This guest post is from our favorite ladies, Natalie and Holly, over at The Modern Proper. Their mission is to reinvent proper for the modern homemaker, one delicious meal at a time. Check out more of their delicious recipes here.
It should come as no surprise that I love fall. It’s pretty much a given that everyone does though, right? I think if there was anyone left who didn’t they’d feel shamed into keeping it to themselves. Besides the fact that where I live in the Northwest we have the most gorgeous autumns you can imagine (I’m talking trees ablaze in color, crisp air, sun-shining, Nora Ephron feel-good type weather), we also have the most incredible seasonal produce that just begs to be created into warm dishes shared with family and friends. This time of year I pull out my oversized dutch oven and keep it constantly filled with something bubbling, stewing, or braizing for dinner. However, it’s now been several weeks since the glory days of summer have passed. My family and I have settled into our routines and had our fill of rich and savory meals, and it’s always about this time that I start to crave something a bit more fresh in our dinner routine. I could just whip up a simple green salad to have on the side, but where’s the fun in that? I try, as often as possible, to eat seasonally. Not only does it allow me to buy food that’s grown closer to home, it gives me the opportunity to teach my children about what’s in season and how it’s grown. When we eat the same thing throughout the year (regardless of whether its winter, spring, summer or fall) we are inevitably not buying local and we can easily become disconnected with our food and take for granted all the work that goes into growing it. (Am I the only one who thinks way too much about this stuff?) Plus, it’s just more fun to create meals that reflect the season we are in, which is why this autumn kale salad is my go to this time of year.
Apples, homemade (healthy) candied pecans, pumpkin seeds (double points if you harvest those babies yourself after carving with your kiddos), goat cheese, and a simple apple cider dressing add a whole lot of flavor and crunch to this kale salad. It pairs beautifully with just about anything you can think up, but throw in some grilled chicken and this salad easily stands on its own as a meal unto itself. My kids love helping me make this one, chopping the apples, sprinkling the pumpkin seeds, and getting messy hands crumbling the goat cheese. I know kids and salads aren’t exactly BFFs, but I’ve found that when my children help me make something, they tend to take ownership of it and become much more enthusiastic about it. Also, serving the elements of the salad to them separately and deconstructed on a plate helps. And bonus, the leftovers make for the best lunch the next day. Soups? Yes. Stews? Yes. Everything rich and cozy and comforting? All day, every day this fall! But also, this autumn kale salad...because sometimes you need fresh and this is the way to do it. Autumn Kale Salad
Serves 4 Ingredients: Apple Cider Vinaigrette
2 tbsp mayonnaise ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar 1 tbsp dijon mustard 2 tbsp honey 1 tbsp olive oil ½ tsp sea salt Freshly ground pepper to taste Honey Candied Pecans
1 cup pecans 2 tbsp honey Autumn Kale Salad
2 bunch kale, stems removed, roughly chopped 2 honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced (or favorite apple) 4 oz chevre goat cheese ¼ cup pepitas Honey pecans Apple Cider Vinaigrette Method:
For the dressing combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth. In a small skillet over medium heat add pecans and honey. Cook stirring constantly, making sure pecans are coated. Once honey starts to bubble or foam, cook for 1 more minute. Transfer pecans to parchment paper and allow to cool completely. To assemble salad toss together all ingredients along with dressing and serve immediately. Enjoy!