I have been on a mission as of late to tweak and tweak this fabulous Kale Salad with Pears, Macadamia Nuts and Ponzu.  I have finally stopped tweaking, and I offer this up for you to tweak yourself.

Inspired by a kale salad with persimmons, pickled beats, candied almonds and creamy ponzu that I enjoyed with my good friend at Talde in Park Slope, Brooklyn, this salad ends up being pretty different than its inspiration.  Basically, I hate beets with a vengeance; I could not find persimmons anywhere in Fairfield County; and I still have no idea what he put into his dressing (Admittedly, it was a long wait and a cocktail or two were enjoyed before I even sat down at the table).  But what I did keep was the brilliant idea of mixing crispy baked kale chips with raw oil-rubbed kale, nuts and something sweet, along with a salty ponzu dressing.

While undergoing the tweaking process, I came to understand that you can make your own ponzu by combining soy sauce, citrus juice (I used meyer lemon), mirin, rice vinegar and sometimes kombu (a type of seaweed).  I nixed the seaweed because well…I didn’t have any in the house and kept forgetting to find it in the odd aisle at Whole Foods.  I also added in some honey, grapeseed oil, sesame oil and a pinch of cayenne to make  my own version of ponzu vinaigrette.  I made this several times to get the proportions right and, admittedly, I am still working on it.

The real key to this salad though — and pay attention — is to toss the raw kale, nuts and pears with the dressing.  And only at the very last minute toss in ever so lightly the baked kale chips.  Otherwise, the dressing drags down your chippies and you defeat the purpose of making the kale chips in the first place.

Kale Salad with Pears, Macadamia Nuts and Ponzu
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
  • 10 oz kale
  • 1 tbsp oil plus 1 tsp more for massaging
  • ⅓ cup macadamia nuts
  • 1 pear, very thinly sliced
Ponzu Vinaigrette
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seed oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp meyer lemon juice
  • 2 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp honey
  • pinch of cayenne
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
  2. Toss 5 oz of the kale with 1 tbsp olive oil and sea salt. Place in oven for 20-25 minutes, turning once about ⅔ of the way through cooking, until kale is crispy
  3. Massage 1 tsp of olive oil into remaining kale and let sit for 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, toast the macadamia nuts stove top in a frying pan until slighly browned. Then coarsely chop.
  5. Add macadamia nuts and pear to the massaged raw kale.
  6. Meanwhile, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and add to the nuts, pear and raw kale.
  7. Right before serving, toss in the baked kale chips.



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