A light and zesty kale apple salad that takes ordinary kale salad to another level! Transform kale with a good massage, a light poppy seed dressing and chunks of sweet, crunchy apple.
This light and zesty kale and apple slaw with poppy seed salad dressing is an incredibly easy gluten free salad to make as an appetizer or starter, and it really transforms curly kale into something else entirely! Of course, you can also use lacinato kale leaves (also known as dinosaur kale) for this salad.
To make this salad, all you do is chop the kale, massage it with olive oil, and then top it with apples. It is best when made with Cosmic Crisp Apples into an easy Cosmic Crisp recipe salad, though I've also used Fuji apples or Gala apples with great results. The crunch of the apples and their naturally attractive red skin lend a nice crunch to this healthy salad.
Then, the salad comes together with a simple vinaigrette type homemade dressing: just whisk together finely diced red onion with apple cider vinegar, honey, mustard and olive oil into an easy poppy seed dressing. Pour it on the raw kale, and you've got yourself a simple apple kale salad recipe!
You couldn't get an easier recipe for kale salad with apple even if you tried - and I guarantee you're going to love this recipe once you try it!
Ingredients you need to make this Kale and Apple Salad:
- Kale - kale is one of the healthiest dark leafy greens out there, which is why doctors are always touting the nutritional benefits of kale. Due to a little trick of massaging the kale for a bit before you mix it into the salad, this simple kale salad enables you to eat kale raw without hiding it behind a ton of other ingredients. You can use any types of kale you like for this recipe - I love to transform usually hardy, curly green kale with this easy kale recipe, though of course you can use Tuscan kale too.
- Apples - for this this kale apple salad recipe, I love using Cosmic Crisp apples. You can also use sweet and tart Gala apples, Fuji apples or Cortland apples for this recipe. You don't even need to peel the apples to enjoy them!
- Red onion - finely chopped red onion adds a contrast that is unbelievably delicious to this salad. Don't skip it, although you can use regular onions too.
- apple cider vinegar - to match the apples, I recommend using apple cider vinegar in this salad dressing.
- honey or maple syrup - to keep the recipe vegan, use maple syrup. I love the flavor honey gives to this salad, and often use it to sweeten all my vinaigrettes. You can omit the additional sugar if you'd like, but it helps balance the salad dressing.
- Dijon mustard - adds a nice depth of flavor to the dressing. You can omit if you'd like.
- poppy seeds - these seeds are the heart of the poppyseed dressing. If you omit them, it will taste different.
- olive oil - a good, fruity olive oil is best.
- salt and pepper - I love using flaky sea salt for this recipe.
See recipe card for exact quantities.
How to make apple kale slaw
Use a chef's knife to cut out the stems out of the kale with two long cuts. Remove the leaves from the tough ribs and slice them into thin, narrow ribbons. Discard the tough stems, or blend them into a pesto or a green hot sauce. Transfer leaves to a large bowl, drizzle a touch of olive oil on the chopped kale leaves, and massage the leaves for about 5 minutes.
Chop the apple into small cubes or matchsticks (you may want to use a mandolin for this). Transfer to the bowl.
Massage the kale
How to massage kale, you wonder? It means deliberately working the leaves between your fingers like you would when doing a massage on a human. Start by squeezing large clumps of leaves in your hands, and then progress to rubbing the leaves between your fingers. After about 3-5 minutes of doing this, your kale really softens and becomes pleasant to eat.
Make poppy seed dressing
Add finely diced onion and the rest of the dressing ingredients to a jar. Seal tightly and shake until emulsified. Taste the dressing - it should be tangy.
Add the dressing to bowl with kale and apples, and toss until the kale apple salad is fully coated.
Why I love this salad?
- Balanced flavor
- Quick and Easy to make
- Can be adapted to suit your taste profile
- Sweet and salty
- Can be prepared ahead of time
- Can be adapted to Paleo and Whole 30 diets
Make ahead and storage
Kale does well even if left mixed with the dressing, so feel free to make the salad ahead and let the kale sit in an airtight container for up to 1 day.
Leftover salad will keep for 2-3 more days.
Apple arugula salad
Substitute the kale for arugula leaves, or even sliced buttercup lettuce for a more delicate salad.
Add parmesan cheese
Another cheese that goes well here is parmesan! Just grate it and crumble the
Most sweet kale salads include additional ingredients like walnuts, pecans, goat cheese, and dried cranberries. While those are all delicious, they do add a ton of extra calories to your salad, so add them with caution!
Pair this light and zesty kale and Cosmic Crisp apple slaw with poppyseed salad dressing with a delectable main course like pan seared duck breast.
More salad recipes
Yes! Kale is rich in Vitamin A, C and K, as well as folate and omega 3 fatty acids which are harder to get on a vegan diet. The apple adds a bit of sugar to this dish, but it's quite reach in nutrients as well. You can omit any added maple syrup or honey from this recipe.
You can reduce the olive oil in the dressing by 1 tablespoon if you're watching the fat.
Yes, it can be made 1-2 days in advance. Leftovers will keep for 2-3 days as well.
Like this apple and kale salad recipe? Don't forget to leave a review and a star rating below, as well to pin the recipe for later use!
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Kale apple salad
- To make kale and apple salad: remove the ribs of the kale and slice the kale leaves thinly into narrow ribbons. Pour a bit of olive oil on the leaves, and massage them for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a large salad bowl.
- Dice the apple into cubes or matchsticks (you may want to use a mandolin for this).
- To make dressing, add finely diced onion and the rest of the dressing ingredients to a jar. Seal tightly and shake until emulsified. Pour the dressing to bowl with kale and apples, and toss until the kale apple salad is fully coated.
Welcome to At The Immigrant's Table! I blend my immigrant roots with modern diets, crafting recipes that take you on a global kitchen adventure. As a food blogger and photographer, I'm dedicated to making international cuisine both healthy and accessible. Let's embark on a culinary journey that bridges cultures and introduces a world of flavors right into your home. Read more...