Superfood Crunch Salad with Homemade Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette

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This past year was easily my most memorable on record. It started with finding out we were expecting early in January, then it was a move and a several month house renovation (I do not recommend this while pregnant, hah), my first cookbook released in March, September brought the birth of our baby girl, and in November the launch of a new business – most of these things were going on at the same time throughout 2014, including nurturing and growing this recipe blog and a new baby blog. I know I’m forgetting some things. My head is spinning just thinking about everything that happened. It was a complete whirlwind with many unexpected highs and inevitable lows, but I leave the year feeling extremely grateful with many lessons in hand and a heart filled to the brim.

The greatest blessing of my life happened this year – the birth of our daughter – and in the blink of an eye my entire life was changed for the better. I don’t know how I ever lived without this smiley, charming, squirmy baby girl. During late winter and early spring, in my first trimester, I had major anxiety about how I would handle my role as a parent. Had I made the right decision? How would I balance being a parent and my career? It kept me up at night with worry. I was never the girl who just knew I’d be a mother some day. All my friends would talk about their baby fever and I couldn’t relate at all so I started to think that I just wasn’t cut out for it. Maternal instincts seemed foreign and babies scared the bejesus out of me. For real! I felt so awkward around them. But over the years, gradually, we decided it was something we both wanted and that fear was the only thing holding us back. I guess the uncertainty was to be expected though. There were many low days during my first trimester (many of which were likely hormone driven) – including Sketchie’s heartbreaking diagnosis and subsequent treatment – but thankfully my doubts faded as the pregnancy went on. The moment Adriana was placed into my arms, I knew everything was how it was always meant to be. I just knew we’d figure it out. I’ve struggled with the desire to control things in my life for so long and finally, I learned how liberating it can feel to just take things as they come. You hear people say it all the time, but I honestly never knew my heart could love someone so much. That kind of intense love is an extremely powerful motivator – there’s no more questioning, you just do what needs to be done and that’s that.

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The New Year is shaping up to be a busy one once again, but my growing baby is a refreshing reminder that the smaller moments in life are the best. They are what make me truly happy. I’m trying to embrace the little (yet powerful) things more and let other things slide when they need to. It’s not easy. I’m hoping 2015 brings more inner peace, balance, and calmness, but I will have to do the work to make that happen because as we all know, it just doesn’t magically fall into place; whatever it is that we want only comes with a lot of hard work and perseverance. Oh, and laughter. You need that ingredient for success. Not to mention, realizing that nothing will ever be just right all at the same time…and that’s ok.

Thank you wonderful people for coming here each week and making this work that I do so very rewarding. For caring about my stories, embracing new recipes, and sharing a glimpse into your own life. I am constantly amazed by the beauty of your words and the stories you share with me. I wish you all the best that 2015 has to offer, including healthy, veggie-filled meals that renew your excitement whenever you sit down for a meal.

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In the spirit of a fresh start, let’s cue the token salad recipe to kick off another year of healthy, feel-good recipes! I’m going to skip the whole “oh I’ve been eating too many sweets and need to eat more veggies” spiel (totally true though) and just get to the recipe because its a good one!

I’ve never been one to think that a salad should be a punishment food. A good hearty salad is a cause for celebration. Call me crazy, but I tend to get as excited about a good salad as I would a rich dessert or sheet of cookies. Or a pan of roasted brussels sprouts, for that matter. It’s the small things, it really is.

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5 from 30 reviews
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Superfood Crunch Salad with Homemade Balsamic Apple Vinaigrette

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, no bake/raw, nut-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

By

Shredded Lacinato kale is tossed in a tangy balsamic, apple cider, maple, and garlic dressing and then topped with sliced pear, pomegranate arils, pepita, hemp, and black sesame seeds, and large flaked coconut. Whenever the dull winter weather has you feeling blah, whip up this vibrant dose of nutrients and you'll be feeling better in no time.

Yield
3-4 small bowls
Prep Time
Cook time
0 Minutes

Ingredients:

For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
  • 8-10 cups destemmed and shredded Lacinato (dino) kale (2 bunches)
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced and chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/4 cup pepita seeds
  • 3-4 tbsp large flake coconut
  • 1-2 tbsp hemp hearts
  • 1-2 teaspoons black sesame seeds (optional)
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Adjust to taste if desired.
  2. Remove all of the stems from the kale leaves and compost the stems (or if you are hard core you can save them for smoothies). Finely chop the kale leaves into tiny "shredded" pieces. The smaller the more tender the leaves will feel. Wash and spin dry. Place kale into a large salad bowl. You should have about 8-10 cups of kale for this salad.
  3. Toss the kale in all of the dressing until everything is coated nicely. The kale will reduce in volume substantially.
  4. Add the toppings (as much as you want - I recommend lots!), sprinkle with cinnamon, and serve immediately. Or let the dressing marinate the kale for a half hour or so. This salad is best served fresh, but it will keep chilled in the fridge for a day. if you don't think you will eat that quickly, I recommend making a half batch at a time or simply store the kale and dressing separately until ready to mix and consume.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

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Judy Spicer January 17, 2017
Recipe Rating:

Love the salad.
Can’t have kale. Any suggestions other than spinach or romaine?
Thanks, Judy

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Reply

Elizabeth September 26, 2016
Recipe Rating:

This is quite possibly the best salad I have ever tried! Just so yum and a wonderful combination of flavours, will definitely be a regular for me! Thank you :)

Reply

Angela Liddon September 27, 2016

So happy to hear you enjoyed it, Elizabeth!! :)

Reply

Tonya July 18, 2016

I went into this recipe with such good intentions. I ended up being unable to find pear, pomegranate, and the seeds. I ended up putting carrots and sunflower seeds to accommodate. I loved the coconut and cinnamon in it, something I never would have those to add. Great tips!

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Connie April 22, 2016
Recipe Rating:

Delicious and easy! As someone else mentioned, I served it with roasted potatoes as a side dish and it hit the spot for dinner on one of those weird Southern California days where it was very hot and then suddenly pretty chilly in the evening.

Reply

Tonya July 18, 2016

I didn’t even think of doing a side of roasted potatoes, but you’re right, that would be a perfect fit. Definitely graduate it from a lunch to a dinner option.

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Rhianna January 27, 2016
Recipe Rating:

Just made this and it was absolutely delicious – new favourite recipe! Definitely going to be having this for lunch quite frequently, such a perfect blend of flavours and textures and it was surprisingly filling too! Have made up a bottle of the vinaigrette to store but next time will probably use a smaller clove of garlic – used quite a large one and could definitely taste it! Everything else was perfect however, 5/5 stars.
Thanks for a brilliant recipe!

Reply

Angie January 4, 2016

Love it! I wondered about the coconut, but with the dressing it was great.
Because of the asian pear/pomegranate along with the nutty taste of the hemp seeds, I’m going to leave the garlic out next time. Otherwise, 5 stars!

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Erin October 29, 2015
Recipe Rating:

This was delicious!!! I ended up subbing out kale for spinach, since that was what I had on hand, and it was perfect! The vinaigrette was divine! I plan on making this salad again for the approaching holidays! Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Brooke July 9, 2015
Recipe Rating:

I have been in a food rut, but this recipe made me feel inspired! I made salad in a jars for the week with the salad plus pearl barley with roasted beets & butternut squash. Envy of the office! Thank you for being consistently amazing!!

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Janine May 15, 2015

I made a rice salad with veggies and used this dressing and it was amazing. I just cooked a brown rice quinoa mixture that I got from costco and added veggies like cucumber, peppers, peas, green onions, thin red cabbage, dried cranberries and chick peas. I topped it with hemp hearts and pumpkin seeds. Thanks for the recipe

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vicky April 29, 2015
Recipe Rating:

Just tried this super crunch salad this evening and it’s awesome! I used roasted flaked almonds instead of coconut though as i happened to have those on hand.
Thanks for sharing this recipe

I’m canadian but I live in Oz now and I,m stoked to see your cook book is available here :-)

Reply

Monica April 27, 2015
Recipe Rating:

Angela,
This salad is amazing. I travel a lot and try to stay where I have a kitchenette. It beats eating out but the kitchen implements limit what I can make. This salad was such a treat to be able to make on the road. I always feel so much better when I can eat whole foods while traveling. All your recipes are wonderful. Thank you for all your hard work!

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Jen March 9, 2015
Recipe Rating:

Hey Angela,

I’ve tried a lot of your recipes since I decided to eat Vegan back in June of 2013. My favorite has to be the Buddah Bowl! OMG! Delish!
But this dressing has to be one of the best home made dressings I’ve tried in a long time!

Thank you for sharing all these amazing recipes! I think I’m finally going to break the bank and buy your book!

Looking forward to many more amazing recipes,

Jen

P.s. Do you ever find yourself craving things that arent vegan? (i.e. Cheese has to be my biggest struggle, everything else i could take it or leave it). How do you handle that? My experience, with cheese substitutes anyways, is there just not the same.

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ChanaGoanna February 23, 2015

Just had this for dinner tonight! I only had one bunch of kale so tossed in some spinach as well. I subbed sunflower seeds for pepitas as that’s what I had on hand, and left out the pomegranate seeds since there were none to be had. Wow! We will be eating this one again and again! So delicious..and I am not normally a fan of kale salads. Great recipe!

Reply

terrykins February 21, 2015
Recipe Rating:

Love this salad. Thanks for sharing

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