Spinster Sister's spring wilted kale salad

Summer salad? Swap beets with cherry tomatoes. Yum!


Serves 6


1 bunch baby beets

1 orange

1 sprig thyme


Pickled onions:

1 lg red onion, julienned

1 cup red wine vinegar

2 tbs sugar

1 tbs salt

½ cinnamon stick

1 tsp black peppercorn

1 tsp red chili flake



1 2 lb loaf country-style bread

2 Tbs olive oil


Mustard vinaigrette:

2 Tbs dijon mustard

1/2 shallot, peeled and diced

1 tbs lemon juice

1 tbs white wine vinegar

3/4 c canola oil

¼ c extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper



3 bunches lacinato kale (also called dino kale or tuscan kale), destemmed and washed

¼ c fresh goat cheese 

¼ c diced applewood smoked bacon

salt + pepper



Preheat the oven to 400°.

For the beets: Discard the greens from the beets and then wash well.  Place the beets into a baking dish with the juice of one orange, ¼ c water, 1 tbs salt, and a sprig of thyme.  Cover with foil and place into the oven for 20 minutes, or until tender. Remove, let cool, then rub the skin off with a towel.  Quarter the beets and set aside.

For the pickled onions: Place red wine vinegar, ½ cup water, sugar, salt and cinnamon stick, peppercorns, and chili flake into a pot and bring to a boil.  Add the red onion and simmer for 5 minutes.  Scoop out the onion onto a plate in the fridge, and cool the pickling liquid.  Add the onions back into the liquid when cool, and place the onions with liquid into a re-sealable container. (Can be made ahead and will keep for 2 weeks in the fridge). 

For the croutons: Raise the oven temperature to 425°.  Remove the crust from the loaf of bread and discard.  Cut the bread into ½ dice pieces.  Toss the bread with 1 tablespoon canola oil, salt and pepper and place onto a baking sheet.  Place into the oven and toast until golden on the outside, but still tender on the inside 5-8 minutes.  Remove the croutons and cool.

For the mustard vinaigrette 

Makes 1 ½ cups can store for up to 2 weeks in the fridge

Add the shallots, white wine vinegar and lemon juice to a bowl with a pinch of salt.  Allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Add the mustard and whisk to incorporate.  Slowly drizzle oil into the bowl while whisking to keep emulsified.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

For the salad:

Roughly chop the kale into 2 inch pieces. Prepare the mustard vinaigrette and hold to the side.

Heat a large sauté pan and add ½ tablespoon olive oil and add the bacon.  Cook over medium heat until beginning to crisp, stirring occasionally.  While the bacon is cooking, get a large salad bowl, and add the baby beets, the croutons, the goat cheese and ¼ cup of the red onions. Add ¼ of the mustard vinaigrette.

Once the bacon is crisped, add the chopped kale to the pan.  Carefully toss with the bacon and drizzle with a few drops of water.  Continue to toss as it begins to wilt- and once it is just warmed through- scrape the kale and bacon into the salad bowl.  Toss with tongs until the dressing thoroughly coats the kale and the cheese begins to soften.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Divide evenly among 6 plates.