One of my favorite “thymes” of the year is in the later part of April into the first of May, when the Dogwoods and Bradford Pear trees are in full bloom. This is also the perfect “thyme” to get to work on the garden. One of my favorite early spring crops is Kale. This spring green will sprout up from late April and continue to yield hearty leafy greens through the end of October! It is extremely versatile and can be used in a number of dishes from green smoothies to salads braised with bacon, apples, and red onions.  We paired a kale salad with a spring apple cider, honey and coconut milk vinaigrette infused with dill and garlic. It is a complex flavor but pairs perfectly with kale and takes away from the raw bitter crunch. Top this salad with Manchego cheese, fresh sliced apples, orange segments, roasted sweet potatoes and candied macadamia nuts and you have a winner! The bonus includes an incredible amount of vitamin C, calcium, fiber, potassium, fatty acids, protein and B6 that you gain from consumption. You can eat this one to the last bite, lick the plate and feel good about it! So dig in and enjoy! 

Spring Kale Salad with Creamy Apple Cider & Honey Mustard Vinaigrette 
2 TBS apple cider vinegar 
2 TBS honey 
1½ TBS dijon mustard 
½ can of full fat coconut milk
4 sprigs of fresh dill
1 tsp of Italian Seasoning 
½ shallot minced
1 garlic clove minced 
Salt and Pepper to taste 
½ cup of olive oil 
Using a food processor or an immersion blender place the shallots and garlic in the bowl and pulse until finely minced. Add the vinegar, honey, Dijon mustard and pulse for about 15-30 seconds. Add the dill, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, and coconut milk. Pulse for another 30 seconds until well blended. Leave the blender on a medium speed and add the olive oil in a slow drizzle until the mixture is thoroughly combined. 
Salad Ingredients 
1 bunch of fresh kale greens, de-stemmed and cut into medium pieces 
1 orange cut into fresh segments
1 apple, cored and sliced 
10 oz of Manchego cheese freshly grated 
1 cup of toasted almond slices
1-2 medium sweet potatoes, diced, and roasted 
Place the kale in a bowl and top with the vinaigrette. Add in the remaining salad ingredients, toss and serve. This salad can be made several hours ahead.

Posted on 2016-04-02 by Allison Davis