salad

Kale and Wild Rice Salad

If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be eating kale, I would have laughed in your face. My sister-in-law had gotten on a kale kick during college one year and insisted on putting so much kale in all of the smoothies over Christmas break. That was one thing that none of use could get behind at the time.

However, we moved to Utah, and discovered Cubby’s. It is seriously one of my all-time favorite fast-service restuarants. The first time we went, I ordered the kale and wild rice salad on a whim because it had a lot of other things besides kale. So I tried it, and ever since I have never been able to order anything else without being disappointed. I have since converted others to this delicious salad.

While we are on the subject of favorite things at Cubby’s, let me put a plug in for their sweet potato fries. GET THEM. I used to hate sweet potato fries thinking they were a poor excuse for fries, usually served mushy and soggy. These are hands down the best you will ever have. If you wind up ordering them, make sure to order the maple dipping sauce for the side. It takes amazing fries over the top.

Back to this salad, if you have a thing against kale, give it a try anyways! If prepared correctly, the kale is tender and so tasty. There are so many other items in this salad too, that the kale is merely just a small part of the salad.

The balsamic dressing is the perfect amount of acidity that balances out the sweetness of the apples and craisins. The goat cheese adds a creamy texture that you just can’t get with any other cheese. So if you have something against goat cheese, get over it and try it again on this salad!

This recipe will make 4 large servings. I like to double it, so I have it prepared for the week and can eat it for my lunch. Even my husband who hates salad, has been known to convince a few others to try this!

Kale and Wild Rice Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 4 cups chopped kale
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2/3 cups craisins
  • 2 large apples, preferably honeycrisp
  • 1 large avocado
  • 4 oz. goat cheese crumbles
  • 3 cups seasoned, cooked chicken
  • For the Dressing
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vineger
  • 1 TBS dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp diced garlic
  • 2 TBS honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Cook wild rice according to package directions. For a little extra flavor, I’ll sometimes add in a chicken bullion cube to the rice while it is cooking. Once the rice is cooked, chill it until it is completely cooled. Make sure to cover the rice, so it doesn’t get hard and crusty in the fridge.
  2. To prepare the kale, cut the kale off of the stem, and finely chop into small pieces. Rinse and pat dry, or run though a salad spinner to release all of the extra water. Now this is the most important step to working with kale. You have to massage it. That’s right, massage. Squeeze the lemon juice on top of the kale, and with your hands, rub the juice into the kale leaves. Your kale will go from a dull green to a bright green. This will help make it more tender and easier to chew.
  3. Finely dice your apples, avocado, and chicken and then combine all of the ingredients into a large bowl and mix until everything is evenly distributed.
  4. In a small blender combine oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, garlic, and dijon mustard. Blend until creamy, about 1 minutes.
  5. Divide salad into 4 portions and serve with dressing. Refrigerate any extras as it will keep well for up to 1 week.

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