Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan

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Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan is a twist on bacon-wrapped, almond-stuffed dates. Seriously decadent and delicious! 

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

File Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan under things that I am currently OB-sessed with.

The list also includes my new Kleen Kanteen (giveaway coming soon!) this Paella, becoming a router expert  (I haven’t been able to access my site through my router for 3 days – RAGE,) mug cakes, chocolate chips, chocolate chips in mug cakes, baby TOMS, adding frankincense oil to my face cream in an attempt to reduce fine lines (so far all it’s doing is making me smell like a pine tree,) Lincoln’s new obsession with growling and oh, did I mention this salad???

Holy buckets, people!

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan is a riff on one of my very favorite party appetizers, Bacon-Wrapped Almond-Stuffed Dates, which are an absolute hit anytime I make them. I thought the flavors would make a mouthwatering warm kale salad and I’ve never been so glad to be so right about anything in my entire life.

Ok, that’s a bit dramatic but seriously, l-o-v-i-n-g this combo! Part salad, part stir fry – all awesome.

Torn fresh kale is quickly sauteed with Medjool dates, Marcona almonds, and a luscious Maple-Almond Vinaigrette then combined with salty bacon and crispy shallots. Oh and shaved parmesan cheese because I legit could not stop adding ALL THE THINGS.

This salad is decadent but so worth it. Anyway, I like to think that eating this much kale practically requires me to eat all the aforementioned things. Capisce? Glad we’re on the same page.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Start with a bunch of kale. Literally! You’ll need 8 cups of kale for this salad, which is about 1 bunch.

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I used curly kale because it holds up better to heat than some other varieties. We want the kale to warm and soften slightly in this salad, not cook until it’s wilted.

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Just tear the leaves from the stems then into bite-sized pieces. You can save the stems for making vegetable stock, or for juicing!

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Rinse the kale then spin or pat dry very well and set aside.

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Next chop 5 Medjool dates. Medjool dates are chewy, sticky, and sweet. They not only make great appetizers, but are an awesome late night snack. Perfectly sweet but full of fiber and potassium too. A treat I can feel good about eating!

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If you don’t want to buy a whole package, most grocery stores sell ‘em in the bulk bins. Just slice in half lengthwise, then chop into pieces.

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Time for some heat! Add 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to a very large skillet over medium-high heat, then add 2 sliced large shallots and fry until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain then sprinkle lightly with salt and set aside. Once you taste crispy shallots on a salad, it’s hard not to add them every time!

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Turn the heat down to medium then add 3 slices chopped bacon. Saute until golden brown and crispy then remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain and set aside.

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Next, remove all but 2 teaspoons oil from the skillet (I use a spoon to scoop it into a foil-lined prep cup, then discard once it hardens,) then add the torn kale, chopped dates, and 1/4 cup Marcona almonds.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Marcona almonds are from Spain and are INSANE. Ben and I are, you guessed it, obsessed. They’re creamy, salty and, just, wow! You can usually find these babies by the specialty cheese counter at the grocery store but in case they’re nowhere to be found, or you don’t want to pay the higher price they usually command because they’re so delicious, just use sliced almonds.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Finally, drizzle in a batch of Maple-Almond Vinaigrette. That’s 2 Tablespoons each almond butter (or tahini) and balsamic vinegar, combined in a jar with 1 Tablespoon each extra virgin olive oil and maple syrup then microwaved for 20 seconds and shaken until smooth. Pour the dressing into the skillet then toss until the kale is just coated then immediately remove to two plates.

By the way, I used this same dressing in my Kale Chopped Salad with Maple-Almond Vinaigrette. It pairs incredibly well with kale.

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Top the salad with the cooked bacon and crispy shallots, and last but definitely not least, shaved parmesan cheese. Like I said – I just couldn’t help myself!

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots

and Parmesan

Print this recipe!

Serves 2

Ingredients: 
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large shallots, cut into thin rings
3 slices bacon
1 bunch kale (about 8 cups,) removed from ribs then torn into bite-sized pieces
5 pitted Medjool dates, chopped
1/4 cup Marcona almonds (or sliced almonds)
1 recipe Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette
2 Tablespoons shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions: 

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots then fry until golden brown, stirring constantly. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain then sprinkle with salt and set aside.
  2. Turn heat down to medium then add bacon to skillet and cook until browned and crisp. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain then set aside. Remove all but 2 teaspoons bacon grease from the skillet.
  3. Add kale, dates, and almonds then saute for 30 seconds. Add vinaigrette and then toss until just coated. Divide kale between two plates then top with reserved bacon, crispy shallots, and parmesan cheese.

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com

Kale salads are kiiind of a pain to make because you have to massage the kale to get it tender enough to eat raw. Giving it a super quick saute in a hot skillet lets you bypass this step. So awesome! Enjoy!

Warm Kale Salad with Bacon, Dates, Almonds, Crispy Shallots and Parmesan | iowagirleats.com


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