I keep thinking that someone will knock on my door and offer to mow my lawn. For a fee, of course—a fee that I will gladly pay. Yet no one has come knocking. My grass is only growing longer. And I am definitely not going to buy a mower and mow it myself. What’s a girl to do?
Google “lawn service,” probably. I will say, though, the overgrown green blanket outside my window is a lovely backdrop for my food photos. At my last apartment, my view consisted of strangers’ windows and a parking garage. Now I have big green trees and a yard that’s being overrun by weeds but if you squint, it just looks like a nice, uniform green.
We’d better start talking about this salad before I start going on about the neighborhood bunnies and squirrels again. (They are everywhere!) I’m totally obsessed with this salad. I basically took Deb’s kale salad and changed it up for spring. I added strawberries instead of apples, swapped lemon juice for apple cider vinegar in the dressing and kept the chopped radishes for some spicy crunch. Then I topped it all off with nutty, savory granola clusters that act as croutons. Granola in salad?! Trust me.
I found the savory granola concept in Bon Appetit Magazine‘s April issue. Bon Appetit is always chock-full of good ideas and the April issue was especially full of them. I had already dog-eared a bunch of pages when I came across their recipe for savory granola. The headnote said that savory granola is a new restaurant trend. I thought, “Well, if all the cool kids are doing it…” and immediately got up to make some.
I’m not usually one to add croutons to my salad, but these granola “croutons” are a different story. You’re basically adding some freshly toasted, spiced nut mix to salad—clearly a good idea. Especially considering how well strawberries and oats play together. (You know what else strawberries go well with? Pizza.)
The first time I made the granola, the egg white bound the nuts and oats together into huge clusters. The second and third times I made the granola, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Now I’m wondering if it’s because I baked the granola directly on my baking sheet the first time around, rather than lining the sheet with parchment paper like I did on my second and third tries. Does anyone have insight into the matter? I want to settle this matter once and for all!
(Vegans, I have suggestions on how to make this recipe without egg whites and goat cheese in the recipe footnotes.)
Unrelated to granola clusters, I’m chatting about vegetable ribbons, hemp seeds and Kansas City restaurants in Food and Wine’s Blogger Spotlight this week. :)
- 8 ounces Tuscan kale or regular curly kale (one medium bunch)
- ½ pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 4 to 5 medium radishes, sliced thin and roughly chopped
- 2 ounces chilled goat cheese (or about ⅓ cup cup goat cheese crumbles)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
- 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
- 1½ teaspoons honey
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- ½ cup raw shelled pistachios (or walnuts or pecans)
- ½ cup whole almonds
- ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup raw sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large egg white, beaten (optional, see note for vegans)
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
- To make the granola: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium bowl, toss the oats, pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, fennel seeds, salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir in the beaten egg white, oil, and honey or agave nectar until well blended. Transfer mixture to a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring halfway, until golden, about 16-19 minutes. Let the granola cool on the baking sheet.
- To make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and honey until emulsified. Season with a dash of sea salt and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper.
- To prepare the kale: Use a chef's knife to remove the tough ribs from the kale, then discard the ribs (or feed them to your dog!). Chop the kale leaves into small, bite-sized pieces. Transfer the chopped kale to a big salad bowl. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt over the kale and massage the leaves with your hands by lightly scrunching big handfuls at a time, until the leaves are darker in color and fragrant.
- To assemble the salad: Drizzle in the salad dressing (you might not need all of it) and toss well, until all of the kale is lightly coated in dressing. Add the sliced strawberries and chopped radishes, then use a fork to crumble the goat cheese over the salad. Toss again, then sprinkle with a couple handfuls of granola. For best flavor, let the salad rest for 15 minutes before serving (this gives the dressing time to soak into the kale).
Massaged kale. What. Massaging the kale helps make the leaves more palatable, flavorful and fragrant. Don't worry, you won't hurt the kale in the process. :)
Why buy organic Conventionally grown strawberries and greens, like kale, tend to be high in pesticides, so it's best to buy organic berries and greens.
Make it vegan: Add diced avocado instead of goat cheese. Use agave nectar or maple syrup in place of the honey. Skip the egg white in the granola, but keep an eye on the granola near the end of baking. It might be done a couple minutes early.
Make it gluten free: Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats.
Storage suggestions: This salad keeps well, refrigerated and covered, for a day or so. Store the granola in an air-tight freezer bag in the freezer. It'll keep well for a couple of months. It's good on salads, with fruit, as a snack, on yogurt, etc.
Recommended equipment: My Oxo salad spinner helps get all of the water off greens. Watery greens repel salad dressing, which makes for a not-so-great salad.
If you love this recipe: You'll also love Deb's kale salad with apples and pecans, my kale, clementine and feta salad, Asian chopped kale salad, spinach, strawberry and quinoa salad and honey almond granola. Also check out How Sweet Eats' avocado citrus crunch salad with oat croutons.