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Reduced Balsamic Warm Kale Salad - Two Ways

  • Author: Caitlin
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


  • 1 bunch kale (~8 cups chopped)
  • 1 red bell pepper (or yellow, orange)
  • 8 oz mushrooms (about 10ish)
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Vegetarian: 1 cup barley, optional parmesan cheese
  • Paleo: (no barley) 1 acorn squash and 2 slices bacon


  1. Prepare barley in vegetable stock or water, according to package directions. (I like to use my rice cooker! It takes about 45 minutes though.)*Paleo Version: Slice acorn squash in 1/4-inch strips and remove seeds (either slice in half first or use a cookie cutter to remove seeds). Brush with oil, salt, and pepper and bake in 350-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Start with your vegetables – dice the onions, chop the bell pepper into 1/2-inch pieces, and quarter the mushrooms (if they’re big, cut some into 6 chunks). *Paleo Version: Cook bacon strips first in large pan with lid. Remove from pan and set aside to cool, then chop into small chunks. Do not drain! Add onions and bell peppers directly to bacon grease to saute.
  3. In a large pan with a lid, saute onions and peppers in about 1/2 tbsp olive oil (or coconut oil, or ghee) for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and a little soft. Add mushrooms and cook all together, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare balsamic reduction. Place 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in sauce pan and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, and be sure to set a timer so you check it around the 10-minute mark. You want it thick and syrupy. Turn it off and remove from heat when finished.
  5. Reduce heat on vegetables to low. As soon as the barley is done, add the kale to the vegetable sauce pan with about 2 tablespoons water, and cover, allowing the kale to steam for about 2 minutes, or until super bright green.
  6. Mix kale in with the vegetables, and add most of the balsamic vinegar to pan, reserving some for drizzling if you want.
  7. Serve over barley or acorn squash!
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 35 mins
  • Category: Entree, Salad
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