Chopped Kale Salad With Pears, Gorgonzola, & Candied Walnuts


Everyone needs a solid holiday salad recipe in their repertoire—one that your family and friends beg you to bring to Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve dinner. For me, this is it. A massaged kale salad with pears, gorgonzola, radicchio, pomegranates, candied walnuts, and red onion that also happens to be so brilliantly colored I’ve taken to calling it my “Holiday Jewels Chopped Kale Salad.” (Kale has never sounded so festive, amiright?)

Holiday feasting tends to rely on bigger, bolder flavors: braised short ribs, a rosemary-studded pork loin, a decadent pasta… so I like a salad that can hold its own against these other standout dishes. Sturdy, deeply flavored kale is the answer, and it gets bonus points for its ability to hold up, fully dressed, for hours without getting soggy. In fact, it actually gets better with time to sit and soak up all the flavors, which means you can prepare this salad completely in advance, pop it in the fridge, and forget about it. So, let’s talk about the building blocks of this salad and break down what makes it special—and how to ace it for your upcoming holiday gatherings.

What type of kale should I use?

When it comes to kale, you’ve got options. Classic curly kale, Lacinato (or Tuscan or dinosaur) kale, Red Russian, or other heirloom varieties are all delicious, but for this salad, I like a 50/50 mix of curly kale and Lacinato kale. I love the different shades of green and textural variety that this mix provides, plus when you throw in the radicchio ribbons, it’s a full-on bitter greens dance party.

How do I make kale taste good?

Okay people, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’re not massaging your kale, it’s time. But before you do that, you’ll want to strip the leaves off the tough ribs, stack up those leaves and give them a chop into ribbons, then put them in a bowl and drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil. Use both hands to vigorously massage the kale for about a minute until it shrinks in size and becomes silky sweet and bright green. Now you’re ready for all those brilliantly beautiful toppings.

The jewel-toned salad toppings

For this salad, presentation is key. Although I love using simple ingredients all year round, the holidays are the time to put a little extra care into how you layer and bring them together visually. This dish is a true delight for the senses, and it’s an understated way to bring in the traditional Christmas-y color palette (no red and green sprinkles required!) Here are the key add-ins that make this salad sing:

My favorite mustard-shallot vinaigrette

Just like you need a go-to chopped kale salad recipe in your repertoire, you also need a solid mustard vinaigrette recipe that you can keep in your fridge for all your salad needs. This is the one I always turn to. I’ve tweaked and adjusted it countless times throughout the years, but the building blocks are the same: dijon mustard, garlic, vinegar, onion or shallot, honey, and olive oil. It’s sweet, acidic, creamy, and when blended together, lightly coats each leaf of kale just like a great salad dressing should.

This holiday jewels chopped kale salad is gorgeous, nourishing, and so satisfying—and we haven’t even talked about all the health benefits that these vividly hued beauties bring to the table, but we’ll save that for another day. For now, scroll on for the recipe, and tag us on Instagram @camillestyles if you give this salad a try!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here