Recipe: Dennis Dean’s Chopped Kale Salad with Quinoa, Cherries, and Toasted Pecans

Recipe for chicken from Dennis Dean catering

We make no apologies about our love of outdoor entertaining. It’s what summer’s all about, and no matter the size of your space or the weather forecast, getting together with friends and enjoying the great outdoors is what summer is all about. Which is why we want to give you a hand with your entertaining game. We asked Atlanta caterer and seasoned entertainer Dennis Dean to share a few of his favorite recipes with us.

The colors in this dish blew us away! Who doesn’t want a colorful plate during the summer months? And this one is packed with flavor and texture too.

Recipe: Chopped Kale Salad with Quinoa, Cherries, and Toasted Pecans
Serves: 2 large, 4 small
  • 1 Bunch Dinosaur or Lacinato Kale, Chopped Fine
  • 1 Cup Cooked Quinoa
  • ¼ Cup Sliced Almonds, Toasted
  • ⅓ Cup Dried Cherries
  • ¼ Cup Toasted Pecans
  • 2 tablespoons Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
  • 1 Small Shallot, Minced
  • Juice of 1 Lemon, Add More to Taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Chiffonade of Italian Fresh Parsley
  1. Start by making your dressing. Combine all of the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and set aside while you prepare your kale. (This will soften the shallots and allow the flavors to mingle).
  2. The first thing you need to do is remove the ribs from your kale. Don’t panic, there is a very simple way to do this. Start by tearing away about an inch on each side of the kale’s stalk to form “flaps.” Now grab the bottom of the stalk with one hand and pull up with the other hand. The entire kale leaf should come right off. Magic!
  3. Pile the kale leaves on top of each other and roll them up like a giant cigar. Thinly slice the kale, and then chop it finely. Place your chopped kale to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Pour the dressing over the kale and use your hands to mix the salad (this is known as “massaging the kale” in fancy culinary speak), making sure that every leaf is well coated. Set aside for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the kale becomes very wilted.
  5. While your kale is wilting, toast the almonds. Place the sliced almonds in a pan (with no oil!) and toast for 3-4 minutes until they are golden brown and fragrant.
  6. Add the quinoa, along with half of the Pecan and Dried Cherries to your wilted kale and toss to combine.
  7. Transfer your salad to a serving platter or plates, top with the remaining pecans and cherries, and sprinkle with Parmesan and a chiffonade of fresh Italian parsley.


Learn more about Dennis Dean, or find more recipes on How to Decorate.

Did you like this post and find it helpful? Rate it below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply


    September 1, 2017

    I made this salad for a summer luncheon and it was a huge hit! Fresh, tangy, colorful and delicious. That Dennis Dean is a genius!!