baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

eat your greens

Recipe: kale pepita cranberry salad

I am really looking forward to some downtime in about… a month. But I’m also thoroughly enjoying the crazy time which is now. We have visitors, house guests, travel, events, and all manner of goings on that my head is spinning just looking at the calendar. Are you the type who prefers to spread busy out evenly or cram it all together? I guess I didn’t plan to have a smooshed schedule, but that’s how it seems to have shaken out. Actually, I think October is always like this for me.

from crested butte a few weeks ago

My parents are in town for a few weeks and we celebrated my dad’s birthday last Friday with dinner at The Black Cat. I really get a kick out of how much they are enjoying each new restaurant we introduce them to around here. Of course, it helps that Boulder has no shortage of great places to dine.

amuse bouche: radish and mustard terrine on toast

We like to cook as much as we like to dine out, so my folks came up to our house for dinner this evening. Actually, as my dad said, “I would like to see Kaweah.” Kaweah loves my dad. Ever since he first met her when she was a puppy and he kept “accidentally” dropping peanuts on the floor, he has pretty much secured his place as #1 favorite person in her tiny brain. Anyway, it was a great excuse to introduce them to this kale salad which Jeremy and I are addicted to. It’s all Shauna’s fault. Actually, it’s Danny’s and Jennie’s faults for tweeting about this salad after they had it for dinner one night. I asked if the recipe was on either of their blogs… and within a week, Shauna and Danny posted it. Thank you, friends.

dinosaur kale

I don’t really know if that is dinosaur kale. What happened is that I went to Whole Foods looking for dinosaur or Lacinato kale and found this. It was above the sign for dinosaur kale. It didn’t quite look like what I typically see listed as dinosaur kale, but that’s what they had. I think it’s pretty.

you’ll need: kale, olive oil, fish sauce, lemon, pecorino, dried cranberries and pepitas

strip the stems


The most time consuming part of the whole process is probably washing the kale. The rest is a snap. Strip the leaves off the stem with a sharp knife (it’s kinda fun) and stack the leaves together. Roll them up to cut them into strips (chiffonade) or don’t roll them and slice them into strips. Whisk the dressing together. Shauna emphasizes how important it is to use the fish sauce. It’s a small amount, but it really does make the flavor (think umami) and it doesn’t taste fishy at all.

whisk the olive oil into the dressing

pouring dressing over the pepitas, cranberries, and kale

Place the dried cranberries and pepitas in the bowl with the kale. And you don’t have to use dried cranberries or pepitas. Shauna’s original recipe called for pine nuts and sultanas (golden raisins), but I had neither on hand and opted for these substitutions. I imagine you could add anything that suits your fancy, really. Pour half the dressing over the salad and mix it with your hand. This helps to get even distribution on the kale.

toss the salad by hand

I found that the kale becomes more tender after sitting an hour or two, so I try to prepare the salad ahead of time. Grate some Pecorino over the salad before serving and there you have it. My parents really enjoyed this recipe. It tastes of autumn to be sure, and it’s a salad that departs from the ordinary. We’ll be enjoying this one well into winter. This is a great way to get your greens on too.

it’s good for you

Kale Pepita Cranberry Salad
[print recipe]
from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

1 large bunch of dinosaur kale (also known as Tuscan or Lacinato kale), washed
1 lemon, zest and juice of
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese

Trim the leaves from the fibrous stems of the kale. Discard (compost) the stems. Roll the leaves up like a cigar and cut into 1/2-inch wide strips. Place the kale in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, and fish sauce with a whisk. While whisking, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the dressing to make a nice emulsion. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the cranberries and pepitas in the bowl with the kale. Pour half of the dressing over the kale and mix it with your hands. Add more dressing as needed. I actually like to let the kale salad sit for an hour or two before serving so that the leaves are more tender. Grate cheese over the salad to finish. Serves 4-6.

28 nibbles at “eat your greens”

  1. Jess says:

    Bookmarked! Looks delish.

  2. Megan says:

    Mmm, I love pepitas in salad. It’s always great to have a little crunch!

    Oh, and for the record, you can call any kind of dried grape a sultana – it’s not just the golden ones, but they’re definitely the prettiest! :)

  3. Erin @ We Are Randalls says:

    I was looking for a decent recipe using kale…I think I found it. Excited to give this one a go!

  4. Tricia says:

    Kale is my new fave veg. This recipe looks terrific.

  5. Andrea says:

    I’ve been making a very similar salad with finely shredded savoy cabbage, pomegrantae seeds and pine nuts, substituting the fish sauce with balsamic vinegar. I’ll definitely try your version which sounds more savoury and salty.

  6. Jessica says:

    Wow – that first picture is simply breath-taking!

  7. Melissa @ Baking For The Boys says:

    That is one of my favorite pictures of the season. Magical.

  8. Jill says:

    Salad looks YUMMY. Glad you had some fun with your folks.

    ME….I like order, and my BUSY to be spread out a bit, but I rarely get that. Makes life interesting!

  9. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence says:

    Several months ago I had a raw kale salad from Whole Foods. And I LOVED it! This seems to be similar. Definitely going to give this a try. Thanks!

  10. sara says:

    This salad looks fantastic! I really enjoy kale salads…yum! :)

  11. Joy says:

    The salad looks so good.

  12. Bev Weidner says:

    L-O-V-E kale. Mega love.

  13. Bev says:

    Photo #1 “from Crested Butte…..” is absolutely, freakin’ beautiful. I could live with this one for the rest of my live as a 36 x 48 painting! Good shot! Now, I’m going to go back and drool over the food pics ;?

  14. Stacy says:

    Coming from the south where we cook our greens with loads of bacon and garlic, I had never thought of eating kale simply raw and dressed. Thanks for opening my eyes. I will definitely give this one a try!

  15. Lisa says:

    Indeed, I enjoyed this kale salad so much I had three servings, if you noticed. Thanks Jen, to show me how to make it. It will be served many times in my house. It is healthy and tasty, and it is good to your health.

  16. Margie says:

    Kale, an absolutely WONDERFUL veggie. The dinosaur variety is new to this old set of eyes. I love kale salad and look forward to trying my hand at this recipe.

  17. joey says:

    That’s a gorgeous looking veggie! We don’t get kale much here aside from a couple of intrepid independent farmers…must make sure to snatch some when I see it. This sounds delicious!

  18. frankie says:

    looks like you’ve got white russian kale ; )

  19. Jesica @ Pencil Kitchen says:

    aye boy… Yumm

  20. Phoo-d says:

    I love a good kale salad. It lends itself well to Caesar salad too. Something about an aggressive dressing just works beautifully with the stiffer kale leaves. Your opening photograph is jaw dropping!

  21. Julia says:

    Our calendars are both jam packed for the next month. Which I love, it’s fun to have SO much going on. But at the same time, sleep would be nice?!?! I’ll sleep when I’m dead, that’s my new motto. I’ve been LOVING kale the last few months, this looks just delightful!

  22. Jaclyn @ Justins Nut Butter says:

    We love your blog! Justin’s Nut Butter is based in Boulder, you should check it out if you haven’t yet since you are a Boulderite and your blog is about butter! :) Great picture of Crested Butte, thanks for supporting local bizz!

  23. Adrienne says:

    I’m going to have to give this a try. I haven’t had kale raw yet!

  24. Phyllis says:

    This sounds delicious, since family doesn’t like cranberries (can you imagine?), I’m glad you told me about the pine nuts and raisins. I’m trying it tomorrow. Now, about that fantastic picture………is that a lake behind the trees????

  25. jenyu says:

    Megan – thanks for the 411!

    Andrea – the savoy cabbage sounds great too.

    Jessica – thank you :)

    Melissa – very sweet of you, thanks.

    Jill – I like order too, which might be why I’m going crazy now.

    Brandon – awesome, I hope it worked out for ya.

    Bev – thanks! I sell prints. Email if you are interested.

    Stacy – I love finding new ways to enjoy my greens too.

    Lisa – you’re welcome, Mom :)

    frankie – thank you!! I KNEW one of my readers would set me straight :) I love you guys and your brains full of great info!!

    Phoo-d – thanks sweetie!

    Adrienne – you should try it baked too :)

    Phyllis – it’s actually a large hillslope full of aspens and pine trees. Kinda neat, so I thought I’d snap a pic :)

  26. Winter Share Final boxes « Turnip Rock Farm – Community Supported Agriculture says:

    […] A Raw Kale Salad that can be made with Dino or Curly Kale. […]

  27. Juliane says:

    Oh, I’m obsessed with kale salads right now- and will be forever! This one looks fabulous! ~Juliane of

  28. 101 Salad Recipes for SummerFood – Construed says:

    […] Kale Pepita Cranberry Salad – Use Real Butter […]

leave a reply