Monday, August 5, 2019

Kale Salad With Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears (Recipe)

Kale Salad With Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears (Recipe)

Summertime eating is all about fresh, vibrant, colourful fruits and vegetables. It's the perfect time of year to take advantage of nature's bounty of nourishing whole foods. California Bartlett Pears are available for just a short time in July and August - in other words, you gotta get 'em now! Not only are they a delicious, portable snack, but Bartletts from California contain antioxidants, Vitamin C, potassium and folic acid. Bartlett pears are also a good source of fibre, with 6 grams of fibre in one medium pear (a mix of soluble and insoluble fibre). And, if you're counting calories, a medium pear has only about 100 calories!

Fresh sliced pears are a lovely topping for this healthy kale salad with avocado dressing and roasted chickpeas. The crisp pear slices make a nice, crunchy contrast to the base of kale leaves and smooth, creamy avocado dressing. Read on to see just how easy it is to make this delicious kale salad recipe.

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Kale Salad With Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears (Recipe)

There are four elements to this naturally gluten-free and vegan salad - chickpea "croutons," avocado salad dressing, a kale salad base and delicious, healthy toppings. Although the recipe appears to have a lot of ingredients, they are all very simple foods that you are likely to have in your kitchen. The process to make this kale salad is also simple. The order in which to make the various elements is fully broken down in the recipe for your convenience, but basically you start by roasting chickpeas, then prepare the avocado dressing recipe while the chickpeas are cooking. Then, while the roasted chickpeas cool, massage the kale. Onto the fun part - add the toppings, eat and enjoy!

How to make chickpea croutons 

Roasted chickpeas can be used for so many purposes - we often enjoy them in bowls along with cooked sweet potatoes, quinoa and peanut sauce. They also work well as a healthy snack to nibble on. In this kale salad recipe, roasted chickpeas act as croutons of sorts, giving a nice salty, spicy crunch. To make chickpea croutons, drain a can of chickpeas and pour the chickpeas out onto a clean, dry dishtowel. Massage the chickpeas with the ends of the towel to dry, removing and discarding the chickpea skins as you go. It's a bit of an extra step to remove the skins - and you don't necessarily have to - but it will add to the satisfying crunch in the end. Lay the chickpeas out on a parchment paper- or silicone-lined baking sheet, drizzle on olive oil and add seasonings - chili powder, garlic powder, salt and paprika. Toss with your hands to coat and bake for about half an hour, until the chickpea croutons are crispy. Easy!

Kale Salad With Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears (Recipe)

How to make avocado dressing

The creamy avocado dressing is even easier to whip together - simply add ripe avocado, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, fresh basil, dijon mustard, salt, pepper and water to a mini food processor. Process until smooth and creamy! This tasty avocado dressing is reminiscent of pesto, thanks to a good amount of fresh basil. It's delicious on salad but you can also stir avocado dressing into cooked pasta as a pesto alternative or use it as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Kale Salad With Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears (Recipe)

How to massage kale

My stomach doesn't tolerate a lot of fresh, raw kale. Fortunately there's a fix for that. Just give your kale a nice little massage before adding the salad dressing and toppings. Massaging kale couldn't be simpler - add washed, dried, chopped kale leaves (stems removed) to a large bowl. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and drizzle on olive oil (or lemon juice if you're going oil-free). Massage the kale with your hands for 4 or 5 minutes, breaking down some of the tough fibres as you go. I like to put a timer on the stove so I don't get lazy and cut my kale's massage short. (Nobody likes a quick massage.) Once the kale massage is done, it's almost time to eat your salad.

Add the toppings

To top the kale salad, slice the pear into thin, pretty, pear-shaped slices down the full length. You can also slice the pear into thin rounds or dice it up for small bites. Add sliced red onion, dried cranberries (for a sweet treat!), walnuts and hemp seeds.

This kale salad with avocado dressing, chickpea croutons and fresh pears is a plant-based, whole foods recipe that makes a good main meal thanks to filling ingredients like chickpeas and pears. If you're really hungry, though, I recommend pairing it with my Easy Weeknight Baked Tofu, which you can cook at the same time the chickpeas roast. 

California Bartlett Pears

For more information about the health benefits of Bartletts from California, and a look at some of the family growers, visit

More Pear Recipes

Check out these delicious recipes featuring California Bartlett pears:

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Kale Salad With Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears (Recipe)

Kale Salad With Creamy Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears


Kale Salad With Avocado Dressing and Fresh Pears (Recipe)

  by Joann MacDonald
Ingredients (serves 4)
    For the Roasted Chickpeas
    • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • ½ tsp chili powder
    • ½ tsp garlic powder
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp paprika
    For the Avocado Dressing
    • 1 small avocado, peeled and cut in quarters
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled
    • 1/4 cup fresh basil
    • ¾ tsp dijon mustard
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • pepper to taste
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons water, as needed
    For the Kale Salad
    • 6 cups chopped curly green kale (stems discarded)
    • 1 tsp olive oil or lemon juice
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 large California Bartlett Pear, sliced
    • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
    • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
    • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
    • 1/4 small red onion, sliced

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).

    Make Roasted Chickpeas
    Spread chickpeas out on a clean dish towel and rub with the towel to dry. Discard the chickpea skins as they come off.

    Transfer to a parchment paper- or silicone-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Top with seasonings and mix with your hands to coat.

    Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring about halfway.

    Set aside to cool.

    Make Avocado Dressing
    While chickpeas are cooking, combine all dressing ingredients in a small food processor and blend until smooth and creamy, adding water as needed to create a smooth, slightly runny consistency. Set aside.

    Assemble Salad
    Add clean chopped kale to a large bowl. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Pour olive oil or lemon juice onto kale and massage kale leaves until they turn darker and become tender (about 4 to 5 minutes).

    Top kale with California pear slices, roasted chickpeas, walnuts, cranberries, hemp seeds and red onions.

    Drizzle with avocado dressing and serve.

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