Healthy Holiday Salad: Kale with Pecans and Cranberries


This green and red kale salad looks a lot like Christmas. Thinly sliced kale, dried cranberries, raw pecans, and shaved red onion make a festive mix of flavors, colors, and textures. Packed with fiber, antioxidants, and the good kind of fat, this salad is a healthy addition to any meal, whether you're celebrating a holiday or not.

Black kale goes by several other names: Tuscan kale, Lacinato kale, and even dinosaur kale. It's my favorite variety because the flat leaves are easiest to clean and chop. If you prefer curly kale, feel free to substitute that. If you need to bulk up this salad or you want to add another shade of green, add some finely chopped celery leaves from the center of the stalk.

If you're avoiding dried fruit for any reason (maybe you have prediabetes or you're on a detox), in place of the cranberries use fresh pomegranate seeds or Kalamata olives quartered lengthwise.

Make this salad 20 minutes or more in advance to give the kale time to marinate and soften. If you want to eat it right away, take a moment to massage the dressing into the leaves, which will have a more immediate softening effect.


  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground peppercorn
  • 1 bunch black kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup shaved red onion
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans

  1. Grate the garlic and zest the lemon directly into the bottom of a large glass, ceramic, or stainless steel bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice along with the mustard and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Whisk everything together until smooth, then stream in the olive oil and continue whisking until combined. Taste it for seasoning and make any necessary adjustments.
  2. Add the kale, onion, and cranberries to the bowl and toss them thoroughly with the vinaigrette. Set the mixture aside for 20 minutes or more.
  3. Just before serving, toss most of the pecans into the salad and scatter the rest on top.


JC said…
I tried this recipe doubled but added too much salt, so I mixed in some organic red quinoa...super tasty!