Festive Kale & Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette & Candied Rosemary Pecans

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Last Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to make a three course meal. I made a cream of pumpkin soup and this kale salad. They were both huge hits. (Maybe I’ll remake that pumpkin soup and post it here too!) It turned out to be a lot of food though; almost everyone was full after the soup and salad. Note to self: When you’re going to be eating your fill of casseroles and turkey, you don’t need two courses before that. 

The secret to making a great kale salad is to massage the kale… sounds kinda weird, but once you’ve tried it, there’s no going back. Massaging the kale helps to tenderize it and ensure that the dressing gets in every crevice. Massaged kale salad can be make with just about any dressing. You can use a creamy avocado dressing, basic vinaigrette, or whatever your favorite dressing might be.

Kale & Beet Salad with Orange Vinaigrette and Candied Rosemary Pecans
Serves 7
Light and simple, this crowd-pleasing kale salad can pass as a salad course or a main dish.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
20 min
208 calories
9 g
4 g
19 g
2 g
3 g
60 g
100 g
7 g
0 g
16 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 208
Calories from Fat 163
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 3g
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 12g
Cholesterol 4mg
Sodium 100mg
Total Carbohydrates 9g
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 7g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
For the Salad
  1. 1 bunch of kale (about 7 ounces)
  2. 1 beet
  3. 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary (1-2 teaspoons ground)
  4. Crumbled feta or blue cheese (optional)
  5. For the Dressing (yields a scant 3/4 cup)
  6. 1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  7. 1/4 cup olive oil
  8. 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  9. 2-3 tablespoons maple syrup
  10. 1 tsp Trader Joes® 21 Seasonings Salut
  11. salt, to taste
For the Candied Rosemary Pecans
  1. 1 cup pecans
  2. 1 sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped ( or 1-2 teaspoon ground rosemary)
  3. 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  4. 1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
  5. salt, to taste
  1. For the Beets: Wash and peel the beets. Cut them inot 1/4” discs and then into bite sized pieces. I like to cut them into triangles. Add the beets to a pan with the rosemary and cover with water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil for 4-5 minutes, then cover and lower heat to a simmer. The beets are done when they are fork tender.
  2. For the Candied Pecans: Preheat oven to 325ºF. In a baking pan, add the pecans, rosemary, oil, maple syrup and salt. Mix until the pecans are thoroughly coated. Bake for about 10-12 minutes, mixing them around every 3-5 minutes. They are done when they are firm, golden brown and fragrant.
  3. For the Dressing: Combine everything but the oil: the orange juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and seasonings and adjust flavors to taste. Now add the oil. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  4. For the Salad: Wash, de-stem and roughly chop the kale. Add it to a large bowl. Add about 1/2 cup of the dressing to the kale and massage the kale with your hands. Don't be shy! Really get in there to ensure the kale gets nicely tenderized. Add salt or more dressing to taste.
  5. The Assembly: Add the beets (or you can place them on top of the kale). Top with pecans and a crumbly cheese of your choice, if desired.
  1. To de-stem the kale, hold a leaf of kale upside-down by its stem. With a firm grip, grab the stem with your other hand and pull down to release the leaf from the stem.
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