Sunday, February 16, 2014

Baby Kale Salad with Sweet Potato, Dried Cranberries, Pecans and Goat Cheese

That title is long-winded, but I find it really hard to "name" salads. I just want you to know what is in it, that way you are still tempted to read the recipe even though the name "salad" is in the title.

In the vein, let me tell you about this salad. Let me tell you how delicious it is. I want you to know that I ate a big plate of this salad in about 5 minutes flat, maybe less. I just couldn't stop eating it! I'm not exaggerating. The flavors are big and compliment each other wonderfully.

Sweet and tangy. Crunchy and smooth. Flavors and textures are what make this salad interesting--and irresistible to boot!

This Baby Kale Salad with Sweet Potato, Dried Cranberries, Pecans and Goat Cheese is a wonderful winter salad.

Baby Kale is a great find that you can get in the grocery store -- it's actually a mix of different greens including baby kale and baby spinach. I find fully grown kale to be really rough for a salad unless treated correctly. On the other hand, baby kale packs a great punch of the same nutrients without any of the harsh stalks and chewy leaves of adult kale. With the other bold flavors of this salad, I think baby kale is the perfect green to use as the base.

I roast my sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven tossed in a bit of olive oil sprinkled with salt and pepper until tender and golden. I also toast my pecans in a dry skillet until fragrant and nutty. You want to be careful not to burn the nuts!

So we have baby kale, roasted delicious sweet potatoes, and nutty pecans. Dried cranberries are just the sweetness we need--plus they are slightly tart and juicy. I just love them! Goat cheese is everything that is right in the world, and it's smoothness is just divine in this salad. The tang of goat cheese compliments the cranberries and pecans and coats everything in a blanket of rich, creamy deliciousness.

I almost forgot to mention the icing on the cake! A tangy Dijon vinaigrette that comes together in no time at all. All you have to do is shake up Dijon mustard, olive oil, red wine vinegar, honey, lemon zest, and a bit of salt and pepper in a jar--yummy!

Alright -- enough blabbing! The handy dandy printable is below. This will serve 3 to 4. Treat yourself well and treat yourself to this salad!

Here's what you need for Baby Kale Salad with Sweet Potato, Dried Cranberries, Pecans and Goat Cheese* (Print Recipe!)

2 cups baby kale (or other green such as spinach or mescalin greens)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cubed and roasted (see notes)
1 cup pecans, toasted (see notes)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

Combine the kale, potato, pecans, and cranberries in a large serving bowl. Toss to combine. Crumble the goat cheese on top.

In a mason jar, combine the olive oil, mustard, vinegar, honey, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Cover tightly and shake vigorously to emulsify.

Drizzle two thirds of the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Allow each person to add more dressing to their individual serving, if desired. Serves 3 to 4.

To roast the sweet potatoes, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast about 20 minutes until browned and tender.

To toast the pecans, arrange in a single layer in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Be careful to not burn the nuts by shaking the pan and tossing the nuts frequently. Toast for just about 5 minutes then remove from the heat to cool.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe


  1. Haha, I always find it so hard to name salads too. This looks great! Salads with goat cheese and dried cranberries are my favorite!

    1. I totally agree! If I see a salad at a restaurant with a salty cheese and dried cranberries, there's a 100% chance I'm ordering it!

  2. This sounds like my go-to summer salad! I love goat cheese almost as much as I love peanut butter.

    1. Haha! Love it! Couldn't agree more about the peanut butter ;-)