2016 was the year that I finally boarded the persimmon train. I know, I know: those of you who were early adopters are shaking your heads in bewilderment that I’ve made it this far in my adult life without falling in love with persimmons, but there you have it. I’d always walk right past the overflowing heaps at the farmers’ market with the mistaken assumption that they were really bitter, but after finally trying a great one, I realized the problem: I’d never tried a perfectly ripe, perfectly in-season persimmon, and finally getting my hands on one was a game changer.
*photos by kate lesueur
And so, this salad was born from my new obsession and the resulting excess of persimmons crowding my countertops. (When I find something I like, overkill’s my middle name.) But really, how can you say no to that absolutely breathtaking shade of orange?
I consider this to be the perfect lunchtime salad. It’s packed full of energy-inducing superfoods: hearty kale for loads of vitamins and minerals, a big scoop of quinoa adds plant-based protein, and avocado and walnuts load it up with those yummy good-for-you fats.
And did you know that pomegranate seeds are more than just stunningly beautiful? They’re full of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and beacoup antioxidants… and in case you needed another reason to eat them, some people say they’re a powerful aphrodisiac.
Mmmmkay, so we’ve talked about massaging kale around here before, but it begs repeating. Do not, I repeat do not even think about skipping this step. There are few things I despise more in this world than ordering an undermassaged kale salad in a restaurant, and I wouldn’t wish that rough scratchy leafage on any of you. If you need a refresh, watch me massage kale here.
And my famous maple-tahini vinaigrette! Okay maybe it’s not famous yet, but it feels that way to me because I talk about it constantly. Nutty and bright and sweet, it adds just the perfect flavor-packed something to make this salad feel complete. I also love that it calls for exactly 1 tablespoon of all ingredients, so I can easily mix it up without having to consult a recipe.
Would love to hear if y’all make this salad! Also – any persimmon virgins out there? Let me know in the comments, then take my advice and go scoop some up before they’re gone — their season ends in February!
- 1 head curly kale, destemmed and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups perfectly cooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- 1 large (or 2 small) ripe fuyu persimmons, sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
- 1 bunch fresh mint, chopped
for maple-tahini vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375, and spread out walnuts on a baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or so, until the walnuts start smelling toasty and begin turning golden brown. Remove and let cool, then roughly chop.
- Meanwhile, place the chopped kale in a large serving bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, and use both hands to vigorously massage the kale until it starts to soften and break down, about 1 minute.
- Fan the avocado slices on top of the kale on one side of the bowl, then repeat on the opposite side with the persimmon slices. Sprinkle the mint, goat cheese, walnuts, and pomegranate seeds over the top.
- Make the vinaigrette by combining all ingredients in a jar — shake to combine. Drizzle vinaigrette all over the salad, then finish with a pinch of flaky salt. Eat!