Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad

11.10.2018

Kale Salad with Apples and Quinoa has totally changed my entire outlook on raw kale! Fresh kale leaves are tossed with sweet crisp apples, nutritious quinoa, chewy dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts, tangy goat cheese and it’s finished with a bright vinaigrette. A delicious fall salad!

Kale salad with gala apples, quinoa, walnuts, goat cheese, and cranberries in a ceramic serving bowl. It's dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.

The Perfect Kale Salad Recipe!

Thanks to this refreshing kale salad, I’ve finally found a way to eat raw kale and have it actually taste good! We couldn’t get over how delicious this salad was and I’m already thinking of when I’ll be making it again!

The flavor of the dressing, thanks to the lemon juice and honey in it, really helps tone down the somewhat harsh flavor of the raw kale. Plus, it also just compliments all of the others flavors in this salad – like that of the quinoa, walnuts, apples and goat cheese.

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This is the perfect side at dinner to roasted chicken and mashed or roasted potatoes. It’s also the perfect salad to bring to a party.

Originally shared Sept. 2016.

Kale salad ingredients in a salad bowl before tossing.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Tricolor quinoa
  • Curly kale
  • Apples
  • Walnuts
  • Cranberries
  • Goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Honey
  • Dijon

Are There Substitutions?

  • Regular brown quinoa is fine in place of the tricolor
  • Pecans could replace the walnuts.
  • Feta could replace the goat cheese.
  • Baby kale or lacinato kale can be used in place of curly kale, but do note that it won’t require a resting period and may not hold up as long.

Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad | Cooking Classy

How to Make This Easy Kale Salad

  • Cook quinoa according to directions on package and cool completely.
  • Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl.
  • Add kale to a salad bowl, whisk dressing once more then pour 3/4 of the dressing over kale and toss until kale is evenly coated. Chill 15 minutes.
  • Add apples, quinoa, walnuts and cranberries.
  • Pour remaining dressing over salad then toss. Add goat cheese, toss gently.

Tips for This Salad

  • Use sweet apples to balance the tartness of the lemon. Use pretty red onions for a pretty color contrast.
  • Let the dressing rest on the kale to help soften those not so tender leaves.
  • Store it in the fridge up to 4 hours. Finally a salad that holds up well for a while!

Close up image of kale salad with apples, quinoa, goat cheese and walnuts mixed in.

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Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad

5 from 12 votes

This kale salad has totally changed my entire outlook on raw kale! Fresh kale leaves are tossed with crisp sweet apples, nutritious quinoa and chewy dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts, tangy goat cheese and it's finished with a bright vinaigrette. It's the perfect side dish to roasted chicken and mashed or roasted potatoes.

Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Apple Salad, Kale Salad
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 7
Calories: 388 kcal
Author: Jaclyn

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1/2 cup tricolor dry quinoa
  • 6 cups slightly packed chopped kale (it will take about 1 1/2 bunches. Remove thick ribs before chopping, 6 oz chopped)
  • 2 crisp sweet apples, cored and chopped* (I used gala apples)
  • 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook quinoa and cool: Cook quinoa according to directions on package and cool completely. 

  2. Whisk dressing ingredients: While quinoa is cooling, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, dijon and salt in a jar or bowl. 

  3. Pour 3/4 dressing over kale, chill: Add kale to a salad bowl, whisk dressing once more then pour 3/4 of the dressing over kale and toss until kale is evenly coated. Cover bowl and chill 15 minutes (adding the dressing and letting it rest helps soften kale a bit).

  4. Toss in remaining mix-ins and dressing: Remove salad from refrigerator, add apples, quinoa, walnuts and cranberries. Pour remaining dressing over salad then toss. Add goat cheese and toss just lightly. 

  5. Serve or store covered in refrigerator for up to 4 hours (see notes).

Recipe Notes

  • This salad actually does hold up really well for a few hours, but with that said I recommend dipping the apples in a lemon water solution (1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice with 1 cup water in a bowl), let apples rest in the mixture for about 1 minute then remove and drain on paper towels. This helps reduce browning if you aren't going to be eating the salad right away.
Nutrition Facts
Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 388 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 42%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 7mg 2%
Sodium 91mg 4%
Potassium 476mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 15g
Protein 9g 18%
Vitamin A 118.5%
Vitamin C 90.1%
Calcium 13.3%
Iron 13.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

57 comments

  • Christine: I made this salad one week ago and honestly, it keeps getting better everyday. I love this salad, but will probably make half the size next time. November 29, 2018 at 1:34pm Reply

  • Katie: Can you clarify the amount of kale? It says “6 cups slightly packed chopped kale (it will take about 1 1/2 bunches. Remove thick ribs before chopping, 6 oz chopped)”

    6 oz and 6 cups are two very different things. Did you mean to put 6 cups chopped at the end?

    Great recipe :) I’m excited to make it! I love your spinach/pear/pom salad! October 23, 2018 at 9:46pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Kale doesn’t weigh much per cup, the weight comes out much different then say 1 cup of sugar or water. But yes it will be 6 cups after chopping and measuring. Hope you enjoy! October 23, 2018 at 11:25pm Reply

  • Tera: Absolutely delicious recipe! September 27, 2018 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Kim: Amazing! I ate a second helping 4 hours later and it was even better. I used feta cheese instead of the goat cheese. This will be a new favorite in my house. September 3, 2018 at 5:36pm Reply

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