Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad

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This vibrant Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad combines crunchy kale and broccoli slaw with tart dried cranberries and nutty, sweetened maple pecans. The tangy, sweet dressing of honey, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and mayonnaise enhances the fresh ingredients. Enjoy this salad as a light standalone meal or pair it with your choice of protein for a heartier dish.

Overhead image of the Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad

Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad is part of our Back-To-School Lifesavers — a series of recipes that are intended to have little (or no) veggie chopping, minimal prep time, around 10 ingredients, or less (not including pantry staples), and use kid-friendly ingredients. Click here to see all the recipes in the series!

Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad

This salad doesn’t skimp on texture or healthful ingredients, and it’s quickly become one of our go-to favorites. It’s not just healthy, it’s downright delicious!

Anyone familiar with Costco’s Kale Salad kits knows how tasty kale salads can be. Today, we’re presenting a new contender for your favorite kale salad. Dressed in a creamy honey-mustard dressing, adorned with a sweet maple pecan mix, and finished with pops of dried cranberries, this salad is sure to be a hit wherever it’s served!

Ingredient shot-- image of all the ingredients used in this recipe

Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad Ingredients

  • Kale: The key to good tasting kale lies in its preparation! Remove the thick stems and slice the kale into thin ribbons. In my opinion, the finer the shreds of kale, the tastier the end result. After chopping, make sure to massage the kale with a bit of dressing. This might sound unusual, but it does wonders in tenderizing the kale, enhancing its flavor to perfection!
  • Broccoli slaw: Look for pre-packaged broccoli slaw in the produce section of your grocery store. Alternatively, you can make your own — see “quick tip” box below.
  • Dried cranberries: We love dried cranberries in this salad, but we’ve also tried dried tart cherries and dried blueberries both of which were major hits! Golden raisins would also be tasty! 
  • Maple pecan mix: The Maple Pecan Mix by Sahale, a favorite snack brand of mine, actually served as the inspiration for this salad! If you can get your hands on their nut mix, you’ll be amazed at how it transforms this salad. If that’s not an option, I’d suggest making your own candied pecans or walnuts as an alternative. Another possibility is preparing the maple pecans as showcased in this Winter salad. We’ve also made this salad using other Sahale’s other nut blends, such as the glazed Cashew and Pistachio mixes. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them! (Heads-up, none of this is sponsored! Just a fan!)

QUICK TIP

Broccoli slaw is a ready-to-eat blend of shredded broccoli, shredded carrots, and shredded red cabbage. It’s typically sold near other packaged lettuce or pre-prepared salads. If you aren’t able to find broccoli slaw at the store, I’d recommend cutting the broccoli florets from the stems. Next, thinly slice the broccoli florets with a knife and then use a large grater to grate the stems.

Process shots of Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad-- images of the dressing being mixed together and a little dressing being mixed with the kale

Dressing Ingredients

  • Honey: Choose a high-quality honey for the best flavor; raw or local honey can add a unique flavor to the dressing and to this Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad!
  • Apple cider vinegar: Use an unpasteurized apple cider vinegar for a more robust flavor. We love Bragg® apple cider vinegar best!
  • Dijon mustard: Look for a good quality Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon®. It provides a tangy and sharp flavor to the dressing.
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: Choose a good quality extra-virgin olive oil for a smooth flavor.
  • Mayonnaise: Look for a high-quality whole-egg mayonnaise, like Hellman’s/Best Foods®. A good mayo will deliver a superior flavor as well as a rich and creamy texture.

Process shots-- images of the broccoli slaw, nut mix, cranberries, and dressing all being tossed together

How To Make Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad (Tips)

  • Dressing Emulsification: When preparing the dressing, make sure to shake the jar or whisk vigorously to emulsify the ingredients. This creates a smooth and well-blended dressing. If you find that the honey tends to settle at the bottom, give it a good shake or whisk before using to ensure it’s evenly distributed.
  • Marinating the Kale: Allowing the kale to marinate in the dressing for about 10 minutes helps to soften its texture and infuse it with flavor. This step is optional but can enhance the overall taste of the salad.
  • Adjusting Dressing Amount: The amount of dressing you use may vary depending on your preference. Start by adding a few tablespoons of dressing to the salad and toss to coat. If you prefer a lighter dressing, add less, and if you like it more flavorful, add a little more. Adjust according to your taste.
  • Quality Ingredients: Using high-quality ingredients makes a difference in the final result. Look for fresh and vibrant kale, soft dried cranberries, and good-quality condiments like Dijon mustard and mayonnaise.
  • Customization: Feel free to customize the salad by adding additional ingredients based on your preferences. Consider incorporating roasted nuts, crumbled cheese (such as feta or goat cheese), sliced apples, or even some thinly sliced red onion for added flavor and texture.

Up close overhead image of the Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad

What To Serve Alongside Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad

Here are a few ideas:

  • Chicken: Chicken breasts or thighs make a delicious and protein-packed addition to the salad. Leftover shredded rotisserie chicken is also an excellent (and quick!) choice. Try to find a lemon-herb rotisserie chicken for an extra burst of flavor. Grilled chicken, baked chicken, or blackened chicken is also a great option.
  • Quiche or Frittata: A savory quiche or frittata can complement the salad nicely. 
  • Grilled Fish: Light and flaky grilled fish, such as salmon or cod, pairs well with the freshness of the salad. Season the fish with herbs, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil before grilling it. Serve the grilled fish alongside the salad for a healthy and balanced meal.
  • Soup: A warm bowl of soup can be a comforting addition to the salad, especially during cooler months. Consider serving a butternut squash soup, tomato basil soup, or a vegetable lentil soup alongside the salad for a satisfying and well-rounded meal.
  • Crusty Bread: A basket of crusty bread, such as baguette, French bread, or no-knead bread, can be a great accompaniment to the salad. Serve it with some flavored butter or a side of olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. The bread can be used to scoop up the salad or enjoyed on its own.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roasted vegetables, such as roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, or Brussels sprouts, can provide a hearty and flavorful side dish. 
  • A Hearty Grain: If you prefer to add some grains to your meal, brown rice, couscous, farro, or quinoa can be excellent choices. 

Up close overhead image of the dish ready to be enjoyed

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Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad

5 from 3 votes
This vibrant Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad combines crunchy kale and broccoli slaw with tart dried cranberries and nutty, sweetened maple pecans. The tangy, sweet dressing of honey, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and mayonnaise enhances the fresh ingredients. Enjoy this salad as a light standalone meal or pair it with your choice of protein for a heartier dish.
Print Recipe

Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad

5 from 3 votes
This vibrant Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad combines crunchy kale and broccoli slaw with tart dried cranberries and nutty, sweetened maple pecans. The tangy, sweet dressing of honey, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, olive oil, and mayonnaise enhances the fresh ingredients. Enjoy this salad as a light standalone meal or pair it with your choice of protein for a heartier dish.
Keyword Kale Cranberry Pecan Salad
Servings 4 -8 servings
Chelsea Lords
Calories 197kcal
Cost $9.90

Ingredients

Salad

  • 4 cups finely chopped kale (tightly packed in measuring cups)
  • 1 pkg.(16 oz) broccoli slaw
  • 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
  • 1 pkg. (4 oz). maple pecan mix, coarsely chopped

Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Fine sea salt & pepper

Instructions

  • DRESSING: In a glass jar or a small mixing bowl, combine all the dressing ingredients. Season with salt & pepper (I add 1/4 tsp salt & 1/8 tsp pepper.) Close the lid of the jar and shake until ingredients are well combined and emulsified.(Make sure the honey doesn't pool and settle at the bottom.) Taste and adjust seasoning if needed before using. Refrigerate until ready to use, shaking or whisking again before using.
  • MARINATE KALE: Add chopped kale to a very large salad bowl. Add in 1 tbsp dressing. Scrunch firmly with both hands for about 15 seconds which will help soften and add flavor to the kale. Set aside for 10 minutes.
  • SALAD: Meanwhile, coarsely chop the nut mix. Combine the chopped kale and broccoli slaw in a large salad bowl. Toss together with tongs. Sprinkle the cranberries and chopped nut mix over the salad. Lightly toss to combine and then add a few more tablespoons of the dressing (to desired preference -- See Note X) and toss until nicely coated.

Video

Recipe Notes

Note 1: To get the best flavor, use good quality ingredients. The better the ingredients, the better the flavor! We recommend a good whole-egg mayo like Hellman's® or Best Foods®, and Grey Poupon® Dijon mustard. These brands are known for their rich and creamy texture as well as having a strong and robust flavor!

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 197kcal | Carbohydrates: 10.9g | Protein: 3.4g | Fat: 16.7g | Cholesterol: 1.4mg | Sodium: 149.3mg | Fiber: 3.1g | Sugar: 6.1g

We do our best to provide accurate nutritional analysis for our recipes. Our nutritional data is calculated using a third-party algorithm and may vary, based on individual cooking styles, measurements, and ingredient sizes. Please use this information for comparison purposes and consult a health professional for nutrition guidance as needed.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Cant wait to make this soon for me can i use vegan mayo i never had kale cranberry pecan salad before perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

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