Food

Strawberry Kale Salad with Nutty Granola Croutons

I keep expecting someone to come and offer to cut my lawn when they knock on my door. Of course, for a charge, which I will cheerfully pay. But nobody has yet knocked. Only my grass is getting longer. And there is no way I’m going to get a mower and cut the grass myself. What should a girl do?

Most likely, Google “lawn service.” However, I must admit that the lush green carpet outside my window makes a beautiful backdrop for my culinary photography. My view from my previous flat was limited to a parking garage and the windows of random people. My yard is currently filled with weeds, but if you squint, it just appears to be a nice, consistent green. I now have large, green trees.


Before I go on with the local bunnies and squirrels, we should talk about this salad. (They are widespread!) This salad has completely captured my attention. I essentially modified Deb’s kale salad for spring. Instead of using apples, I used strawberries, changed the dressing’s lemon juice for apple cider vinegar, and kept the radishes for some spiciness and crunch. I finished it all off by adding salty, nutty granola clusters that serve as croutons. Salad with granola? Believe me.


The idea for savory granola appeared in the April issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. Bon Appetit is often packed with smart suggestions, but the April edition was especially strong on that front. When I came across their recipe for savory granola, I had already marked up a number of pages. Savory granola was described in the headnote as a recent restaurant fad. Well, if all the cool kids are doing it, I reasoned, then I guess I should make some too.

Also read: Asian Brussels Sprout Slaw with Carrots and Almonds

Contrary to my usual practice, these granola “croutons” are a welcome addition to any salad. It’s basically a good idea to add some freshly toasted, seasoned nuts to salad. especially in light of how well-balanced strawberries and oats are. (What else pair strawberries nicely with? Pizza.)

The egg white bound the nuts and grains together into massive clusters the first time I made the granola. It didn’t seem to change much the second or third times I prepared the granola. Now I’m wondering if it’s because the first time I baked the granola without lining the baking pan with parchment paper, like I did on the second and third occasions. Does anyone have knowledge about this? This issue needs to be resolved once and for all, please!

INGREDIENTS

Kale salad

  • 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)

Lemon honey mustard dressing

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (about 1 small lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon smooth Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons honey
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Nutty granola “croutons”

  • 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

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).