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Thanks to the pandemic, you’ve probably swapped the sad desk lunch at work for the sad desk lunch at home. And while that’s certainly an even trade, it doesn’t have to be. You’re home, after all, and you’ve arguably got a bit more time to cobble something together for lunch than you did when you were working out of the office every day. 

Related Reading: Stock Your Freezer with These Fall Comfort Foods

So if you’re in need of some salad inspiration, take a look at Pam Powell’sBeautiful Salads” cookbook, a bona fide love letter to the leafy green lunchtime staple. Pam, who’s the owner of Salad Girl Organic Dressings, clearly knows a thing or two about putting together a salad—one that doesn’t merely rely on some sad shredded lettuce and limp cucumbers. Instead, her book is jam-packed with 70 salads and 70 dressings to go with them, giving you the pleasure of saying adieu to soggy salads forever.

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The book is divided into four sections, each detailing salads to make in the four seasons. In the winter you can cozy up with a dried fig and cara cara orange melange; for spring, think pea sprouts and strawberries; in the summer, cool off with a grilled wild salmon and red raspberry salad; and come fall, dive into a kale, sausage, and potato salad. All of the salads come with their own dressings, but feel free to mix and match to your heart’s desire. 

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Ahead, Pam provides an autumn-forward orchard apple and green kale chopped salad, tossed with a maple cream dressing. Apple chunks and maple syrup are some of the foundational flavors of fall, and paired together, along with plenty of kale, chopped red onion, fennel, roasted pecans, blue cheese, and raisins, you can have yourself a wonderfully comforting and healthy lunch.  

Orchard Apple and Green Kale Chopped Salad with Maple Cream Dressing Recipe

Crisp apples and the flavor of real maple syrup infuse this salad with the essence of fall. Garnish with a favorite locally made tangy blue cheese, such as St. Pete’s Select, and this salad is sure to be a favorite.

Orchard Apple and Green Kale Chopped Salad with Maple Cream Dressing

Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • DRESSING: 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. apple juice concentrate
  • 4 tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. red onion, minced
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. heavy whipping cream
  • SALAD: 7 oz. fresh green kale (2 bunches)
  • 4 fresh-picked local orchard apples
  • 1/2 c. chopped red onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped fennel bulb
  • 1 1/2 c. roasted pecans
  • 1 cup crumbled St. Pete’s Select Blue Cheese
  • 1/2 cup golden unsulfured raisins (optional)
Instructions
  1. PREPARE THE DRESSING: Put vinegar, apple juice concentrate, maple syrup, onion, sea salt, and pepper into a small blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil and cream until smooth and emulsified. Pour into a glass jar, and set aside.
  2. PREPARE THE PRODUCE: Wash and thoroughly dry the produce. Remove the ribs of the kale and chop into bite-sized pieces. Chop the apples into bite-sized pieces. Finely chop the red onion and the fennel bulb.
  3. ASSEMBLE THE SALAD: Place all chopped salad ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Just before serving, gently toss all the ingredients together with the Maple Cream Dressing and transfer into a pretty glass serving bowl. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Header image courtesy of "Beautiful Salads."

Amy Schulman is an associate editor at Chowhound. She is decidedly pro-chocolate.
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