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 1 vote

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





  • Neelam Jayna: This looks delicious and festive!! Love that it’s so easy to make! September 24, 2016 at 11:15am Reply

  • Jackie: This is a keeper. I have made many salads with Apple,kale cranberries and walnuts with a similar dressing many times. Just reading the recipe tells me it’s a great recipe. Thank you for posting. September 24, 2016 at 1:08pm Reply

  • Paige Flamm: This salad looks incredible! I need to try it out for lunch tomorrow!

    Paige September 25, 2016 at 10:30am Reply

  • razi: You are foods like painting.
    enjoyable and beautiful.
    Thanks September 25, 2016 at 11:03am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much for the compliments Razi :)! September 26, 2016 at 11:18am Reply

  • Sandy Hillenbrand: Do you add the quinoa with the apples, walnuts and cranberries….don’t see where it is referenced after it is cooked.
    Looks delicious! Taking it to a party today!! October 8, 2016 at 12:57pm Reply

  • Nancy: This is an actual meal for us as we’re vegetarian! With the nuts, cranberries and quinoa it’s complete!!! Mmmmmm October 13, 2016 at 4:53am Reply

  • Vicky @ HowDaily: I really like Quinoa, it made the dish looks so attractive. October 15, 2016 at 10:21am Reply

  • Urszula Zurawicz: I just made this salad last night, it’s delishes. Love it. October 19, 2016 at 10:32am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you liked it Urszula! Thanks for your comment! October 19, 2016 at 10:40am Reply

  • Lynn: Made this salad with the Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Honey Goat Cheese and it added a nice kick. Thanks for the recipe! October 22, 2016 at 8:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad you tried this recipe! That cheese sounds delish! October 23, 2016 at 11:39am Reply

  • Jackie: I forgot to get lemons at the store :( do you think lime would work?? November 4, 2016 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes that would be fine. November 5, 2016 at 8:15am Reply

  • Reggie: How long can I store the dressing in the fridge? Once I combined olive oil and lemon juice and wisked, it became thicker, is that normal?
    Should it become a thick bright yellow dressing? January 8, 2017 at 11:39am Reply

  • Nicolle Queiroz Hazarbassanov: Thank you for the recipe Jaclyn! I am from Brazil And we had never seen kale before. My husband brought home to me last week as a surprise And had no idea what to do with it. But it came out great. We used the Cablanca dutch goat cheese in tiny pieces. It was awesome! Many thanks! January 9, 2017 at 4:28pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you got a chance to try it Nicolle! I wish I was down there in your warm weather! January 13, 2017 at 3:12pm Reply

  • Jocelyn: Is there a nutrition or calorie breakdown anywhere? January 24, 2017 at 9:17am Reply

  • Lindsay: I make this salad all the time and it’s delicious! It’s my go-to for any occasion! Thanks for sharing! February 8, 2017 at 3:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m glad you loved it Lindsay! February 16, 2017 at 12:39pm Reply

  • chris m: This was great! I thought there was too much honey at first but it all went so well together. I only had Feta cheese so I used that, also threw in two small cooked beets that I had and added in cooked chicken thighs to make it a whole meal. Thanks for this recipe I’ll make it again. February 9, 2017 at 12:12pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks for the great review Chris! February 16, 2017 at 12:38pm Reply

  • Jen: Great salad! Added some cut up rotisserie chicken for extra protein, and substituted feta for the goat cheese (that’s what I had on hand). March 15, 2017 at 11:12am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Great ideas – so glad you liked it Jen! March 27, 2017 at 11:35am Reply

  • Janet: Just wondering about the nutritional analysis? May 26, 2017 at 2:54pm Reply

  • Jana: Looks yummy, definitely making this! How many calories is in this ? October 10, 2017 at 9:27am Reply

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