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Chinese 5 Spice Apple and Sesame Brittle Kale Salad

A delightfully sweet and savoury salad with fantastic Asian flavours.

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 8 side servings


  • 1 large bunch of kale, cleaned, stems removed and torn in pieces
  • 2 large apple, cored and sliced (we love pink lady apples)
  • 1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, divided
  • 4 tbsp avocado oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (we used low sodium)
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup + 2.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large shallot, sliced thinly
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. To make the quick pickled shallots, place the thinly sliced shallot in a small mason jar or similar glass container. In a small pot (or in a bowl in the microwave), bring 1/4 cup of water, 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp of sugar and a pinch of salt to boil, then pour over the shallots. Cover and place in the fridge to cool.

  2. To make the sesame brittle, first grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside. Rinse out the pot that vinegar was in, then place back on the stove. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar to the pot and bring to a boil. While the sugar boils, place a large pan on the stove and turn the heat to medium. Add the sesame seeds to the dry pan, and toast, stirring frequently with a flexible rubber spatula to prevent burning. Remove from pan when toasted, around 5 minutes, and add to a bowl. Once the sugar has turned an amber colour (around 10 minutes), quickly stir in 1 tbsp of butter and the sesame seeds (it will bubble up - this is normal). Quickly pour on your greased baking sheet and use the spatula to spread it out thinly, then allow to cool before breaking into small pieces.

  3. For the apples, add 2 tbsp of butter into the same pan that the sesame seeds were toasted and place over medium heat. Add the sliced apple and fry for a couple of minutes before sprinkling over 1 tsp of Chinese 5 spice powder. Fry for a couple of minutes more, than remove from heat.

  4. To make dressing, whisk together avocado oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, 2.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.

  5. To serve, place a suitable amount of kale for the amount of people eating into a large bowl. Avoid mixing all the kale if it won't be all eaten, as it doesn't hold well overnight. Next, drizzle a small portion of the dressing over the kale, and begin to massage the dressing into the leaves to help them break down and become softer. Adjust the amount of dressing to your liking, then top with the fried apple, some pickled shallots, some crunchy sesame brittle and serve.