Kale Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

6 people
17 min

One of the best year around salads to make is a Kale Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette. Julienned kale pairs perfectly with bacon.

I have to admit to you that I was a little slow to jump on the kale train. I tried it once years ago, and got a few large sized fork fulls of the tough, chewy green and was instantly put off. I didn’t care much for the texture, and because of this, it seemed to overpower the other ingredients.

I decided then to not give it another chance for months, if not, years.

Fast forward a few years later, I was at a holiday party that a friend of mine hosted. She worked tirelessly on the passed appetizers that she served, with a few containing kale. But let me tell you a little bit of a back story with the hostess: she watched your every move. She watched to make sure you would try each and every appetizer, and pretty much lock her eyes on you to the point where you had no option than to fake it after you ate it. Even if you didn’t like the app, you faked it and acted like it was the most delicious thing you’ve ever eaten.

Though at the time I didn’t like a single one of those appetizers made with kale, the thought never escaped my mind of sometime down the road, taking this iron-filled ingredient into the test kitchen, and turning it into a recipe that I proved to be a stand out delicious and easy dish.

Bringing you up to present day, a warm bacon vinaigrette was swirling around in my head. One of my favorite salad dressings, it proves to be too heavy of one for delicate greens. I’ve poured it over baby spinach leaves many times, but my challenge with this was that the spinach would hinder on limp-y by the time we were ready to eat it. The vinaigrette was a little too heavy for the spinach. I needed to find a green that could take on the warm bacon vinaigrette and not wilt after being drizzled by the dressing.

That’s when the thought of kale resurfaced. Certainly kale could stand up to the heavy-ish warm bacon vinaigrette, but I didn’t want the kale to be torn in bigger pieces. I wanted a hearty salad, but in smaller, bite size fork fulls. Like, julienning the kale, then adding complimenting ingredients, all fitting on the fork for the perfect bite.

So I gave it a shot. I cut the ribs out of each kale leave, washed it and then dried each leaf with paper toweling. Stacking the leaves then rolling into a cigar shape, I then julienned the kale and placed it in a bowl. From here, I added strong ingredients that could hold their own paired with this hearty ingredient: dried cranberries, crumbled blue cheese, homemade crumbled bacon, and candied pecans.

Delish! Delish! Delish!

I took the warm bacon vinaigrette recipe my Mama always made, and modified it into my own, adding a tablespoon of apple cider and a tablespoon of honey. Both turned to be key players in the vinaigrette, even in their small amounts.

Kale Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette

Kale Salad With Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Recipe details
  • 6  people
  • Prep time: 7 Minutes Cook time: 10 Minutes Total time: 17 min
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  • 4 slices bacon
  • 3 Tbsp bacon fat
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 head kale
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup store bought candied pecans
  • 1/2 cup homemade crumbled bacon pieces

Cut bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.
Sauté in smaller fry pan over medium heat until starting to crisp. Remove from heat.
With a slotted spoon, remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towel lined plate.
Remove all but 3 tablespoons bacon fat from sauté pan.
Add minced garlic to reserved bacon fat and heat over medium low heat for one minute. Add remaining ingredients and stir with a whisk until well combined.
Warm until the vinaigrette is completely heated through and steaming. Do not boil.
Cut the ribs from each leaf of kale.
Rinse kale in cold water, and dry thoroughly.
Stake the kale leaves on top of each other, then roll into a cigar shape. Take a knife and julienne. Place kale strips in a bowl.
Add dried cranberries, blue cheese, candied pecans and crumbed bacon to kale.
Drizzle warm bacon vinaigrette over kale salad and toss to coat.
Can be served immediately or even at room temperature. Both have their virtues.
Farmhouse 1820
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