This salad is perfect fall weeknight food. It is autumnal: dark green kale, crisp apples, brown almonds, and sharp, aged cheddar mingle prettily in a big bowl. Yet it is also quick, requiring no heat whatsoever and only a few bits of chopping.
It works well in a nice deep plate as a meal by itself or with bread. In a season where we usually turn to braises and roasts to fill us up, this somehow doesn’t feel like a deprivation. (Perhaps it’s the richness of the cheese and the almonds?) Yet it also shines as a side salad at a big fall dinner. (In fact, I’m not allowed to bring anything else to our Thanksgiving potluck.)
In sum: a hearty salad with easy-to-find ingredients that is attractive enough to share but sturdy enough to keep for leftovers. Put this in your rotation.
Hearty kale salad with apples, cheddar, and almonds (serves 12-14 as a side, or 7-8 as a main dish)
Adapted from Martha Rose Shulman on New York Times Cooking
20 ounces of chopped kale, thick stems removed, torn into smallish pieces (I do 2 10-ounce bags of Trader Joe’s tuscan kale)
3 sweet or sweet-tart apples, chopped (I use Pink Ladies)
1/3 cup toasted almonds, chopped
6 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup shredded or grated Parmesan
1/2 cup lemon juice (from about 4 lemons)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place kale, apples, almonds, cheddar cheese, and Parmesan in a bowl. Toss.
Whisk lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a jar. Then whisk in olive oil.
Toss however much salad you will be serving with however much dressing you would like. The salad benefits from being dressed at least 15 minutes (but up to a few hours) before serving, which gives the lemon juice time to soften the kale.