|This and all photos courtesy of Nif Leder.|
It may be on the cusp of winter in NJ, but it seems that I am not the only one who tries to hold onto Summer well into the fall. One of my co-workers does the same thing. I was in the library's staff kitchen the other day, polishing off the previous night's leftovers while glancing around at everyone else's lunches. Then my eyes landed on Nif's salad.
Greens kale layered amongst shredded chicken, nuts, blueberries and dried cranberries, topped with a poppy seed dressing. It was such a work of art that I asked Nif if she wouldn't mind a small favor and provide the recipe. And take a few photos. And write all about her salad for my blog. Just a very small favor.
The timing on Nif's dish was fortuitous. This month's Improv challenge theme happens to be red and green. Nothing I made or planned to make this month used both colors and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to participate in the linkup. But the red dried cranberries and the green kale make this recipe perfect for the linkup! So without any more blabbering on from me, here is Nif's guest post.
It seems for me that during a magical time in the fall, sometimes you can spot fresh blueberries pop back up, and then disappear just as quickly. Well folks, the grocery store gods have released the last of the season's blueberries in my neck of the woods (I swear they keep them in hiding until the cravings return), and this salad is my favorite way to feature them and remain immune to the germs! The antioxidants inside are just what I need to keep going strong through the start of cold and flu season, and help to get through the gray days of November and December. All you need is a little more than a handful of these little blue gems, but save it for the topping, to be the pop of sweetness in an otherwise kale and endive, crunchy compilation.
For mine, I put the salad in, made a hole in the center, filled it with shredded chicken breast, sprinkled pecans (crumbled in hand) and shelled pumpkin seeds throughout to add a bit more protein, in addition to chicken, but that is optional of course. For vegans and veggies alike, or not needing a powerhouse of protein, omit the chicken and add more nuts, and if need be simply swap out one kind of nut for another. Then add in dried cranberries and top with poppy seed dressing. I prefer Brianna's brand.
Note from Oh! You Cook!: Briana's poppy seed
dressing.is dairy-free, but does not have a
hechsher (kosher certification) ... there are
a few kosher brands available, or keep reading
for a link to a quick from-scratch version.
We return now to Nif's post.
Well I hope you enjoy my throwback to warmer weather, and by the end you too may just be able to pretend that there is still full foliage outside, and bring back a little sweetness and sunshine into your life, or at least your lunch table.
Still Holding Onto Summer Kale Salad - Easy
Yield: 1 main serving
2 1/2 - 3 cups of kale and (optionally) endive, rinsed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 (6-8 oz.) cooked chicken breast, shredded
3 Tbl. poppy seed dressing (store bought or from-scratch)
1/4 cup pecans (add more if going veggie)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 Tbl. shelled pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup blueberries, rinsed
In a salad bowl or lunch plate, layer ingredients in order listed. Serve immediately.
Pro-tip: If using chicken, drizzle the poppy seed dressing directly onto the chicken, and let it soak into the salad from the top down. It serves as a quick and dirty marinade of sorts and deliciousness increases exponentially.