Not only is this Kale and Cranberry Salad chock full of nutrients, but it tastes absolutely sensational!! Brimming with bright colours it makes an exciting addition to your festive table.
I love a good kale salad, and this one is one of my absolute favourites! Bright green kale, beautifully charred asparagus and ruby red, tart cranberries make an elegant salad combination. All tossed in our roasted hazelnut dressing which adds a wonderfully nutty creaminess - ahh, heaven!
Table of contents
The BEST Thing About this Salad!
That gorgeous, nutty, creamy hazelnut dressing - UNBELIEVABLE!! Trust me; it really takes the kale to next-level deliciousness. And it is just superb with the bold, grassy sauteed asparagus and the sweet-tart cranberries - yum!
Do you want to make it a show-stopping salad?
If you really want to bring some creamy elegance to your dinner table, try topping this healthy kale and cranberry salad with a gourmet cheese, such as:
- A Brie for a light buttery taste with salty overtones; or with some
- Camembert for an earthy, savoury, umami flavour; or with some
- Goats cheese log for a tangy, salty alternative.
Kale Salad Secrets 🤫
The key to any good kale salad is in the kale prep!
The trick is to massage the kale WITH the dressing;
this softens the kale and allows the dressing
to be absorbed by the kale - yummy!
BUT a word of warning - don’t overdo it.
If you massage it for too long you can turn it into mush.
You Will Need
Ingredients & Substitutions
- KALE - If you are not a fan of kale you can substitute with a bag of mixed greens however you will have to make the salad just before serving as the leaves will wilt.
- ASPARAGUS - If you can't find asparagus try substituting with broccoli florets or broccolini or with green beans either fresh or frozen. If you are using frozen grren beans make sure you defrost and dry them before sautéing otherwise they become soggy and will not brown.
- HAZELNUTS - You can easily substitute the hazelnuts for any nut that takes your fancy - roasted almonds and walnuts are good alternatives here.
- CRANBERRIES - Can be swapped with dried currants, craisins or dried cherries.
Step by Step Instructions
Place all your dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender, season with some sea salt and cracked pepper.
Blitz until well combined, it is not necessary for it to be completely smooth, you just want to break up the hazelnuts enough so that the dressing becomes creamy.
Taste and adjust the seasonings according to your liking. If your dressing is too thick add a tablespoon or two of cold water and this will loosen it.
Wash your kale carefully under cold running water making sure that any dirt has been washed away.
Then either rip the leafy parts of the kale from the ribs or cut them off with a knife (we have tips on what to do with the stems below) and finely shred your kale leaves.
Place your kale leaves in a large mixing bowl, add some salt and your dressing and gently rub the leaves together for approximately three minutes to soften your kale for a more palatable salad. But - don’t overdo it remember!
Wash your asparagus and remove the woody ends. The best way is to hold the asparagus about halfway down the spear and bend the stalk until it snaps.
Then use it as a guide to cut the rest of your asparagus stalks, line them up together and cut them off with a sharp chef’s knife. Then cut the asparagus into 2.5cm (1 inch) pieces.
In a large pan add the oil, allow it to heat then add the asparagus and sauté until golden and tender (approximately 5-10 minutes - older asparagus takes longer to cook). Allow the asparagus to cool slightly,
4ASSEMBLE KALE AND CRANBERRY SALAD
In your mixing bowl with the kale add your asparagus, cranberries and hazelnuts then mix well to combine, place in a salad bowl or platter.
If you are using a Brie or Camembert cut them into wedges or small rectangles. If you are using Goats Cheese then cut it into rounds.
Then arrange on top of your salad. Do this half an hour before serving so that your cheese ripens and becomes nice and gooey. Enjoy!
Make Ahead Tips
- As mentioned, you can make this salad the day before, it will not be necessary to massage the kale. It tastes even better if you stir through the dressing and other ingredients and let it sit in the fridge overnight!
- You can also prepare the kale the day before (no massaging) and mix the salad on the day.
- The dressing can be made up to a week in advance but you may need to loosen it with some water as it will thicken.
I really love it when I am entertaining large groups as I can make it the day before, and keep it covered in the fridge. An absolute lifesaver!
But, this is really a good all-around salad that is ideal for serving with a variety of grilled or roasted meats, poultry or seafood.
Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge and you should be able to enjoy this gorgeous salad for at least 3-4 days after you make it.
This stunning kale salad is suitable for many diets if you are making it up without any cheese.
Great for Dairy-Free; Gluten-Free; Keto; Low Carb; Paleo; Vegan; Vegetarian and Whole30 dieters.
Hate waste? So do I! There is no need to get rid of those vitamin-rich kale stems, you can - Blitz them into a pesto with basil, pine nuts, shredded parmesan and minced garlic.
- Save and freeze them to use in juices and smoothies.
- Chop them up and add to soups, casseroles or stir-fries (delicious with garlic, ginger and soy or hoisin sauce).
You are going to need a high-speed food processor or blender to blitz the dressing.
And a really good sharp chef's knife to shred your kale with.
More Kale & Asparagus Salad Recipes
- Small Food Processor or High-Speed / Bullet Blender
- ½ bunch kale (approximately 200 grams or 2.3 ounces)
- 2 bunches asparagus (approximately 400 grams or 31.75 ounces)
- ½ cup cranberries (dried)
- ¼ cup hazelnuts (roasted)
- Optional - Camembert or Brie Wheel or Goats Cheese log.
- ¼ cup hazelnuts (roasted)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- Place all your dressing ingredients in a small food processor or blender, season then blitz to combine. If you dressing is too thick add some water to loosen it.
- Wash your kale and rip the leafy parts from the ribs (tips in the post on what to do with them) then shred your kale leaves.
- Add chopped kale to a large mixing bowl, season, then pour over the dressing.
- Massage the kale for 3-5 minutes until tender but don’t overdo it.
- Wash and trim your asparagus and cut into 2.5cm (1 inch batons).
- Add to a large heated pan and sauté until golden and tender (approximately 5-10 minutes). Do not overcrowd the pan, sauté in batches if you have to.
- Allow the asparagus to cool slightly.
- If you are using a Brie or Camembert cheese, cut them into small wedges or rectangles. Or if you are using a Goats Cheese cut into rounds.
- Add all ingredients (except the cheeses) to the bowl with the massaged kale.
- Mix well to combine then arrange in a salad platter. Taste and adjust seasonings according to your taste.
- If you are using the cheese arrange it on the top of the salad. Serve and Enjoy!