Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas

Glorious, glorious kale salad.

I know, it’s been a “thing” for years now, but I honestly can’t get enough!

This is the… fourth… kale salad recipe on the blog, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Easy Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas

The twist on this kale salad is the way the tender leaves are cut.

Rather than just tearing them up into pieces, the leaves are sliced cross-wise into thin strips, kind of like a thick chiffonade.

This makes the salad ultra tender and easy to eat.

Kale Salad Recipe with Cranberries, Pepitas, and Garlic Breadcrumbs

You know what’s even easier?

You don’t have to whisk a dressing for this salad!

Simply drizzle with fresh lemon juice & olive oil, and call it a day.

The extra pops of flavor come from sweet-tart dried cranberries, salty pepitas, savory Parmesan cheese, and homemade buttery garlic breadcrumbs.

The flavor combos are amazing.

This kale salad with cranberries and pepitas is definitely going on my Thanksgiving menu this year!

Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas Recipe

 

5 from 1 vote
Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas
Kale Salad with Cranberries and Pepitas
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches lacinato kale, washed, stems removed, leaves cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly ground sourdough breadcrumbs made by pulsing sourdough sandwich bread in a mini food processor
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shaved parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries (without sulfites)
  • 3/4 cup roasted salted pepitas
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Add the thinly sliced kale to a large salad bowl and set aside. 

  2. Next, add the butter to a small nonstick skillet and warm over medium heat until melted. Add the fresh breadcrumbs, and cook, stirring frequently with a spatula, until the breadcrumbs are nice and golden brown and starting to crisp up. When fully golden and crisp, turn off the heat and stir in the garlic powder and salt. Then remove from the pan to a large plate to cool in one flat layer. 

  3. While the breadcrumbs cool, add the cheese, cranberries, and pepitas to the kale. Pour the juice of 1 lemon over the top, and drizzle the salad liberally with extra virgin olive oil. Toss well to combine. 

  4. When the breadcrumbs are cooled, sprinkle them over the salad and toss again to combine. Serve right away. 

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Grilled Zucchini with Mint, Lemon, and Feta

Grilled Zucchini with Mint, Lemon, and Feta | ericajulson.com

Something about the recent time change has me in a GREAT mood.

I mean, a few extra hours of sunlight each day does wonders for this woman 🙂

I’m probably jumping the gun here… it’s only mid-April… but I’m already busting out the grill pan and pretending it’s summer!

And one of my favorite parts about summer, is hot veggies fresh off the grill.

They get that delicious char on them, remain crisp tender, and are SO easy to make.

Grilled Zucchini with Mint, Lemon, and Feta | ericajulson.com

Since grilled veggies have so much flavor on their own, I like to keep it simple.

Just a simple vinaigrette, and maybe a little cheese tossed in there, and you’re good to go.

For this recipe, I’ve tossed my grilled zucchini with lots of lemon, fresh mint, and crumbed feta cheese.

It’s a perfectly balanced bite.

You’ve got the fresh pop of lemon, creamy tangy cheese, and the palate-cleansing fresh mint.

And one of the best parts?

It’s ready in just 20 minutes. Winning.

Grilled Zucchini with Mint, Lemon, and Feta | ericajulson.com

 

Grilled Zucchini with Mint, Lemon, and Feta
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Servings: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut on the bias into 1/2 inch thick slices
  • olive oil, for grilling
  • sprinkle of kosher salt & ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces crumbled feta cheese
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh mint
Instructions
  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over high high heat.

  2. Place the sliced zucchini in a medium bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Toss with your hands until all the zucchini are evenly coated with oil and salt and pepper (make sure you use a generous amount of oil, or else the zucchini will stick to the grill!)

  3. Add half of the zucchini to the grill (you'll probably need a grill basket) or grill pan. Grill for a few minutes on each side, until the zucchini is nicely charred but just tender. Remove to a large bowl & repeat with the second half of the zucchini.

  4. As the zucchini cools, whisk together the lemon zest, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh mint. Pour over the warm zucchini. 

  5. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the zucchini & toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin Served on Small Plates

Let’s be honest here.

Decadent potato dishes are one of the best parts of holiday meals.

Mashed potatoes drenched in gravy, gooey cheesy potatoes au gratin, or crispy golden latkes served piping hot off the stove.

Potatoes are a corner stone of the holiday meal, providing an anchor between the light salad and heavy roasted meats.

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Au gratin potatoes are a classic in my family.

We have a tried and true 1950’s recipe in which thin slices of potato are mixed with a creamy beschamel sauce, topped with shredded cheddar and breadcrumbs, and baked until gooey and golden.

It’s delicious, BUT, dare I say, I’ve found a way to make it better.

Baked Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

By adding cauliflower!

I know, it sounds crazy, but adding cauliflower does two amazing things:

  • It adds a new texture to a typically one-note dish.
  • It boosts the nutrients in the dish, adding some extra fiber and heart-healthy flavonoids.

Cauliflower works particularly well in this gratin, because it manages to blend right in with the creamy potatoes.

It’s the same color, and has a pretty mild flavor, so if you don’t tell anyone, they might not even know it’s in there! (Perfect for the secret veggie haters in your life).

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

I also upgraded the original recipe by using a mixture of Gruyere and Parmesan cheeses instead of plain Cheddar, and using extra crispy panko breadcrumbs seasoned with garlic and thyme instead of traditional breadcrumbs.

The final upgrade?

Baking the gratin in a wide 9×13 baking dish so that each serving gets plenty of the garlicky crispy topping. I mean, that IS the best part of a gratin, right??

Seriously, this dish will be the star at your holiday party. You should probably make it.

And everyone will love you for it.

Close-up of Cheesy Baked Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Cheesy Potato and Cauliflower Au Gratin
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 5 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Author: Erica Julson
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs russet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 lbs cauliflower, cut into 1-inch florets
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided for 2 uses
  • 2 cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 oz gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 3 quart (9x13 inch) baking dish and set aside.
  2. Cut the russet potatoes in half crosswise and add to a large pot of water. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are just tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. When they are fork tender but still have some resistance, scoop them out of the pot with a slotted spoon and place on a plate to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, place the cauliflower florets in a small pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add an inch of water to the bottom of the pot, cover, and bring to a boil. Steam the cauliflower until just barely tender, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the cauliflower from the steamer basket and spread out on a plate or tray to cool.
  4. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, carefully peel off the potato skins and discard. Cut the potatoes into a 1-inch dice and set aside.
  5. In a small nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter. Add the panko breadcrumbs and cook over medium-low heat until golden. Stir in the garlic powder, salt, and thyme and remove from the heat.
  6. In a large nonstick skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter over low heat. Add the 1/4 cup flour and whisk until smooth. Keep the heat low to prevent the butter from browning or the flour from burning and cook until the roux is bubbly and barely a light golden color.
  7. Whisk in the heavy cream and milk. Continue whisking over low heat until the sauce is thickened and coats the whisk when removed from the pan. This shouldn't take more than 5 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon ground black pepper and remove from the heat.
  8. Place the cubed potatoes and cauliflower in a large mixing bowl. Pour the creamy white sauce over the vegetables and toss with a soft spatula until evenly coated. Dump the creamy vegetable mixture into the buttered casserole dish and shake to spread out the mixture evenly. Sprinkle with the Gruyere cheese followed by the Parmesan cheese, and finally, top with the breadcrumb mixture.
  9. Bake uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Let rest for a few minutes and serve.

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