I like to call this the calm before the storm.

Crispy Kale Salad I howsweeteats.com

The clouds before the rain.

The “like” before almost all of my words.

Crispy Kale Salad I howsweeteats.com

The salad before dinner.

The balanced dish before the cupcakes. And cake. And brownies. And cupcakes

Crispy Kale Salad I howsweeteats.com

The last, oh… MONTH of my life and the lives of those around me.

As I simultaneously lost my mind and remained relatively calm when I decided that no, I would not have an I-like-to-think-I-am-Kim-Kardashian-style birthday party because I am a normal person and not a participant on My Super Sweet Sixteen.

Otherwise known as my last day in my twenties.

I’m just gonna let that marinate for a bit and eat a lot of green stuff for 12 hours or so to make up for the copious amounts of sugar and booze I will be consuming for the next four (five?) days. I.can’t.wait.

Crispy Kale Salad I howsweeteats.com


Crispy Autumn Kale Salad

Yield: serves 2

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes


1 large bunch of kale, torn from stems and torn into pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh apple cider
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 shallot, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 honeycrisp apple, diced
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup pomegranate arils


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place kale in a large bowl and massage olive oil, apple cider, 1/8 teaspoon salt, nutmeg and pepper into for 1-2 minutes. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 10 minutes. Toss well and roast for 5-10 minutes more, until slightly crispy but not golden.

While kale is roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat and add bacon. Cook until crispy and fat is rendered (about 2 minutes), then remove with a slotted spoon and let drain on a paper towel. Add the shallot, garlic, sweet potatoes and apples to the skillet, tossing with remaining salt and cinnamon. You want the sweet potato and apple finely diced, about the same size as the bacon bits and only slightly larger than the pom arils and pine nuts. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft.

In a small saucepan, add pine nuts and toast over low heat for 5-6 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Set aside.

Combine kale with apples and sweet potatoes, pine nuts, goat cheese and pom arils. I don't find this needs any sort of additional dressing (the kale will not stay crispy) but feel free to add some if you'd like.

[inspired by my favorite coconut kale salad in super natural everyday]

Crispy Kale Salad I howsweeteats.com

Oh wait… maybe I can. P.S. if I like this salad, you probably will too.

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94 Responses to “Crispy Kale Salad.”

  1. #
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty — November 6, 2012 @ 8:03 am

    Like, kale chips in salad form? Holy crap! Loooove this.

    Happy birthday!!!


  2. #
    Sarah @sturjlite — November 6, 2012 @ 8:22 am

    If I have apple cider vinegar, what are your thoughts on using that instead of the apple cider?


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2012 @ 10:36 am

      hmmmm I’m not too sure but it will probably be fine. I love apple cider vinegar, but I don’t get much “fall-like” apple cider actual taste from it. that’s why I used the apple cider!


  3. #
    alyssa - life a la wife — November 6, 2012 @ 8:24 am

    When I saw the title of this post I thought you were going soft on us with all of these normal food recipes… but then I see you will be eating sweets for 4-5 days. Thats what we like to see ;) Happy 30th!


  4. #
    Kim in MD — November 6, 2012 @ 8:32 am

    Your last day in your twenties and you made a salad? You crack me up, Jessica! Actually, I’m very impressed, and I have to day this is some salad…yum! Woop it up today, and embrace being 30! Happy Birthday!


  5. #
    Heather@SugarDish(Me) — November 6, 2012 @ 8:39 am

    Oh birthday countdown salad!!! Delicious. I really thought there would be some kind of birthday party explosion when I turned 30. It didn’t happen. But I did have lots of cake. And a fair amount of tequila.


  6. #
    Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat — November 6, 2012 @ 8:45 am

    LOL! I’m assuming you’ve probably cooked up something friggin extraordinary for your actual birthday (post-kale salad), perhaps some bacon, browned butter, buttercream, or bourbon? Or all of the above? Whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful 30th birthday!


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

      I think I need to combine those 4 things!


  7. #
    Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers — November 6, 2012 @ 8:57 am

    Your funny! DO up your birthday! Do it, do it!! It’s your day to celebrate you! I treated myself to a trip to Vegas and ate at Lavo restaurant for dinner! That was my big splurge! Your salad looks delish!!!


  8. #
    Kim@hungryhealthygirl — November 6, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    What a pretty salad! I just picked up some pomegranate arils at Cosco. This will be the perfect way to use them.


  9. #
    Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) — November 6, 2012 @ 9:18 am

    This combination of toppings sounds delicious! I love that you added cinnamon – yum.


  10. #
    Mandie @ Oh So Decadent — November 6, 2012 @ 9:25 am

    I think every birthday should consist of 4-5 days of copious amounts of alcohol and sweets, but that’s just my option. Enjoy it girl, you look fab and wonderful so embrace it!

    It’s definitely a good idea to do a little ore-birthday cleanse though and post-birthday cleanse for that matter. And what better way than a kale salad :).


  11. #
    Abby@ Totes Delish — November 6, 2012 @ 9:37 am

    Live it up!! When else can you just eat and drink without abandon and have an excuse for it?!


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2012 @ 5:12 pm



  12. #
    Joelle (on a pink typewriter) — November 6, 2012 @ 9:48 am

    Life’s all about balance! :)


  13. #
    Lori @ RecipeGirl — November 6, 2012 @ 9:50 am

    Hmmm, I love kale salad, but i”m not so into the chips. I wonder if it would taste just as good raw? Looks great.


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

      I think it would if, you know… you’re into that kind of thing. Raw veg. ;)


  14. #
    Sharla — November 6, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    Happy Last Day of your Twenties!!!!!


  15. #
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — November 6, 2012 @ 10:13 am

    Oh haaayell yes. Only a few more days!


  16. #
    Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots — November 6, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    I die!!! this salad looks awesome!


  17. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — November 6, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    can we please talk about how i absolutely love to hate My Super Sweet Sixteen? my roomies and i watched it obsessively in college…

    sending you something today!!!


  18. #
    Carly @ Snack Therapy — November 6, 2012 @ 10:41 am

    Happy almost birthday, You should definitely have a My Super Sweet Sixteen-esque party, complete with a $100,000 car, a famous rapper, and six different costume changes.


  19. #
    Laura — November 6, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Very colorful…I’ll have to try it! thanks


  20. #
    Anna — November 6, 2012 @ 11:29 am

    Can’t wait to see all your Birthday treats!!! I personally use all of November to celebrate my own birthday, and you should, too. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


  21. #
    Merideth — November 6, 2012 @ 11:38 am

    Tomorrow’s my birthday too! Happy early birthday!!!! I have one more year in my twenties but I think next year I will be FREAKING out haha! P.S. This salad looks ahhh-mazing.


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

      how fun!! have a great one!


  22. #
    Morgan — November 6, 2012 @ 11:49 am

    What a beautiful salad! I love eating crisped kale on its on but in a salad! Genius!


  23. #
    Meg — November 6, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

    Oooh, I love kale — and I love loading up on greens before all the cupcakes, too. Yum!


  24. #
    Kacy — November 6, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

    I’ve been loving kale salads lately, but haven’t gotten around to making one myself yet. Maybe I’ll try this!
    Happy last day in your twenties! I’m pretty sure our thirties are going to be way better. <3


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

      I’m banking on that too. :)


  25. #
    allie@sweetpotatobites — November 6, 2012 @ 12:21 pm

    love this fall salad -and it’s the perfect starter before delicious birthday goodies!


  26. #
    Amarachi — November 6, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    This salad has all of my favorite things: swee potatoes, kale, cinnamon, and apples. I think i love you Jessica. Happy B-Day in advance!


  27. #
    Channeling Contessa — November 6, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    Jessica- this recipe is beyond brilliant! I can’t wait to make it. How on earth do you post recipes 5 days per week??? I’m blown away.


  28. #
    Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes — November 6, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

    Love that this has cider in it! Yummmm!


  29. #
    Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe — November 6, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

    Sounds delicious and looks pretty too! Happy early birthday! I say go all out and party hardy! ;)


  30. #
    Averie @ Averie Cooks — November 6, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

    This is the perfect fall salad. I love kale, so much. I was watching the new food network show, iron chef redemption last night (yes, that’s my kinda programming these days) but the chef went home for a bad kale salad. You would have totally won with this kale salad!


  31. #
    Ruby @ The Ruby Red Apron — November 6, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    Kale and apple cider…brilliant! What a great looking colorful salad!


  32. #
    Elizabeth — November 6, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    I’m turning 30 on Thursday. I feel like that makes us almost twins or something. Happy birthday!


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

      ahhhh love it!


  33. #
    Anne — November 6, 2012 @ 3:57 pm

    This salad looks amazing!


  34. #
    Nicki — November 6, 2012 @ 4:53 pm

    1. This salad looks awesome!

    2. Enjoy your birthday!


  35. #
    Katie @ Blonde Ambition — November 6, 2012 @ 5:03 pm

    This salad has alllllll.of.the.things! Happy almost birthday!! Have so much fun!


  36. #
    Ami — November 6, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    I love your blog, but enough with the bacon!! You make it pretty hard for vegetarians who LOVE food to make most things. Even the desserts have bacon sometimes. :-(


    • Jessica — November 6th, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

      you can easily leave the bacon out of this recipe. it doesn’t change anything… it just excludes the bacon. same goes for most recipes on my site that include bacon!


    • Lynda — November 14th, 2012 @ 8:17 am

      I hope this comment isn’t serious. I’m vegan and the recipes on this site are so easily adaptable for me, more so than any other blog that isn’t vegan. I’ve been adapting her recipes for years and they work perfectly. I don’t think you can ask her to stop with the bacon when she clearly states it’s one of her favorite things. Just leave it out, it’s really not a big deal at all.


  37. #
    Miggy S — November 6, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

    Thanks to FB I saw my friend post it on her site.. So now I’m going to make it for my wifey and I.. Can’t wait to try it.. your blog looks cool!


  38. #
    Katie — November 6, 2012 @ 5:38 pm

    Happy last day of your twenties! You should do something really irresponsible and stupid…then tomorrow when you wake up, just blame it on your crazy twenties.

    Also, I’d like this salad for dinner. Thaaaanks.


  39. #
    Miggy — November 6, 2012 @ 5:46 pm

    Thanks to FB I saw my friend post it on her page.. so now I’m going to make it for my wifey and I for dinner..Thanks and your blog looks kool :)


  40. #
    Amber @ Slim Pickin's Kitchen — November 6, 2012 @ 9:22 pm

    You know…I still haven’t tried kale chips yet, but I really want to because everyone keeps talking about them. I’m thinking that this would be the perfect way to do it…I’m scared :/


  41. #
    Jess — November 7, 2012 @ 4:03 am

    Greetings from the early 30s where life is sweet! ;) Have a fabulous day Jessica!


  42. #
    Rachael {SimplyFreshCooking} — November 7, 2012 @ 11:27 am

    Happy Belated Birthday! This looks totally yummy!!


  43. #
    Brittany — November 7, 2012 @ 10:20 pm

    I want this!


  44. #
    Heather of Kitchen Concoctions — November 7, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

    Wait you only celebrate your birthday for 4-5 days? I use the statement ‘it’s my birthday this month so I can do/have ______’ every day of my birthday month! PS This salad is beautiful!


  45. #
    Bethany — November 8, 2012 @ 12:47 am

    This was fantastic! Had it for dinner tonight. I also drizzled 1 tsp of maple syrup as my “dressing”. Family loved it- will make again.


  46. #
    Tracy — November 8, 2012 @ 4:55 pm

    This is a wonderful idea for Thanksgiving dinner, too. And, a huge HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!!! :-)


  47. #
    Sara — November 9, 2012 @ 9:47 am

    Made it! LOVED IT! I was feeling sneaky, so I added extra bacon…..


  48. #
    Amy — November 13, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    This was delicious and beautiful. I want to make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas because of how colorful it is. It’s a lot of work for a salad though, I’m not going to lie. Peeling, baking chopping, frying…for a salad! So totally worth it though.


  49. #
    Rosie — November 13, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    I’m making this right now! And while the flavors and textures are fantastic, I really think you should add that the sweet potatoes will take forever to cook if you don’t bake or boil them beforehand. Thanks for the delicious recipe!


  50. #
    Laura — November 18, 2012 @ 7:15 pm

    I just had to leave a comment because I thought this was too coincidental!
    I saw your delicious kale salad pinned by someone on Pinterest and had to check out the ingredients.
    So I was reading and you mentioned your birthday, happy belated by the way. Then I looked at the date of your post and saw that you posted it on my 30th birthday! So, you know what that means Scorpio SIster? Our moms were verrrry prego with us at the same time! Yay to us :)
    Hope the first few days of your 30’s have been wonderful!



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