This autumn kale pomegranate salad is a bright, hearty and deeply nutritious cool weather recipe! It’s sweet, crunchy, and full of gorgeous color. Ready in just about 30 minutes, this is one of our go-to paleo side dish recipes for fall.
A few weeks ago, Cam casually suggested that it might be a super fabulous idea to do another Whole 30. With a newborn. It must be the lack of sleep, or the baby brain, but I agreed, and here we are. Yes, I know – we are nuts, but you probably knew that already. We did one back in July 2015 and it was rad. While it took awhile for our bodies to adjust, once they did we felt fantastic. We also tried out tons of new recipes, which is always a bonus.
Given Kid 2.0’s arrival, our general situation is a little different this time around, so we decided that it would be in everyone’s best interests to do a modified version. We’re keeping a limited amount of dairy (mostly cream for our coffee) and some alcohol (a little wine, a little bourbon, maybe some gin). It’s the Dirty Whole30! While we desperately need a dietary reboot, we’re not stupid – newborns and survival necessitate palatable coffee and the occasional alcoholic indulgence (on the practical side, we learned from our reintroduction phase during our previous Whole30 that our bodies tolerate high-fat dairy and alcohol really well, so we feel okay about keeping them).
The first few days have been a bit bumpy because I fell down hard when it came to planning, but I dusted myself off and got cracking in the kitchen and whipped up this gorgeous (and insanely tasty) kale pomegranate salad last night, served alongside chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. There are approximately 1.2 billion recipes for chicken with 40 cloves, but my absolute favorite is Saveur’s version with fresh tarragon. The only mod I make is to substitute white wine for the vermouth. It’s perfect. It’s also quick and easy, and let’s face it – that’s what really matters here.
My mother was in town for a visit when I made this recipe. When I mentioned we were having kale pomegranate salad, she was decidedly unimpressed. But even the staunchest kale-haters in your life will love this sweet salad, as evidenced by mom’s empty plate at the end of dinner. This salad can be served immediately, but the texture is markedly improved by a few hours (or overnight) of fridge marinating. Technically you don’t need any fancy kitchen equipment, but a hand held julienne peeler will just make your life a lot easier. You can get one on Amazon for less than $10. It’s one of those little indulges that I swore I’d never purchase (hello, that’s what knives are for!) but now use all the time.
Kale Pomegranate Salad Recipe Notes
This kale pomegranate salad is everything that a fall salad should be – bright, colorful, hearty, and deeply nutritious. I tossed the kale with shaved brussels sprouts, red cabbage, and fennel, then topped it off with poppyseed dressing for a kick of sweetness. Pomegranate seeds, super crisp apples and pepitas make for a satisfying crunch in every bite.
This salad is super customizable to your palette, although I strongly recommend keeping the pomegranate seeds because they add that little extra bit of dazzle that makes this salad really special. The apples can be swapped for pears, spinach for the brussels, or even romaine for the kale if you just cannot. Just be sure to substitute crunchy for crunchy and soft for soft to maintain the balance in texture.
This kale pomegranate salad is paleo, Whole 30, naturally gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan. How’s that for keepin’ all bellies full and happy?
Looking for another outstanding fall salad? Try this kale and apple salad with charcoal grilled cider brined chicken. The salad is delightful, but that chicken? It’s out. of. this. world.
Kale Pomegranate Salad with Apple, Fennel and Pepitas
- 1 large bunch lacinato kale (tuscan kale), thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound brussels sprouts or about a bag of shaved brussels sprouts from Trader Joe's
- 1/4 head red cabbage thinly sliced
- 1 small fennel bulb julienned
- 1/4 cup paleo poppy seed dressing see Notes for recipe
- 1 crispy apple such as honeycrisp, julienned
- 1/4 cup pepitas roasted and salted
- 1 pomegranate seeded
- sea salt to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
Thinly slice the kale and red cabbage and toss into a salad bowl. With a very sharp knife, cut each brussels sprout in half, then thinly slice crosswise to shred, and add to the kale and cabbage. Trim the stalks from the fennel, peel off the tough outer layer with a vegetable peeler and then cut off the root end. Halve the bulb, core it, and then thinly slice and add to the remaining vegetables.
Toss the kale, cabbage, fennel and brussels with the poppy seed dressing. At this point, you can either move onto the next step, or let the veggies marinate in the dressing for several hours or overnight. The acid from the dressing will break down the tough vegetables a bit, although they'll still remain crunchy.
When you're ready to serve, cut and core the apple, then julienne using either a knife or hand held julienne peeler. Halve the pomegranate and remove the seeds.
Top the slaw with the apples, pepitas, and pomegranate seeds. Lightly toss, and then dust with salt and pepper to taste.
I again turn to Saveur, this time for their Poppy Seed Dressing because why re-invent the wheel. This recipe is divine and cannot be improved. To make it paleo, I subbed 1/4 cup raw honey for the 1/2 cup white sugar. If you prefer your dressing on the sweeter size, sub with up to 1/3 cup honey.
To make the dressing Whole30 and/or Vegan, substitute two dates at the same time you add the remaining ingredients to the saucepan.
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