Ann Taylor Pittman's Kale-Citrus Salad with Bacony Pecans


This fresh salad will be the perfect side to any meal.

Ann’s Kale-Citrus Salad with Bacony Pecans
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Margaret Monroe Dickey; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
30 mins

"This kale salad is designed to fit in this time of year—it has enough little indulgences to feel right for the holiday; it's pretty; and it offers a fresh, crisp respite from the heavier dishes," writes contributing editor Ann Taylor Pittman. This Thanksgiving, Southern Living's editors and contributors are sharing the recipes that grace our tables year after year—like Ann's Kale-Citrus Salad with Bacony Pecans.

This salad will be the light, fresh note that your Thanksgiving table has been missing. A mix of arugula and kale keeps this salad hearty, while vibrant orange wheels add a burst of acid. The real star of the show here, though, is the Bacony Pecans, which we could eat by the handful. "Center-cut bacon doesn't overpower like other varieties might, but the drippings impart all their smoky goodness to the salted nuts," notes Pittman. Watermelon radishes add pops of color to this vibrant salad, but if you can't find them at your grocery store or farmers' market, use regular radishes.


  • 6 center-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise into ½-inch-thick slices

  • 1 cup pecan halves

  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots

  • 2 teaspoons honey

  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 large navel oranges

  • 5 cups baby arugula

  • 5 cups thinly sliced, stemmed Lacinato kale (about 4½ oz. from 1 [7-oz.] bunch)

  • 2 medium watermelon radishes, very thinly sliced


  1. Heat a medium skillet over medium. Add bacon to skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, reserving drippings in skillet.

  2. Add pecans to drippings. Cook, stirring occasionally, until pecans are browned and toasted, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer pecans with slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt. Reserve drippings for another use, or discard.

  3. Combine oil, apple cider vinegar, shallots, honey, Dijon mustard, black pepper, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt in a small jar with lid; shake well until emulsified.

  4. Cut off top and bottom of each orange. Stand each one upright. Following the curve of the fruit, cut off the peel and pith. Cut orange segments away from membranes.

  5. Combine arugula, kale, and radishes in a large serving bowl. Drizzle with dressing; toss well to coat. Add oranges, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with pecans and bacon.

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