Kale Salad with Apples and Cider Vinaigrette

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This apple kale salad is everything you would want in a crunchy and cozy fall salad recipe. Fresh apples, buttery pats and tender kale dipped in a zesty apple cider vinaigrette. Vegan, gluten-free and nut-free option.

This Kale and Apple Salad is the best fall salad. Hearty, tender greens with fresh herbs, apple bites, chopped walnuts and an irresistible sweet and tangy vinaigrette. Enjoy as a side dish for a quick lunch or on a weeknight alongside your favorite dish soups and stews.

  1. A sweet and tangy fall staple
  2. What You Need for Apple and Kale Salad
  3. How to Make Apple and Kale Salad
  4. Presentation suggestions
  5. How to Store Apple and Kale Salad
  6. Substitutions and variations
  7. Recipe FAQs
  8. Apple Salad with Kale and Cider Vinaigrette

A sweet and tangy fall staple

This apple and kale salad is the perfect segway from warmer summer nights to cozy fall days. Crunchy kale, fresh parsley, sweet apples and crunchy walnuts, all coated in a homemade vinaigrette for a truly delicious combination of texture and flavor next level. I also reveal the secret to making a kale salad you’ll want to eat every day. In fact, this apple kale salad is so delicious, you’re going to want to enjoy it as a main dish. Or a healthy side dish any time of year.

What You Need for Apple and Kale Salad

This 15-Minute Apple Kale Salad is made up of two elements: the earthy Green salad and the apple cider vinaigrette. Here are the basics:

ingredients for kale apple salad on the kitchen counter
  • Kale: Dinosaur kale is the base of this salad recipe and adds a crunchy, nutritious texture to this healthy salad recipe! When buying kale in stores, choose bunches of kale with crisp, vibrant leaves. They should be dark green with no signs of wilting or yellowing.
  • Parsley: Flat-leaf parsley adds a fresh, herbaceous element to apple kale salad and brightens up hearty kale.
  • Apple: My favorite apples to use in this salad are Honeycrisp apples. They are firm with a good balance between sweet and tangy. Feel free to use your favorite fall apples.
  • Nut: The source of buttery, nutty crunch. If nuts aren’t your thing, try chopped pecans.
  • Dressing ingredients: Buttery extra virgin olive oil and tangy apple cider vinegar make the base, while Dijon mustard, maple syrup, garlic and salt provide plenty of sweet and tangy flavor.

How to Make Apple and Kale Salad

side-by-side photos of kale, apple and walnut salad in a mixing bowl
  1. Add cider vinaigrette ingredients in a mason jar and shake vigorously until emulsified.
  2. In a large bowl,massage chopped kale and 3/4 of the dressing together until tender and reduced in volume.
  3. Mix add parsley, apple, walnuts, remaining vinaigrette and black pepper to taste.
  4. Serve when fresh, or refrigerate until ready to eat. Appreciate!

Caitlin’s Cooking Tips

  • Don’t skip the kale massage. If you’ve avoided raw kale salads in the past because you found kale too coarse and difficult to digest, you probably haven’t been told to massage your kale! This tip not only softens tough leaves, but also reduces bitterness and allows the kale to better absorb the flavor of dressings. Once you try this method, you’ll want kale salads every week!
  • Choose the right kale. Besides massaging the kale until tender, choosing the right kale is just as important. Kale tends to be Also hard while baby kale is Also leafy and tender. For best results, opt for lacinato kale (also known as dino kale) or Tuscan kale.
Kale salad with apples and walnuts in a serving bowl with wooden salad spoons

Presentation suggestions

As is, this apple and kale salad is a deliciously satisfying side dish, but can be easily transformed into a hearty main dish with the addition of your favorite plant-based protein such as creamy chickpeas or rosemary tofu and garlic.

If you enjoy it as a side dish, pair it with one of my favorite fall dishes like these Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells, this Butternut Squash and Brown Rice Casserole, or this Creamy Pumpkin Pasta and vodka.

And if you’re looking for more cozy salad recipes, you’ll also love this Kale and Cranberry Salad with Tahini Cider Vinaigrette, this Lentil and Pomegranate Salad with Cider Vinaigrette, and this Fall Farro Salad with Butternut Squash and Brussels sprouts !

How to Store Apple and Kale Salad

This kale salad is best served fresh, but if you have leftovers, they will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If you want to make this salad ahead of time for meal prep, keep the greens and dressing separate until ready to enjoy. Likewise, chop the apples as close to serving time as possible (the day before is good!).

Substitutions and variations

  • Dressing variations: Apple cider vinaigrette is the perfect blend of sweet and acidic ingredients to help balance the naturally bitter flavors of kale, but if you want to switch up your dressing, go for it! My Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette recipe would add a similar level of sweetness and tartness.
  • Nut-free option: Omit the chopped nuts or replace them with pumpkin seeds or hemp seeds.
  • Parsley Substitutions: If you’re not a fan of fresh parsley, substitute extra chopped kale, or substitute chervil or microgreens for a similar burst of freshness.
  • Add the cheese: Add dairy-free feta cheese, vegan blue cheese, or parmesan for an even creamier touch.
Kale salad with apples and walnuts in a serving bowl with wooden salad spoons

Recipe FAQs

How do you make kale less bitter in a salad?

Massaging the kale with the cider vinaigrette helps tremendously. The acidity in the dressing helps break down the tough fibers in the kale leaves, making it not only less bitter but also more flavorful.

How to store fresh cut apples for salad?

The easiest way to prevent apples from browning is to chop them just before serving. If you’re making this salad ahead of time, try tossing the chopped apples in a little lemon juice before adding them to the salad. The acid will help slow the browning process and maintain freshness.

Can you eat kale stalks?

Kale stems are edible, but they are tough and bitter and are not the most delicious in raw salads. Instead, trim kale leaves and save the stems to blend into smoothies or turn into homemade vegetable stock.

Is it OK to eat kale salad every day?

Of course! In fact, I personally eat kale salads almost daily. I even have my favorite healthy and tasty everyday kale salad recipe on the blog.

Appreciate! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love for you to leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thanks for the support 😊

Kale nut salad in a large white bowl with wooden serving tongs

For the cider vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 soup spoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 coffee spoons grade A maple syrup
  • 2 coffee spoons Dijon Mustard
  • 1 small clove of garlic grated (or 1 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the salad:

  • 1 bunch of kale hulled and chopped
  • 1/2 bouquet of parsley chopped
  • 1 crispy apple with honey diced or thinly sliced ​​(or other apple of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup nut chopped
  • Black pepper to taste

  • Prepare the vinaigrette: Add the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic and salt to a small mason jar. Close the jar tightly and shake vigorously until emulsified, about 20 to 30 seconds.

  • Massage: Add the chopped kale to a large bowl and pour 3/4 of the dressing over it. Use clean hands to massage the dressing into the kale for 45 to 60 seconds, until the kale is tender and has reduced in volume.

  • Mix: Add the parsley, apple and walnuts to the bowl with the kale and top with the remaining dressing, plus black pepper to taste. Use salad tongs or two large spoons to mix everything well.

  • Serve as desired; leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

  • Without oil: Make this Tahini Dressing instead, using apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice!
  • Nut Substitutions: This recipe would also be delicious with pecans instead of walnuts, or with pumpkin seeds for a nut-free option!

Calories: 297kilocaloriesCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 3gFat: 28gSaturated fat: 3gPolyunsaturated fats: 9gMonounsaturated fat: 15gSodium: 328mgPotassium: 184mgFiber: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1463UIVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 61mgIron: 1mg

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