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Kale Salad Recipe with Goat Cheese-stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Kale Salad Recipe with Goat Cheese-stuffed Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

In Life:

Actually listening to my body has been somewhat of a struggle for me. Sure when it’s crying out in pain or stress, I hear it loud and clear. But what I’ve been trying to do is listen when it’s only whispering at me. When the need, call or urge is not dire and is just small. What I’m learning is that when I listen to my body’s whispers to me, they typically don’t turn into loud shouts.

This is all related to my journey lately. Slowing down, enjoying life and what I have, being content. And listening to my body. It’s amazing how much better I feel, more productive I am and basically happier in general I am when I just stop… and listen to my body. I think it’s just that for so many years I allowed myself to just ignore what my mind and body were telling me they needed. It was always busy, busy, busy. And rush, rush, rush. Do more, be more, more, more!

I can’t say I was sleep-walking because it really wasn’t THAT bad. But I wasn’t in tune. I wasn’t listening to the whispers. I could only hear when it shouted. Cried out. And by then it was usually bad news. I used to have so much stress in my shoulders. The pain was almost constant. Ridiculous. And sleep. Wow, did I neglect sleep for a while. Not extremely. But I made it a habit for over two years to wake around 4am. Every. Single. Week day. ughhhhh. Never again. I still wake at 5:30am, but that seems reasonable to me now.

Moral of the story: Listen to your body. I know I’ve said it 42 times already. But by listening to what that little voice tells me to do, I’m so much better off. I still don’t listen 100% of the time, and I am still known to keep pushing on when everything besides my driven brain says to stop. But I’m getting better. I’m actually making progress. And I’m better off. Because progress is mainly what I aim for these days. Perfection is a myth.

So what about you? Are you listening to your body? Or are you still avoiding that voice? I’d love to hear about how you deal with it.

In Cooking:

So in the vein of listening to your body, I bet if we all listened really well, we could hear the request for more vegetables. Feed me a salad! I’m known for being a HUGE fan of salads, and if you’re reading my blog you probably like salad, too. It’s an assumption, but I post so much veggie stuff here, you must be into that sort of thing if you’re back again (thanks, btw). So today I bring you a kale salad recipe. One topped with goat cheese-stuffed cherry tomatoes plus cucumbers, banana peppers and Vidalia onions. Oh my! It’s a nutritional power-house of a salad, and it’s all yours.

Kale Salad Recipe with Goat Cheese-stuffed Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Let’s please just start with the cherry tomatoes. I was able to pick up the lovely gems you see below at Hollygrove Market and Farm. Actually, all the produce (save for my banana peppers and green onions) in this recipe is from Hollygrove. These are actually heirloom cherry tomatoes, and since it’s the peak of tomato season, these babies tasted sweet like candy. But better because they’re heirloom tomatoes. Boom. (did I just say that? yes…)

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from Hollygrove Market and Farm

Moving on… to the rest of the salad. I always love to include shots of all the key ingredients. This time is no exception. The colors below are so vibrant and beautiful, it would be a travesty not to share it with you. We’ve got lots of red and green here. Green = good so we’re very covered on this salad. The kale was so fresh and fragrant as I chopped it. I need to start using it more, really. Such a nutritious and tasty leafy green.

Key Ingredients for Kale Salad

To make the salad more flavorful, I chose to marinate the cucumber, onion, and banana pepper in some of the dressing. This allows the dressing to permeate these veggies and impart more flavor on the salad as a whole. I also like to add additional dressing at the end, but this makes a nice topping for the bed of kale.

Cucumber, Banana Pepper and Vidalia Onion marinated in Sugar Cane Vinaigrette

Finally, let’s quickly address the notion of stuffing these cherry tomatoes. The main task is removing the core of the tomato. It’s actually easy-peasy, especially if you have a very small spoon (like a caviar or cocktail spoon). However, you can also get the job done by carefully using paring knife. I had a cocktail spoon so I was set. Below is the sequence of events: remove top portion, remove tomato guts, stuff tomato, done. If more thing were this simple, the world would be less complicated.

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes stuffed with peppered goat cheese

And there you have it – a healthy and delicious meal in under 30 minutes. Check out my breakfast and dinner posts this week, Week #4 of the Eat Local Challenge. If you’re looking for additional ideas on how to eat local and eat well, check out my round up posts from Week #1, Week #2, and Week #3. Each post contains links to a breakfast, lunch and dinner recipe. Enjoy!

Kale Salad Recipe with Goat Cheese-stuffed Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes

Yield: 2 entree-sized salads

Kale Salad Recipe with Goat Cheese-stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

This lacinato kale salad features peppered goat cheese-stuffed heirloom cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, banana peppers and sweet Vidalia onions.



  • 1/4 cup pecan oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar cane vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 2 medium-sized cucumbers, halved and sliced (peeled and de-seeded beforehand)
  • 2 banana peppers finely chopped banana peppers, core and ribs removed (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onion
  • 1 tablespoon thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 cherry tomatoes (preferably heirloom cherry tomatoes)
  • 5 teaspoons peppered goat cheese (preferably Rocking R Dairy's Cajun Chèvre)
  • 6 cups chopped lacinato kale, ribs removed beforehand
  • Optional garnish: small heirloom cherry tomatoes


  1. Start with the dressing by combining all ingredients in the "Dressing" area in a squeeze bottle or small jar with a lid. Shake to combine.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine the cucumbers, banana peppers, Vidalia onion, green onion, kosher salt and two tablespoons of dressing.
  3. Next work on the cherry tomatoes. Start by cutting a 1/16" off the top of the tomato. Carefully scoop out the interior with a small spoon or knife. Fill the tomato with 1/2 teaspoon of peppered goat cheese.
  4. Salad plate up: start with a bed of 3 cups of kale on each plate. Divide the cucumber mixture between the two plates. Top each salad with 5 cherry tomatoes. Add additional dressing and cherry tomatoes, if desired.
  5. Serve right away and enjoy!

Prep:25 min

Total:25 min

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