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

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Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad

5 from 11 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




  • 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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