This is a delicious and festive salad, which is a hit with people who don’t even really like kale.  It does take a lot of chopping, though, so I tend to make it as a party take-along dish.  Chopping aside, it is super easy to make, and pairs well with practically anything.

Ingredients:
– 1 bunch lacinato or Tuscan kale, central rib removed, shredded
– 1 small red, orange or yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
– 1- 2 green onions, finely chopped
– 1/2 firm but ripe large avocado, finely chopped
– 1 mini cucumber, finely chopped (optional)
– 1/4 c. wild dried blueberries*
– 1/2 c. rough chopped pecans

For the dressing:
– good quality extra virgin olive oil, to taste
– good quality fruity dark balsamic vinegar, to taste
– salt

Directions:

1. You’ll want to use a sharp heavy knife to shred the kale as finely as you can.  This allows the dressing to penetrate the kale, which softens the texture and increases the penetration of the dressing.  (I like to mix the dressing in with my hands and massage it into the kale.)
2. Add all the other ingredients, toss well, and season with salt to taste.
3. This can be made in the morning, and set aside for later.  It’s also very good the next day, if you happen to have left-overs.

Substitutions & Additions:
– If you can get an assortment of the mini bell peppers, it’s lovely to use all three colors in this salad; they really “pop” against the deep green of the kale.
– You can use dried cranberries in place of the blueberries.  You will need to chop them up a bit, as they are larger in size than the blueberries, which are *available at Trader Joes.
– Chopped walnuts or cashews are possible substitutes for the pecans.  But the buttery flavor of the pecans is really good in this, so do give them a try!
– If your budget will stand it, pine nuts also work well.
– I love to add a little leftover cooked wild rice to this.

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