Chili Chicken Kale Salad with Cinnamon Dijon Vinaigrette

You were expecting this.

Chili Chicken Kale Salad with pomegranate seeds, pecans, goat cheese, and cinnamon dijon vinaigrette

Did you all have a fabulous Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving weekend? Is your brain still set to vacation mode or are you ready to bounce back to Workland? Did you watch all the TV show re-runs and read all the books over your break? Did you come to any conclusions/decisions/spiritual awakenings/philosophical enlightenments? < – totes not a word, but we’re okay with that.

A few days of reflection has led me into an age of acceptance, kinda maybe. You know what this is like. Once you hit a certain point in life, there are things with which you begin getting comfortable. You begin embracing these difficult-to-accept things.

Things like:

Underarm jiggle. Burpees or no, there will always be a slight J-E-LL-O to the gun show. Maybe, definitely. No biggy.

Chunky cocktails. Totally fine once you reach a certain level of chunk experience and realize that pulp happens, and it happens to be delicious when soaked in bourbon.

The Taylor Swift situation. There’s nothing you can do about it. You’ve tried. We all have. There really isn’t a thing anyone can do.

James Spader? Slightly sexy. And you’re okay with that.

Chili Chicken Kale Salad with pomegranate seeds, pecans, goat cheese, shredded beets, and cinnamon dijon balsamic vinaigrette

Red wine hangovers. You will probably never be able to drink Yellow Tail the way you did when you were an undergrad. And you have completely embraced that fact.

The fact that you didn’t move a square inch from your couch on Black Friday because you were hungover/in a pie coma from Thanksgiving PLUS you hate large crowds, PLUS you already shopped the Black Friday deals when they began way back in July, so really what you did on Black Friday was ease yourself out of your sugar pie high by eating more pie on your couch while reading The Count of Monte Cristo for the seventeenth time on the Kindle you bought as a Black Friday deal way back in July (slash re-watched every single episode of Friends ever), PLUS you’d rather be blogging, as per usual.

The post holiday detox salad. Not only do you love it, you look forward to it.  It has become your own personal tradition. Traditioooooooooooon! Tradition!

^^^Fiddler on the Roof reference, anyone?

We feast, we give detox a fighting chance, we repeat. It’s the circle of life. You and I, we can do this together. You’ve probably noticed there is always some funky fresh clean eating salad on The Roasted Root the Monday/Tuesday following all large holidays and three day weekends. You can bare witness to, slash participate in, my own fighting chance at detox. We can get this junk out of the trunk – let’s eat ruffage!

This ruffage. Doesn’t it look like Christmas?

Chili Chicken Kale Salad with pomegranate seeds, pecans, goat cheese, shredded beets, and cinnamon dijon balsamic vinaigrette

It’s made with a whole bloomin head of kale. Plus shredded beets + pecans + goat cheese + pomegranate seeds. I whipped out a cinnamon-y dijon-y balsamic vinaigrette. It’s an entree salad. I did a little chili powder sprinkle action upon my chicken before cooking it in the trusty cast iron skillet. Gah, it’s so simple and yet so tasty for the salad-ing. You can totally use leftover turkey instead of chili chicken. You can absolutely add cranberry sauce. It’s your life, color outside the lines.

One kale salad at a time.

Chili Chicken Kale Salad with pomegranate seeds, pecans, goat cheese, and cinnamon dijon vinaigrette

Chili Chicken Kale Salad with Cinnamon Dijon Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Author: Julia


For the Chili Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Salt and pepper

For the salad:

  • 1 leaves head lacinato kale chopped, dino
  • 1 cup raw or cooked shredded beets
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ cup raw pecans chopped
  • 1/3 cup goat chevre

Cinnamon Dijon Balsamic Vinaigrette:


Prepare the Chili Chicken:

  1. Sprinkle the chicken breast with chili powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the chicken breast and cook 4 minutes. Flip carefully, and cook on the other side an additional 4 minutes, or until chicken has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
  4. Place chicken on a cutting board and slice into strips.

Prepare the Cinnamon Dijon Vinaigrette:

  1. Add all ingredients for the vinaigrette to a small blender and blend until smooth. Set aside until ready to use.

Prepare the salad:

  1. Add the ingredients for the salad to a large bowl, including the chicken strips. Toss in desired amount of cinnamon Dijon balsamic vinaigrette. You will not need all of the dressing, so you can save it for other salads.
  2. Dig in!

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  1. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    YES TO RUN ON SENTENCES AND FRAGMENT SENTENCES….and basically everything else. Especially Taylor swift.
    Why do we share a name?
    Also. THIS SALAD. I have been getting into kale lately. I even made it in a smoothie…so now I needs to eats ALL the salad! Pinned!

    1. Julia Post author

      Glad to hear you’re hailing the kale! It really is a fab veg for all the days…and especially when you’re in need of a good clean-out after a holiday 😉

    1. Julia Post author

      Bingo wings! Ha! I’ve never heard that before. Glad I’m not the only one who thinks about/has accepted a little extra wing flap 😉

    1. Julia Post author

      Absolutely! I’m never a fan of sitting up like a proper ahdult, so I say kale in bed is completely encouraged. Glad you like the salad!

    1. Julia Post author

      Suuuuuuriously, why do pie and wine have to be so goddiggitydamn good? I guess the pain is the price you pay for all the sheer pleasure. 😉

  2. Julie

    Oh, this looks good!! Seriously, I need this after all of the rich food I had. And if that wasn’t enough, we took the girl and guy and parents out to dinner on Saturday night (lots to celebrate, as you know). I’m still in a food coma. Actually, I think I need a nap. Last week was exhausting (but big stuff, as you know).

    And, of course, I was singing Tradition as soon as I saw the word, before I even saw the reference. Then I laughed at myself. What a music nerd I am. Oh, well. Maybe we can sing that after we do our piece on the beer bottles.

  3. Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough

    I just polished off the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers and therefore am, unsurprisingly, in desperate need of ruffage (because I guess butter-laden Brussels sprouts and those French fried onion things don’t count?). This salad is my new best friend starting tomorrow.

  4. Isadora @ she likes food

    I’m definitely still set in vacation mode! I was just thinking how I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to get through a week of having to actually work 5 full days! I’ve been eating way too much rich things lately and need this salad in my life asap 🙂

    1. Julia Post author

      Yup, the 5-day workweek and diet food’s a real bitch. Let’s move to a commune where money doesn’t exist and neither to calories. Done and done!

  5. Casey

    It sure does look like Christmas! It’s so beautiful! I love your sense of humour. Every time I pop over to your blog I’m guaranteed a laugh and a beautiful recipe! Thank you 🙂

  6. Joanne

    I can’t do detoxes (or black Friday)…but I CAN do kale salads. All day every day. Espeically when they’re all cinnamon/Christmas-ed up like this1


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