This cherry salad just might take the title of “best kale salad”. There, I said it. Because I really believe it might be one the best kale salads out there.
It’s made with not one, but two types of cherries, is flavored with fresh thyme and a killer white balsamic vinaigrette, and gets finished with diced brie (yaas!) and pistachios.
Best. Kale. Salad.
How To Make the Best Kale Salad
There are a few steps to make the ultimate kale salad. Here they are:
Tip 1: Use Tuscan Kale
I find that Tuscan kale is the ideal variety for salads. The leaves of Tuscan kale—also referred to as Dinosaur or Lacinato kale—have a bubbly smooth look to them. Those “bubbles” do a fantastic job of holding on to vinaigrettes and dressings.
Similar to regular curly kale, Tuscan kale benefits from a bit of massaging before assembling and serving. However, if you’re short on time or want to skip that step, go right ahead. I don’t find the toughness of Tuscan kale to be distracting.
Tip 2: Make a Homemade Vinaigrette or Dressing
I find this to be true for most any salad. Homemade vinaigrettes and dressings make all the difference.
My go-to classic vinaigrette is always a great choice. But for this Tuscan kale salad I opted to use white balsamic vinegar in the vinaigrette for an added dose of flavor.
Tip 3: Add an Herb (or two)
This tip also pertains to salads in general, adding fresh herbs to the mix really ups the ante! Depending on the herb, it can even take the place of some of the greens.
For this salad I add a few tablespoons of thyme, but any hearty herb, like rosemary or oregano, also work well in kale salads.
Tip 4: Add a Nut!
Kale salads benefit hugely from the addition of a nut. The crunch of a nut offsets the toughness of kale, which balances out the textures wonderfully. For this kale salad I opted for pistachios because they pair well with cherries and brie. However, you can choose whatever nut you like best. Almonds, pecans, pepitas, and pine nuts are all great options.
Tip 5: A Little Sweetness
I like to add a sweet component to just about any salad, but this kale salad in particular has quite the presence of sweetness. Instead of using just one sweet ingredient, I’m using two—fresh and dried cherries. Fresh cherries offer a mild fruity flavor while dried cherries add a much sweeter and “in your face” component to the salad.
Tip 6: Last But Not Least…Cheese!
I think all salads need cheese. But then again I have an addiction.
Feel free to use whatever cheese you like. A few of my favorites are; gruyere, chèvre, Pecorino and of course, brie.
I chose brie for this salad because it pairs well with cherries, but also because the creaminess offers a textural reprieve from the tough and heavy textures of the other ingredients.
How to Serve Cherry Salad
This salad makes a great side dish but can also easily be served as a main dish salad.
As a side dish, serve this cherry salad with:
As a main dish, add:
Kale & Cherry Salad with Brie
- 8 cups torn Tuscan kale, or one 10-ounce bag
- 1 cup pitted and halved bing cherries
- ½ cup chopped dried cherries
- ½ cup (2 ounces) diced brie
- ¼ cup chopped pistachios
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon minced fresh garlic, from 1 medium clove
- ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper
- Toss together kale, cherries, dried cherries, brie, pistachios and thyme.
- Whisk together oil, vinegar, shallot, Dijon, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper for the vinaigrette.
- Divide salad between serving dishes and drizzle with vinaigrette.