This apple and Kale Salad is the perfect hearty salad to accompany any fall or winter meal.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. See my full disclosure here.
I love making salads that go along with the seasons. During the summer I love to add fresh fruit or any fun farmers market finds and during the winter or fall months, I love to swap out the fresh summer greens for hearty kale. This Apple and Kale salad is the perfect addition to any meal around the holidays. It has a beautiful dark shade of green contrasted with the bright red and pink from the apple.
One of my favorite parts about this salad is that it does not get mushy from the dressing sitting on the kale like a traditional salad does. This salad gets better over time as the flavors meld together and kale gets tender, which makes it perfect for leftovers or meal prep!
Let’s talk about kale
Did you know there are two main types of kale you can find at the grocery store? There is the Curly variety, which is more often used, and then the Lacinato variety. The Lacinato variety also goes by the name of Tuscan or Dinosaur kale. This variety is darker than the Curly kale and has a flatter shape and pebbled texture. Tuscan kale also tends to be a little more tender and I prefer to use Tuscan kale anytime I am eating kale raw. It is perfect to add to salads!
Is kale a superfood?
Kale is full of vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, fiber, prebiotic carbohydrates, and so much more. There are a lot of really great properties stuffed in there! A superfood is any food that has high nutrient density and helps promote health. So, yes. Kale is a superfood!
De-stemming the kale
The stem of the kale is fibrous and tough. It is important to remove the stem so that the salad is easy to chew. A super easy way to do this is to take any kitchen tool, such as a spoon or tongs, that has a circle on the end. Then push the stem through the circle to easily rip the stem from the leaf.
Why should you massage kale?
The recipe says to “massage the kale”. I know this sounds pretty insane, but hear me out. When you massage the kale with oil, you are helping to break down the fibers and tenderize the kale. It is also said that it helps make the kale less bitter and helps with digestion. So don’t skip this step! Kale can be tough to chew, so this will yield a more tender product.
To massage the kale, just drizzle some olive oil over it and then rub it around in a kneading motion. I take some of the kale leaves between and fingers and run the oil into it as well.
How to make candied pecans
I love to make homemade candied pecans. It is so easy to do and you can substitute natural sugar for white sugar! I use pecans, butter, and coconut sugar. That’s it! Find my simple recipe here.
Helpful kitchen tools
I am newly in love with using a micoplane, especially for garlic! All you need to do is run the garlic on the blade and it turns it into a super fine dice. It is perfect to use for salad dressing so you do not get any large chunks of raw garlic. It is also really great for zesting citrus and for grating parmesan cheese.
I also love to use my Salad Dressing Shaker. When you make dressings, all you need to do is add all the ingredients and then shake it up! Then it stores super easy in the fridge for later use. The measuring lines on the bottle are super helpful too.
Pair this salad with a dinner recipe here!
Apple and Kale Winter Salad
- 1 bunch Tuscan or dinosaur kale
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Honeycrisp apple – sliced
- ⅓ cup chopped candied pecans (see note)
- ⅓ cup feta
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 clove of garlic- minced
- 1 tbsp shallot – finely diced
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- De-stem kale and chop it into small pieces. Add to a large bowl and then drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. “Massage” the oil into the kale by rubbing the oil onto it in a kneading motion.
- Add sliced apples, candied pecans, and feta.
- Add all ingredients for the vinaigrette in a small bowl and whisk to combine and emulsify. You could also add to a small jar with a lid and then shake vigorously to combine.
- Drizzle vinaigrette on top of the salad and toss everything together.