Maple Pecans:

  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼-½ teaspoons cayenne pepper, depending on taste


  • 2-3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small shallot or red onion, peeled and finely minced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced


  • 1-2 bunches Tuscan kale, deveined and sliced into ½ inch thick ribbons to make 8 cups (also called lacinato or dinosaur kale)
  • 1 large apple, cored, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • ½-1 cup pomegranate seeds, if in season and desired


  1. For maple pecans: preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in small bowl and toss well. Place on parchment paper and bake approximately 12 minutes or until pecans are toasted and fragrant, stirring occasionally. Let cool at room temperature.
  2. To make vinaigrette: Combine ingredients in a shaker bottle or small mason jar and shake or stir gently. Use different combinations of aged balsamic vinegars and extra virgin olive oils to experiment with taste. I’ve even used chocolate balsamic and blood orange olive oil with this salad. My new favorite is a little Harissa olive oil for a slight kick. Check out Humble Olive Oils in downtown Carlsbad for some great combos!
  3. Place kale in large bowl, gently massage in vinaigrette to make sure leaves have even coverage. Carefully toss with sliced apple, maple pecans, and pomegranate seeds if desired.

About the Chef

recipe_elaineChef: Elaine Bryan
Family: Husband – Stewart Bryan; Daughter – Seannie Bryan who attends Chapman University in Orange, CA; Cat – Honey
Community: Carlsbad resident for 30 years, but I also spend time in the Oceanside area too. I love North County San Diego!
Interests: Yoga, walking on the beaches, tending to my vertical tower gardens that grow veggies and herbs in various locations around town, experimenting with different plant-based recipes
About the Recipe: Kale is rich in flavonoids and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Some people just don’t care for the taste, but I found with this recipe everyone loves kale! The apples and maple pecans as well as the rich balsamic vinegar take away from any bitterness some people experience when eating kale. It also helps to chiffonade the kale after destemming. These ribbons of kale soften with the extra virgin olive oil when massaged into the kale. Waiting about half an hour after putting the vinaigrette onto the kale will give it time to soften before serving. This can be served as a main meal or as a side salad. I tend to make this for many events because everyone loves it!
About the Chef: I am a registered yoga teacher and nutrition counselor and I teach healthy plant-based cooking and gluten/dairy-free food prep classes. I also speak on health topics in various locations such as corporations, country clubs, chiropractic offices, and more. For the past three years, I’ve loved learning how to grow various herbs and veggies on vertical tower gardens, and love to help others do the same to conserve water and control our own plant food supply! My website is

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