Have you tried crostini before?
It’s a fancy pants word, but really, crostini is just little slices of toasted bread topped with cheese or veggies. I could eat crostini all day long!
I love crostini topped with tomatoes and basil, but right now I am all about topping crostini with herbed cheese. YUM!!!!
I like to use goat cheese and infuse it with my own fresh herbs. You can keep this meal vegan by subbing vegan cream cheese for the goat cheese. You can also make this meal gluten free by using gluten free bread.
I think a good kale salad and crostini are a match made in heaven! My kale salad here makes for a light, but very filling lunch! With a creamy dressing, beans, pine nuts, avocado, and slivered Parmesan if desired, this kale salad will satisfy your hunger without feeling heavy.
If you’re planning on adding Parmesan slivers to the salad, here is my very favorite cheese plane. Seriously, I love my cheese plane so much! It’s so versatile for making Parmesan slivers to top salads and pasta, and for making the perfect cheese slices for sandwiches.
My cheese plane and my cute little canister of Fleur de Sel, both of which I use in this recipe, are probably two of the things I reach for most in my kitchen! So it’s really no coincidence that both show up in this recipe, and take this lunch to the next level!
Make this hearty but not heavy lunch as we enjoy these last few weeks of summer. It truly is the perfect end of summer lunch!
Super Easy Herbed Cheese Crostini and Kale Salad
For the herbed cheese crostini
- 1 thin baguette, cut into ½ inch thick slices (I like to use Classic French or sourdough)
- 4 oz plain goat cheese, or substitute with vegan cream cheese
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
- 2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp pepper
For the dressing
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1.5 Tbsp Vegenaise, or mayonnaise
- 1.5 Tbsp maple syrup
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- 1/8 pepper
For the kale salad
- 10 oz kale, chopped or shredded
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas or cannellini beans
- 1-2 Avocados, cubed
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Fluer de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling
- Parmesan slivers, freshly slivered (optional, but highly recommended)
Make the herbed cheese
- Before you unwrap the goat cheese, warm it a bit between your hands so that it is easier to work with. You can also set the cheese out on your counter for a few minutes while you gather the other ingredients.
- In a small mixing bowl, add the cheese, followed by the salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, and garlic powder. With a fork, mix it all together until all the herbs and seasonings have incorporated into the cheese, and the cheese is smooth and creamy in texture.
Compile the herbed cheese crostini
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Take a slice of the baguette and spread about ½ -1 ½ tsp of the herbed cheese over it. The amount of herbed cheese you use will vary depending on the size of your baguette, and your preference.
- I like to get about 18-20 crostini from the herbed cheese mixture, so I usually use ½-1 tsp herbed cheese on each slice of the baguette. If using a larger baguette, you may want to do more herbed cheese per slice. But keep in mind this will yield fewer crostini!
Bake the crostini
- Once you’ve compiled all the crostini/ ran out of herbed cheese(!), put the crostini on a baking sheet, and bake at 375 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Don’t bake to long! We want the edges to be crisp, but the middle of each crostini to still be somewhat soft. That way when they cool completely the crostini won’t be too crispy! Crostini is done, set aside.
Make the Dressing
- Simply whisk all the dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl until it emulsifies and gets thick and smooth. Dressing is done!
Dress the kale
- Now take your kale and add it to a large mixing bowl. Pour ½ to ¾ of the dressing over the kale. Massage the dressing into the kale with your fingers to really coat each piece. Feel free to skip this step if this is too much food contact for you, but I swear it makes a huge flavor and texture difference!
- Taste, and if you would like, add more dressing. Totally preference at this point! Stop or add more dressing as desired.
Finish the salad
- Now add the garbonzo or cannellini beans, avocado, and pine nuts to the salad. Gently toss until evenly distributed.
- At this point, you can also add fresh Parmesan slivers. It’s a fantastic addition, but if you prefer to keep this a vegan salad, simply omit the Parmesan.
- Sprinkle a little bit of Fluer de Sel or sea salt over the salad to taste, and toss. Kale salad is done!
- Enjoy the herbed cheese crostini and kale salad as a light lunch, or add some Gardein or your favorite meat substitute and enjoy for dinner!