Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad


I’ve finally found a way to eat raw kale and have it actually taste good…and here you have it. This Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad has totally changed my entire outlook on raw kale. We couldn’t get over how good this salad was and I’m already thinking of when I’ll be making it again!

Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad | Cooking Classy

What helps a lot with this salad is letting the dressing rest on the kale for 15 minutes before serving it to help soften the kale. The flavor of the dressing, thanks to the lemon juice and honey in it, also really helps tone down the flavor of the kale. Plus, it also just compliments all of the others flavors in this salad – like that of the quinoa, walnuts, apples and goat cheese. I love each and every ingredient in this salad so I don’t recommend leaving anything out. Substitutions could be made based on what you have on hand, like regular quinoa is fine, pecans could replace the walnuts and feta could replace the goat cheese (although try it at least once with the goat cheese, it’s so good with this salad and isn’t it just the cheese of fall?). Another thing that would work fine here is baby kale, but do note that it won’t require a resting period and it won’t hold up as long as the regular curly leaf kale.

I just served this kale salad as a healthy side to grilled chicken for dinner and it was such a delicious meal! Now that it’s getting so cold though I’m sure I’ll be saying good bye to grilled chicken dinners and hello to a lot more roasted chicken dinners but that is more fitting for a fall meal anyway. Save this recipe and make it soon. It’s a fall must, trust me!


Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad | Cooking Classy Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad | Cooking Classy Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad | Cooking ClassyAutumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad | Cooking Classy


Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad

5 from 10 votes

Yield: About 7 servings



  • 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


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


  1. Cook quinoa according to directions on package and cool completely. While quinoa is cooling, 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. Cover bowl and chill 15 minutes (adding the dressing and letting it rest helps soften kale a bit).
  2. Remove salad from refrigerator, add apples, quinoa, walnuts and cranberries. Pour remaining dressing over salad then toss. Add goat cheese and toss just lightly. Serve or store covered in refrigerator for up to 4 hours.
  3. *Note that 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.
  4. Recipe source: Cooking Classy





  • Maur: I made this following the steps and my whole family loved it! The dressing was the perfect choice for the salad. Thanks for sharing. June 18, 2018 at 3:42pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for taking the time to comment and let me know you enjoyed it! June 29, 2018 at 11:59am Reply

  • Anita: Hi, I can’t wait ..I will try tomorrow.can I substitute goat cheese To cottage cheese.. May 15, 2018 at 9:47pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You can add cottage cheese to salad but I’d drain and maybe even rinse first. May 15, 2018 at 11:52pm Reply

  • Tamela: Absolutely delicious! April 22, 2018 at 5:58pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks! So glad you like it! April 24, 2018 at 11:41am Reply

  • Cordelle: I have made this several times and I love it! I’ve used Feta for Goat and Pecans for walnuts, using whatever I have at the time and it is equally delicious!! March 18, 2018 at 6:59pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked it – thanks for your feedback! :) March 23, 2018 at 4:48pm Reply

  • Cynthia Solano: Would i be able to substitute the goat cheese for Feta? February 8, 2018 at 8:17am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes definitely! February 19, 2018 at 11:32am Reply

  • Audrey Babson: I made this while in Alabama visiting family and it was a huge hit!! I’m def going to make it again! February 6, 2018 at 4:02pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great feedback Audrey! February 9, 2018 at 11:47am Reply

  • K Brown: Wow! This was a great find..made it and was awesome. I feel like I’m a chef now.???? January 31, 2018 at 9:50am Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked it! Thanks for leaving a review. :) February 5, 2018 at 12:14pm Reply

  • Éva: Even my four year old had a plate full!???? January 24, 2018 at 2:36pm Reply

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