Kale Salad

June 16, 2021

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Refreshing Kale Salad made with crisp curly kale, sweet apples, shredded carrot, toasted almonds, sharp white cheddar and a lemony dressing. So much goodness in every bite!

Photo: Kale salad with sliced apples, carrots, red onions, white cheddar and almonds shown in a wooden bowl over a marble surface. A red cloth is shown to the side and wooden salad spoons.

Shredded Kale Apple Salad

This is my favorite easy kale salad! It’s brimming with freshness and has a vibrant, sweet and tangy vinaigrette dressing that perfectly highlights it.

And can we appreciate the fact that it doesn’t wilt within minutes of adding the dressing like other salads may start to? Which makes it a great option for a dinner party or cookout.

It compliments so many meals and uses ingredients that you can easily get year round.

For a quick and simple dinner or lunch you can serve it as a side paired with a basic protein such as grilled chicken or salmon.

It’s a healthy salad recipe you’ll want to make on repeat. A delicious kale crunch salad with the best blend of flavors!

Photo showing ingredients used to make kale salad. Includes kale, apples, lemon, red onion, carrots, white cheddar, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, olive oil and slivered almonds.

Kale Salad Recipe Ingredients

  • Olive oil: Regular or extra-virgin olive oil will work depending on how strong of a flavor you’d like.
  • Lemon juice: In a pinch lime juice will work too. Be sure to use fresh.
  • Apple cider vinegar: White wine or red wine vinegar can be used instead.
  • Maple syrup: Don’t use pancake syrup. Honey is another great option.
  • Dijon mustard: If you’re out regular yellow mustard will be ok since it’s a small amount.
  • Salt and pepper: Season dressing with a fair amount.
  • Kale: I make this with curly kale but Tuscan kale will be tasty too.
  • Apple: Pears are another great option.
  • Carrots: No great subs here, just omit if you are out.
  • Slivered almonds: Substitute with walnuts or pecans.
  • Sharp white cheddar: Other options are yellow cheddar, gouda, provolone, Colby or Swiss or feta.
  • Red onion: Green onions will work as well.
    Collage of four photos showing how to make dressing, remove kale from stems and spin kale in salad spinner to dry.

How to Make Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing

  1. Make kale salad dressing: In a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let rest in fridge while preparing remaining salad ingredients.
  2. Prepare kale leaves: Remove kale leaves from thick ribs. Rinse and run through a salad spinner to dry well.
  3. Thin slice kale: Working in batches on a cutting board, gather and bunch kale leaves together and thinly slice creating ribbons.
  4. Add salad ingredients to bowl: Transfer kale to a very large bowl along with apples, carrots, almonds, cheddar cheese and red onion.
  5. Toss with dressing: Whisk dressing again then pour over salad. Toss well to evenly coat.
  6. Serve within a few hours for best results.

Collage of four photos showing how to thinly slice kale, shred carrots and cheddar, and slice apples into matchsticks. Then shows all salad ingredients in a bowl before tossing.

Helpful Tips for the Best Kale Salad

  • Use freshest, good quality ingredients.
  • Chill dressing for a little while for a colder more refreshing salad. Also chill other ingredients like the apple and red onion.
  • Rinse kale to remove dirt and even bugs, then be sure to spin dry in a salad spinner so dressing clings well to leaves.
  • Slice ingredients thinly to tone down crunch slightly and for more uniformity.
  • Serve salad within a few hours of preparing so it doesn’t get soggy and so apples don’t brown.

Photo: Kale salad shown from above.

Variations

I think you’ll love this salad perfectly as it is but you can also try:

  • Adding diced avocado
  • Dried cranberries
  • Chick peas
  • Fresh pomegranate arils
  • Cooked quinoa or farro
  • For a more tender salad (with less crunch) you can massage the kale leaves in palms of your hands for about a minute before adding to salad.
  • To make it vegan replace cheddar with a vegan cheese.

Photo: Shredded kale salad shown close up on a bowl.

More Delicious Salad Recipes to Try

Photo: Kale salad with sliced apples, carrots, red onions, white cheddar and almonds shown in a wooden bowl over a marble surface. A red cloth is shown to the side and wooden salad spoons.
5 from 14 votes

Kale Salad

Refreshing Kale Salad made with crisp kale, sweet apples, shredded carrot, toasted almonds, sharp white cheddar and a vibrant lemony vinaigrette. So much goodness in every bite!
Servings: 8
Prep20 minutes
Ready in: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp real maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. curly kale (about 2 large bunches)
  • 1 large (9 oz.) apple, recommend gala, julienned
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted slivered almonds, toasted
  • 3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup sliced red onion, slice very thin

Instructions

  • In a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let rest in fridge while preparing remaining salad ingredients.
  • Remove kale leaves from thick ribs. Rinse and run leaves through a salad spinner to dry well. Working in batches on a cutting board, gather and bunch kale leaves together and thinly slice creating ribbons.
  • Transfer kale to a very large bowl along with apples, carrots, almonds, cheddar cheese and red onion.
  • Whisk dressing again then pour over salad. Toss well to evenly coat.
  • Serve within a few hours for best results.
Nutrition Facts
Kale Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 286 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 14g
Cholesterol 11mg4%
Sodium 108mg5%
Potassium 437mg12%
Carbohydrates 17g6%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 7629IU153%
Vitamin C 64mg78%
Calcium 193mg19%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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31 Comments

  • Arielle

    What about massaging the kale in the dressing before hand? Would you recommend that?

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      It just depends on personal preference and how tender you want it. I’ve tried both ways and prefer not massaged for more body and a little crunch.

      • Arielle

        I ended up massaging it with a lil olive oil beforehand. This recipe is great and will be making again! Can’t believe how good it is. Loved all the different textures and flavors!🙂

  • Jen

    I’ve made this many times in the last few weeks. It’s absolutely delicious and goes with so much. Even earned its way onto our Christmas dinner table! Love it.

  • EastCoast

    First time making a kale salad not out of a bag so I was not expecting much, but this is really enjoyable. Nice combination of flavours with toasted pecans, sharp cheese, balanced with the acidity if the dressing and apples… Thanks for sharing, will definitely make again.

  • Stacy

    My picky son even likes this — ate every bite. Miracle! And, it keeps for DAYS in the fridge! Thank you!

  • Sarah Abrahams

    Hi, Jaclyn!

    I’m so happy to have found your site! LOVE IT!

    A friend (I’ve lost track of) made one once that I flipped over! When I saw you had a recipe for ”FRESH KALE SALAD” I was excited thinking it would be the perfect side to take to an upcoming event this weekend.

    I was disappointed, however, when I came to view it, just now. I can’t find anywhere on the page where it gives the amount I should use for each ingredient; only *an ingredient list*; which is NOT helpful enough for me (or others like me).

    Have I missed something? I’ve scrolled up and down the page but am not seeing anything that tells me the *quantities* I should use to make this delicious salad. Thanks in advance for your help! Looking forward to your reply…

    Sarah

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Hi Sarah! I’m so sorry about the trouble! If you click the “recipe” button near the top of the page it should jump you down to where the recipe box is located or if you scroll down the page the recipe box should be there. Maybe it was just taking a little longer to load or something. Hope you enjoy this!

    • Susan

      Wonderful recipe! We skip the cheese (dietary issues) and microwave the kale for about 25 seconds to soften slightly. Sooooo good! Thanks for posting.

    • Susan

      Sarah,
      We make up a double batch (or triple haha) of dressing, add some to the salad depending on how much dressing we like, and feel is needed on the salad, and refrigerate the rest. Can then make a small salad later or use it all…it’s however you want it to be, taste wise. Very flexible. It keeps in the refrigerator.

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