Kale Salad with Raisins, Spicy Peanuts, and Crispy Cheddar

Happy New Year!

Happy kale-salading!

I know, surprise, surprise. The blog's first recipe in 2016 is a kale salad. But this isn't just any kale salad. It's a kale salad that tastes like peanut butter and jelly. 

Yes, really. This kale salad has a taste that actually resembles peanut butter and jelly.

The recipe is from one of the many cookbooks I received as Christmas and birthday gifts, Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi.  You may remember that I raved about Christina Tosi a few posts back after finally visiting her bakery, Milk Bar, in D.C.

There are lots of fun and retro recipes in Christina's new book, but the one that jumped out at me the most was this recipe for a kale salad that she claimed tasted like peanut butter and jelly. Though I was in disbelief at first, now I totally understand.

The PB&J vibe comes from the combination of raisins (which you'll simmer in apple cider to plump up) and--my favorite--roasted peanuts with chili and honey.

You'll also slow roast some cheddar cheese until it's hard and can be broken into pieces. (photo above) The crispy cheddar pieces add a salty crunch to the salad like croutons.

If you're determined to eat more kale salads in the new year, this salad is a good place to start.  It's full of comforting and familiar flavors and is packed with enough protein to power you through the afternoon.

I'll be sharing more about my food-related New Year's resolutions next week, but for now I'll be eating this PB& J-esque kale salad and feeling really good about 2016. :)

Kale Salad with Raisins, Spicy Peanuts, and Crispy Cheddar

1 cup grated cheddar cheese
3/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups apple cider (or apple juice)
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 cup roasted peanuts
1 bunch kale

2 tablespoons reserved apple cider
juice from 2 lemons
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 250. Spread the grated cheddar cheese in a thin layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 250 for 30-40 minutes in 10 minute intervals. Every ten minutes, rotate the cookie sheet. The cheese will be done when it is hardened and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Use a spatula to break up the cheese into small pieces.

In a small sauce pan, combine raisins and apple cider. Cook over medium heat for 20 minutes, or until raisins are double in size. Set aside and let cool for 10 minutes. The raisins will continue to absorb the liquid.  When cooled, drain the raisins, but reserve 2 tablespoons apple cider for the dressing.

Increase oven temperature to 300.

In a small bowl, stir together the honey, chili powder, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Add peanuts and stir to coat. Spread peanuts over a cookie sheet. Bake at 300 for 10-12 minutes or until peanuts are toasted and fragrant.

Prepare the kale by stripping the leaves from the stem and cutting into small diagonal strips.

Prepare the dressing by whisking together the apple cider, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  While whisking, gradually drizzle in the olive oil.

Pour dressing over the kale and use your hands to massage the dressing into the leaves.

Toss dressed kale with the crispy cheddar, raisins, and chili honey peanuts. Dig in!


  • The salad will also keep well in the fridge for 2-3 days. 
  • Makes 4 generous servings. 

Adapted from Milk Bar Life by Christina Tosi


  1. What a great idea to make the crispy cheddar for on top! Sounds delicious.

  2. The salad looks so good! I like the idea of crispy cheddar, I have never heard of. Thank you for sharing!

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