A vibrant, healthy massaged kale and blood orange salad. Finished with crunchy pecans! Gluten free, dairy free and vegan friendly.
They're nutritious, delicious and all over my social media feeds... blood oranges! I don't know if I've just succumbed to all the advertising or if it's totally true love, but I'm going through a bit of an obsession. Blood oranges are just so darn pretty. And tasty. And I love their pop of brightness in this vibrant kale and blood orange salad.
Rather than just pop them on top of my granola bowls, I thought I'd get a bit more creative with blood oranges. So, enter this Massaged Kale and Blood Orange Salad! Other than lemon, I don't often use citrus in salads, but it's a beautiful combination. Juicy bursts of sweetness all throughout the salad, adding texture and so much flavour.
I still find the concept of "massaged kale" quite hilarious, but it's actually I think the best way to enjoy kale uncooked. Straight up raw kale can be too rough and unpleasant, plus a bit tough on digestion. By massaging the leaves in olive oil and lemon, they break down just enough to become much more palatable. Plus the olive oil and lemon adds a great taste! It's perfect in this blood orange salad.
To add yet another texture to my blood orange salad, I've also added in a handful of pecans. I LOVE pecans. You can add them raw or toast them before adding to the salad. And if you can't get a hold of pecans, I think walnuts or chopped almonds are also pretty awesome in this blood orange salad too. Combined with the quinoa, they also add a little protein boost.
Serve this salad as a light starter dish, or top it with your favourite protein to make it more substantial!
Massaged Kale and Blood Orange Salad
- 250-300 grams kale (curly kale) - about one small bunch
- 2 blood oranges
- 1 bulb fennel
- 1/2 cup quinoa measured uncooked (I used black quinoa in the salad pictured)
- 1/2 cup pecans raw and unsalted
- 1 lemon
- 3 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 x salt & pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup for a vegan version
- 30 min
- 30 min
- Prepare the quinoa according to packet instructions. I usually rinse mine and then cook by the absorption method (half cup of quinoa with a cup of water, simmered partially covered for 15 minutes and then left to "steam" with the lid on for ten minutes). Set aside and allow to cool.
- Next, prep the kale. Remove the tough middle stems from the kale leaves and give them a wash. Shake off the water and then place kale in a large bowl. Add the extra virgin olive oil and juice of the lemon to the bowl. Using your fingers, massage the oil and lemon juice into the leaves, until they're thoroughly and evenly coated. They will start to soften a little as you do this. Set the kale aside to sit for ten minutes or so while you get on with the rest of the salad.
- If you are toasting the pecans before adding to the salad, do so now (you can add them raw if you prefer). Roughly chop them and pop them in a pan (no oil) over a moderate heat on the stove. Gently toss them around in the pan for 2-3 minutes until they start darkening a bit, then slide onto a plate and set aside to cool.
- Prep the rest of the salad ingredients. Cut the oranges in half, cut off the skin and then cut into chunks (I usually divide into sixths or eighths). Trim the fennel and finely slice, removing any tough inedible parts. Reserve the fennel fronds for decorating the salad, if you like.
- Combine the quinoa, kale, blood orange and fennel in your serving bowl. Season with salt & pepper to taste. If you're serving right away, toss through the pecans, otherwise you can add them later so they stay more crunchy.
- If you'd like to add some extra dressing to the salad (as the kale is already dressed in lemon & olive oil), simply whisk together the balsamic vinegar and honey in a mug and pour over the salad too.
- Serve and enjoy!
*As noted above, you can swap the pecans for walnuts or almonds if you prefer. For a nut-free salad, simply omit the pecans or try swapping them for pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds!