Kale apple salad in a wood bowl.

Kale Apple Salad

This kale apple salad is sweet and crunchy with tart green apples, tender kale, sweet dried cranberries and pecans. A simple tangy dressing adds the perfect touch to the massaged kale salad recipe!

Apple kale salad in a bowl with sliced apples and dried cranberries.

You will fall in love with this kale apple salad which has the best tastes and textures! Hearty kale is tenderized with a quick massage then coated in a simple dressing with bite sized pieces of apples, cranberries and pecans.


It’s the perfect fall salad recipe that can be served as a year-round side dish! I love it during the holidays along with this romaine pear salad and holiday salad with roasted beets.

Why You’ll Love This Salad

  • Nutritious: This healthy kale apple salad is full of vitamins and micro-nutrients.
  • Dairy-free and gluten-free: Great for everyone adhering to a gluten-free, vegan and dairy-free lifestyle.
  • Simple: Only a handful of ingredients are needed to make this kale and apple recipe plus a quick homemade dressing.

Kale Apple Salad Recipe Ingredients

Kale, apples, pecans and cranberries for apple kale salad.
  • Kale: I love curly kale in this salad recipe, but lacinato kale could be used.
  • Vegetables: Celery and cucumber add refreshing crunch.
  • Apple: Tart and sour green apples balance the sweeter ingredients. Any crisp apple variety such as honey crisp can be used!
  • Pecans: Coarsely chopped so they can be in each delicious bite.
  • Dried cranberries: Sweetened dried cranberries add some color, texture and sweetness.
  • Salad Dressing: Dijon mustard, dairy-free yogurt, apple cider vinegar, garlic and honey.

Substitutions and Variations

  • Dairy-free yogurt: You could use a avocado mayo or vegan mayo.
  • Veggies: Roasted veggies would be great, like butternut squash or brussels sprouts like I use in warm winter salad.
  • Other fruit: Try sliced pears instead of apples.
  • Dried fruit: Raisins would be a great substitute.
  • Candied pecans: Use candied pecans for extra sparkle and crunch. You could also use walnuts or almonds instead.

How to Make Kale Apple Salad

How to make kale apple salad in 4 steps.
  1. In a small bowl, mix all salad dressing ingredients and set aside.
  2. Add all of your kale in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle in your dressing, then use your hands to toss the salad and dressing together.
  3. Add celery, cucumber, apple, pecans, and cranberries.
  4. Toss lightly to mix all the salad ingredients evenly.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t skip softening the kale: Giving it a quick massage removes the bitterness in the kale and makes the leaves soft and tender.
  • Discard the thick stem: Remove the thick stem running through the middle of the kale which would be too tough to chew.
  • Leftover kale: If you have more kale then needed or need a no-waste option for the stems make kale cubes for smoothies.

Recipe FAQs

What is the best type of kale for salad?

I love curly salad in most of my kale salad recipes. Lacinato kale, called dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale I use most often in soups. The leaves are a darker color and longer and flatter. Baby kale is already soft and tender and will not need to be massaged.

How to soften kale for salad?

Tenderizing your kale will make the hearty leaves soft and more pleasing to eat. Add your chopped kale to a salad bowl. Drizzle with a small amount of dressing and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Gently massage the leaves to tenderize.

How to prevent apples from browning?

I reccommend to slice apples and add them right before serving. If you need to prep them in advance, you can toss them with some lemon juice to prevent browning.

Make Ahead

Kale salad is hearty enough to make a day ahead of time. Prep your kale by washing and drying. Place in a bowl and massage.

Assemble dressing then drizzle over salad and massage into the leaves. Store covered in an airtight container for up to two days.

Wait to add apples, cranberries and nuts right before serving.

Kale apple salad with dressing on a spoon.

More Salad Recipes

Kale apple salad in a wood bowl.
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Kale Apple Salad

This kale apple salad is sweet and crunchy with tart green apples, tender kale, sweet dried cranberries and pecan with a simple tangy dressing.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: kale apple salad
Servings: 6
Calories: 109kcal

Ingredients

  • 6 cups kale leaves pre-chopped and washed
  • 1 rib celery , sliced
  • 1 English cucumber , chopped
  • 1 green apple , cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup pecans , coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries

Salad Dressing

  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons plain dairy-free yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2-3 Tablespoons water

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix all salad dressing ingredients and set aside.
  • Add all of your kale in a large mixing bowl.
  • Drizzle in your dressing, then use your hands to toss the salad and dressing together.
  • Add celery, cucumber, apple, pecans, and cranberries, then toss lightly to mix all the salad ingredients evenly.

Notes

Notes:
  • Using your hands to mix and massage the dressing into the kale salad will make for an overall better texture and taste.
  • Kale can be swapped with spinach as an alternative green.
  • Dairy-free yogurt can be replaced with avocado mayo.

Nutrition

Calories: 109kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 251mg | Potassium: 374mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 6770IU | Vitamin C: 66mg | Calcium: 195mg | Iron: 1mg

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




*