One of my favourite weekends of the year, which just passed, is Thanksgiving. It typically encompasses several of my favourite things, like my Mom’s amazing turkey dinner with all the traditional fixings, time with family gathered around the table, leisurely walks under canopies of beautifully coloured leaves, and gratitude. However, after this wonderful Thanksgiving weekend of feasting, I was craving something a little lighter and fresher compared to gravy topped everything and extra helpings of beloved pumpkin pie. Rather, my body was asking for something  heavier on the veggie and nutrient front. This kale salad was the perfect meal to ease my taste buds back to a healthy reality. It’s full of robust flavours, completely satisfying, and will likely become one of your new favourites. I hope so, anyway.

This salad can take on several variations depending on your preferences and what you have on hand. The vegetables used in this salad – kale, brussels sprouts, and fennel – can last for several days refrigerated, making it easy to get your greens in for days ahead if you plan for leftovers. I used under ripe pears in this recipe, which are green in colour, tart in taste and particularly crunchy. However, you can substitute the pears with apples if you prefer. I really enjoyed the shrimp in this salad – but then again, I love shrimp in anything. Feel free to use a protein option other than shrimp if you like. Leftover turkey would be a natural substitution as well as hard boiled eggs, grilled chicken breast, or beans. Finally, I used a pre-mixed bag of pumpkin and sunflower seeds and dried cranberries. You can of course make your own mixture of these ingredients or create your own mix of nuts and dried fruit. You will see in the recipe that I soaked the raw shallots or onions in red wine vinegar for about 20 minutes while the salad is being chopped and assembled; this removes some of the pungency of the onion and adds a great pickled effect.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

I hope you give this one a try!

Ciao,

Sarah

Kale Crunch Salad with Shrimp

Serves: 4 (generous portions)
Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Salad Ingredients:
2 shallots, thinly sliced (or ⅓ cup (80 ml) red onion) + ¼ cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
12 oz (375 gr) shrimp, peeled
2 cups (500 ml) brussels sprouts, thinly chopped
4 cups (1 litre) kale, thinly chopped
2 cups (500 ml) fennel, thinly sliced
1 avocado, cubed or sliced
2 under ripe pears, cubed or sliced
¾ cup (180 ml) mixture of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries

Dressing Ingredients:

¼ cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar (from shallot + vinegar mixture)
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp (30 ml) dijon mustard
1 tbsp (15 ml) honey
4 – 6 T (60-90 ml) olive oil (use the the greater amount of olive oil if you prefer a less tart dressing – taste and adjust accordingly)
¼ tsp (1 ml) each salt and pepper (or to taste)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine shallots and red wine vinegar in a bowl. Set aside.
2. Season shrimp with salt and pepper and sauté over medium heat until cooked through. Once cooled chop shrimp into thirds and set aside.
3. Combine salad ingredients (including the vinegar soaked shallots) into a large bowl.
4. Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together.
5. Toss salad with dressing and top each plated salad with the shrimp.