Kale, Brussels Sprout and Radicchio Salad with Candied Pecans

This may be a very unpopular opinion, but I think every Thanksgiving table needs a bright and vibrant green salad.  Hear me out.  This belief comes from years and years of research and competitive eating on Thanksgiving.  Hard work, but somebody has to do it. When you include a crunchy and acidic salad to break up all the richness, you can actually eat more, which let’s be honest,  is my goal on Thanksgiving.   

I think I go through about 5 pounds of butter on the big day, so this refreshing salad is always a welcome break from butter and cheese laden gratins, stuffings, rolls and gravy.  It serves as a welcome palate cleanser between bites of all of the Thanksgiving classics and the beauty of it really brightens up any holiday table. Plus, you can assemble this salad completely (dressing and all!) up to one day in advance, and it actually gets better as it sits!

The key to any delicious kale salad is to make sure you give it a really good massage to break down some of the tough fiber and improve the texture of the greens, so don’t skip out on that step. I hope you all make this salad and are able to get thirds on mashed potatoes as a result!

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: easy
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    For the Candied Pecans:
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 2 cups whole pecans
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • For the Maple Citrus Vinaigrette:
  • 1 shallot, minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (juice of 2 medium oranges)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • For the Salad:
  • 2 bunches Lacinato kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 whole pomegranate (about 1 1/2 cups arils)
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese


To make the candied pecans, preheat the oven to 325˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, beat the egg white until foamy. Add sugar, salt, smoked paprika, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cayenne and stir until well combined. Add the pecans and fold into the egg mixture until they are evenly coated, then add the melted butter and toss to coat. Spread the nuts into an even layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool until crisp. Once crisp, roughly chop up one cup and reserve leftovers for another use.

To make the vinaigrette, add shallot (if using) to a small bowl and cover with orange juice. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in apple cider vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper and maple syrup. Slowly stream in the olive oil while whisking. Mix until emulsified.

To assemble the salad, add kale to a large mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. Massage the kale until it begins to soften and turn bright green, 3 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts, radicchio and vinaigrette and toss until all of the greens are well coated. Add pomegranate arils, cranberries and Parmesan cheese and toss until evenly distributed.

Transfer salad to a serving platter or bowl and top with chopped pecans. Salad can be assembled (dressing and all!) up to one day in advance.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

  1. I’ve had the bourbon shortbread cookies and they taste like a true “Old Fashion”.

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