This is the late summer version of my Summer Kale Salad. It’s loaded with juicy peaches, toasted pecans, red onions, cherry tomatoes, and crumbled blue cheese. I even used the same maple-dijon vinaigrette from the original kale salad, since I love it so much.
When I walked into my neighborhood farm market last week, I was overwhelmed by purples and oranges, and couldn’t get the vision of this salad out of my head. I filled my basket with purple-veined kale (aka Russian Red), purple scallions, sungold cherry tomatoes, rosy-skinned peaches, and raw milk blue cheese. Back at home the kale was thinly sliced, all the extras were chopped, roasted, and crumbled, and the dressing got shaken up in a pint jar. Easy, super flavorful weeknight dinners are what it’s all about.
Did you know the majority of the peach crop across New England was destroyed by a late spring freeze this year? I’ve been sad about it all summer, but I am especially feeling the absence of local peaches now that their harvest time is upon us. Eating a warm, ripe peach off the tree is one of my favorite summer moments; the juice dripping down my hands and into the grass is somehow welcomed, and we leave the farm with more peaches than two people should reasonably be trusted with. We usually stock our freezer every year with local peaches, but this year there are none. I know its strange to mourn the absence of a fruit, but I’m really sad about it.
With no local peaches to choose from, I bought a couple of them that came from New Jersey. It wasn’t the same, but this salad is so full of flavor and texture that the peaches can be forgiven. The sweetness of the peaches and sungold cherry tomatoes balances out the tangy dressing and pungent blue cheese, while the buttery, nutty pecans add the perfect crunch and rich flavor. A little hint of spice from the red onions ties it all together.
If you’ve been searching for a quick, easy, flavorful salad for the end of summer, you can end your quest right now. While I was inspired by the purples and oranges at the farm market, you should feel free to use whatever is looking the most beautiful and fresh in your area right now! I’m already envisioning the transition into fall will lead me to top my kale salads with roasted delicata squash and dried fruit. Mmm, I actually can’t wait for that salad, either.
I hope you love this kale salad as much as I do. Clearly, you’ll be seeing it again with whatever I happen to find in the market each season. If you’re planning ahead for the workweek, you can divide this salad into several containers for lunches, and just drizzle on dressing as you walk out the door in the morning for a super simple, flavor-packed lunch. If you make yourself a big kale salad this week, let me know! Comment below or tag me #bakedgreens on Instagram so I can see how you top your kale salads!
- 1 bunch of kale, or about 10-12 large leaves (I used Russian Red, but any variety is fine)
- 1 ripe peach, thinly sliced
- 1/2 a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved (I used sungolds, any variety is fine)
- 1/2 a red onion, thinly sliced (or the bulbs of 4 purple scallions)
- 4 ounces blue cheese
- 1/2 cup pecans
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 1. Toast pecans in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 8 minutes, or until starting to brown. Remove from pan and set aside to cool.
- 2. Remove stems from kale, and thinly slice the leaves. Add the leaves to a large bowl. Top with peach slices, halved cherry tomatoes, sliced red onion, crumbled blue cheese, and toasted pecans.
- 3. Put all dressing ingredients into a small mason jar or bowl. Shake/whisk to combine, then pour over salad. Serve immediately, though leftovers are still good up to 1 day later if dressed. Without dressing, salad will last for 4-5 days in the fridge. Pecans will be crunchiest if left off the salad and added when ready to serve, if you're making this several days in advance.