Kale Salad with Feta, Pecans, Cranberries and Pickled Onion Dressing: Salad Betrayal

SN – I forgive you and take you back.

All lovers in love have heard that sappy saccharine quote, “If you love something set it free and if it comes back to you, it was meant to be.” I recently had an experience that made me think of that quote over and over and I questioned the veracity of those words.
One of my good friends loves my many kale salads. Every opportunity I have, I try and give her a kale salad to satisfy all her cravings. She always eats it with such relish and such willingness that in my head I was sure I had her undying devotion to my kale salads.
However, a few weeks ago, I was stunned to receive this text from her. “I cheated on your kale salad.” Turns out she went to a local grocery store and PURCHASED A KALE SALAD BEHIND MY BACK! I am a jealous woman so I did not respond well.  I was stunned. I was shocked. I was hurt and part of me died a little. How could she go so easily to another kale salad when she had mine almost as much as she wanted? 
I sent a series of texts back to her.
You’re disloyal.
You don’t deserve my kale salad.
It’s over.
You can’t ever get my kale salad again.
You’ll never see any piece of my salad again.
She kept on interjecting in between my rant with empty words.
I liked yours more.
Yours tastes better.
I can’t eat any other kale salad except yours.
I’ve learned my lesson. 
I’ll never stray away from your salads again.
I shut off my phone and refused to hear anymore from her and her useless words about how she would never stray from my kale salad again.  But in the night, I discovered that separating her from my kale salad out of pure spite and stubborness hurt me more than it hurt her.  
The next morning I texted.
I forgive you.  My kale salads forgive you.
I’m happy to say that she went away from my kale salads and came back to them, so it must be meant to be.  My head was sure that she wouldn’t stray, but now my heart knows she won’t.  This harsh test of our relationship proves that we have what it takes to make it all the way, as long as my kale salad is involved.
To celebrate our reunion over kale salad, I made this new one for her, which has the exciting addition of pickled onions in the dressing, which just adds the right sharp and sour bite to a wonderful salad.  It touches on the Greek salad with the feta, but the richness of pecans mixed with the hearty kale just makes a truly satisfying salad.  I’m confident that this salad will also help you maintain loyal relationships with those around you.

Kale Salad with Feta, Pecans, Cranberries, and Pickled Onion Dressing
Serves 3 to 4

3 medium bunches Lacinato/dinosaur kale, washed and rinsed well, finely chopped (8 cups chopped)

½ cup finely chopped red onions
¼ red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼  cup extra virgin olive oil
¼  teaspoon fine grain sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 cup pecans (small pieces are fine, as you’ll be processing them anyways)

½ dried sweetened cranberries
¾  cup crumbled feta cheese

If you’ve never dealt with dinosaur/lacinato kale, you’ll need to remove the stem before trying to eat it.  I’ve found the fastest way is to simply grab the stem with one hand, and with the other, start at the base of the leaf, and it a quick motion, strip the leaf upwards until the stem is left stripped.  I save the stem and chop it finely and put it in my vegetable soups.   I find it much easier to wash the kale after the stem has been removed.  Wash, dry very well in a salad spinner, and then shred.  The smaller the shred, the better the texture in the salad.

In a large jar, add chopped red onions.  Pour red wine vinegar and sugar over onions and shake vigorously so as to coat onions with vinegar sugar mixture.  Add olive oil, salt, and pepper and set aside until rest of the salad is done, so that onions have time to pickle.  It’s okay if the dressing separates and the vinegar stays around the onions because it aids in the pickling process.

Preheat oven to 300.  Lay pecans on a cookie sheet.  Cook until fragrant and lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.  Chop nuts finely, using a food processor.  Set aside.

In a large salad bowl add shredded kale, pecans, cranberries and feta cheese.  Pour dressing over salad and toss.  The salad should get enough of the pickled onions for the full flavor.

Serve.  Because of the sturdy nature of kale, you can actually dress this salad and serve even 30 minutes later and it’s still delicious, although my preference is to eat it immediately.

Printable recipe

This salad demands and commands loyalty.

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