A delicious Fall Kale Super Salad, with Brussels sprouts and broccoli, combined with apple, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds.
I know it’s not officially Fall, but for me, Fall starts on the day after Labour Day. This salad is my welcome to the most wonderful season and is perfect for early Fall. It’s also a riff on the popular “Super 7” salad kit.
I learned that it was so popular from my daughter, who spent the summer working as a cashier at a local grocery store. She brought one of the salad kits home after work one day, because she figured it must be one heck of a salad if so many people were buying it. According to her, this kit shows up in 80% of grocery orders! And it was pretty good. But at $4-$5 a bag and not really being one for salad kits, I decided that I’d make my own version.
My salad features Paula Red apples, which are the first of the Fall apples to show up at the market here in Ontario. Dried cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds are added for more Fall-themed goodness. All of that is combined with kale and finely chopped Brussels sprouts and broccoli. It’s all topped off with a quick and easy homemade creamy poppy seed dressing. Oh … and I threw in a bit of chopped, cooked bacon, as well, because I had some in the fridge and well, everything’s better with bacon, right?
Cook’s Notes for Fall Kale Super Salad
This recipe will make one really large, two good sized or four side salads.
You can prepare the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate. The greens can be chopped and refrigerated ahead. Dress and dice/add the apple just before serving.
Be sure to give your kale a good massage (see below) before adding to the salad. It makes all the difference when using fresh kale in a salad!
How and why to massage kale for your salad
Kale is a delicious, healthy green, but can be tough and bitter, especially when it comes to salads. To transform your kale in to salad-ready goodness, simply give it a massage.
To massage kale, simply tear off the leaves, discarding the stem/rib portions and scatter on a cutting board. Add a sprinkling of salt and start rubbing the kale leaves against the cutting board. You’ll notice your kale will shrink and become a darker green and you massage it. You are also releasing the natural sugars in the kale, so to know when you have massaged long enough, just do a quick taste taste shows to test if the bitterness has disappeared.
Fall Kale Super Salad
- 2 cups chopped kale
- 6-8 Brussels sprouts chopped
- 3-4 florets broccoli chopped
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds/pepitas)
- 1 small apple cored and diced
- 1 slice (optional) bacon, cooked and chopped
Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing:
- 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
- 1 tsp poppy seeds
- Pinch salt/pepper
Make poppy seed dressing: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl or jar. Whisk or shake vigorously until combined and creamy. Refrigerate if not using right away.
For the salad: Prepare greens. For the kale, remove leaves from stem. Discard stem (it's very bitter!). Chop kale leaves in to bite-sized pieces and scatter on a cutting board. Sprinkle with a little salt and rub/massage the kale for a minute or so, until it softens and darkens. Add kale to large bowl. For the Brussels sprouts, remove bottom 1/3 of sprout. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice sprout, turning it on to the flat side after a few slices and continuing to slice until it's all sliced. Add to the bowl with the kale. For the broccoli, remove several florets and finely chop both the flower ends and the stalk. Add to the bowl.
Add the dried cranberries and roasted sunflower seeds to the bowl. Dice apple (I don't peeand add to the bowl. Drizzle some of the salad dressing over the salad and toss. Add more dressing as needed.