Kale Salad with Blackberries and Toasted Coconut-Pecan Clusters (v/gf)

I used to think kale was only used for garnish. I mean, really, who eats that stuff?! I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of plain ol’ raw kale. It’s bitter and tough and has a terrible aftertaste. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to transform this super nutritious leafy green. A little lemon, a little olive oil, some salt/pepper and of course, TLC in the form of massage (yes, that’s right—massage) and suddenly kale is not only tolerable, it’s delicious. Especially when you toss in fresh blackberries and toasted coconut-pecan clusters. Now we’re talkin’.

Kale Salad with Blackberries and Toasted Coconut-Pecan Clusters #vegan #glutenfree (3) My aunt Gloria has always been the queen of gardening. Recently she told me about her abundance of kale—then she asked me what to do with it. So I rattled off a few ideas…add it to smoothies, salads of course, soups, finely chopped and “hidden” in burgers, casseroles, tacos, etc. Honestly, you can sneak kale into just about anything. If I have extra kale, I wash it, dry it, de-stem it, tear it into bite-sized pieces it and freeze it. Then I can toss a handful in a smoothie. Or toss the whole bag in a pot of soup. It’s great for juicing, too—stem and all.

So, Aunt G, this salad is for you. I hope you like it.

For those of you who are totally anti-kale, try spinach instead. And if blackberries aren’t readily available, try raspberries, strawberries or blueberries—or all of the above. Dried cherries would be great as well. No pecans on hand? Walnuts will work, too.

Kale Salad with Blackberries and Toasted Coconut-Pecan Clusters #vegan #glutenfree (5) Toasted Coconut-Pecan Clusters #vegan #glutenfree These toasted coconut-pecan clusters are amazeballs. In fact, it’s kind of hard not to eat ‘em all right off the pan. Sweet, salty, nutty, and perfectly crunchy. More, please. They would make a great hostess gift during the holidays. Fill up a small canning jar, tie on some festive ribbon and you’re good to go. Oh, and your house will smell heavenly while they are baking.

If you have trouble finding unsweetened coconut flakes, try your local health food store or order online…. 

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