Kale & Carrot Salad with Pecans & Feta

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The season has begun! Well, sort of.  For the past few weeks, we’ve had boxes and envelopes delivered to our front porch every other day (yes, our seed companies do need to get a little more organized with how they pack orders). 90% of the seeds for our 2021 crops are safely in hand (or rather, have been sorted into their appropriate little boxes). We may be 34 days away from seeding in our greenhouse, but it’s sure beginning to feel a lot like spring over here. 

Plus, we’ve finalized our CSA Box Planning Spreadsheet (boy is that ever a process), we’re talking about sanitizing the seeding trays for next season, we just got a quote for two semi-loads of compost, and the CSA is 90% full! Yes, it’s definitely here. Another season at Raleigh’s Hillside Farm.

It is quite possibly the earliest I’ve ever been this excited for spring. For once, I feel rested and ready to start it all over again. And that doesn’t even have to happen for 5 more weeks. Ahhhhh. I’m exhaling. I’m savoring. Because I fully know that this is exactly what it feels like when you make moves towards the future of your dreams and it actually aligns in all the ways you thought it would. 

As you may remember, I officially left my off-farm job in June and it was an incredibly hard, dare I even say, tortured decision. I was terrified I’d lose so much of my identity by saying goodbye. I knew I needed the space, but I feared in my search for space, I’d lose something even more important. Those fears, like most fears, were totally irrational. I learned that my job, though incredible, did not define me. And I learned that my theory about there being a level of work I could not sustain for the long haul while remaining a happy human was absolutely true.

So for now, I’m well-rested, well-read, lightly traveled, and officially, unequivocally jazzed to get another season started. 

Today’s salad has little to do with all these feelings about spring except for the fact that it is also something that makes me happy. I adore the combination of crunchy toasted pecans, creamy feta, sweet storage carrots, and a dense winter green. All those delicious favors and a maple Dijon dressing really takes things to the next level. 

I hope you enjoy this mix of flavors as much as we have, and I hope you’re having a restful January.

-Leek

KALE & CARROT SALAD WITH PECANS AND FETA

25 minutes
Serves 4-6

1 bunch kale (or collards), stems removed, thinly sliced
1 pounds carrot, peeled and shredded (or cut into matchsticks)
2 cups toasted pecans
3 ounces feta, crumbled

Maple Dijon Dressing
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 hefty pinches salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. While oven preheats, prepare kale (or collards) and carrots. Combine then in a large bowl.
  3. Roast pecans on a baking sheet until toasted, 5-8 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and then roughly chop.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients until smooth. Add to greens and carrots, and toss until well-coated.
  5. Add feta and pecans. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.

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