them.
Fast forward a few years and I LOVE salads. I’m happy with one for lunch, regularly order them at restaurants, and even serve them as the main dish in the warmer months. And I don’t just eat them because I think they’re good for me, I genuinely like them.
It’s probably a combination of wanting to treat my body better that comes with maturity, but I’ve also found that the more real, whole foods I add to my diet (and the less processed), the more my taste buds adjust to the flavors – and the more I crave them.
All this is to say, everyone has to start somewhere on the road to healthy eating. Start buying less processed foods and more whole food ingredients. And branch out of the lettuce-tomato-carrot salad rut with a salad like this kale cranberry salad that bursts with flavors from feta, dried cranberries, sweet onions, and maple-spiced pecans. Once you try it, I know you will love it, too!
Kale Cranberry Salad
This salad is an example of when you have some pantry basics on hand (your 3-minute homemade vinaigrette) and nuts you’ve glazed with maple and spices you can throw a fancy-looking salad together in about five minutes.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make Kale Cranberry Salad with Feta and Pecans:
- Chopped kale or kale-cabbage blend (The mix pictured above is Trader Joe’s Cruciferous Crunch blend – the bonus when you use a packaged blend is less chopping!)
- Sweet onion
- Dried cranberries
- Feta cheese
- Maple Sweetened Chili Pecans (or plain pecans or walnuts)
- Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
While you probably don’t need a series of photos to show you how to layer the ingredients, it sure does make for pretty pictures, doesn’t it? Good food = pretty food. And it illustrates how quickly the salad comes together, too.
While I try not to dress most salads totally so that leftovers don’t get soggy, this is one salad that’s okay the next day even when coated with the balsamic vinaigrette. And you definitely want to mix it all together and make sure all the ingredients are coated with the dressing. It’s the combo of everything together that makes this recipe so amazing.
Homemade Vinaigrette Tip: Using a mason jar to make and keep your vinaigrette dressing in is quick and easy! As soon as we use up one jar, I grab another empty one, add the mustard, any seasonings I want, and the vinegars (I usually do a combo of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar and the balsamic), add a lid and shake it up. Then I pour in the olive oil to equal about 1/2 to 3/4 of the vinegar mixture, replace the lid, shake it all together and it’s ready to go in just a few minutes.
Seriously, when you get used to this as your routine, you’ll wonder why you ever bought dressing in the first place!
Okay, now you’re armed with the reasons, ingredients, and tips – let’s make the recipe!
Click the arrow for the full Kale Cranberry Salad recipe (with print options)!
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