Cranberry Apple Kale Salad is the ultimate Fall salad! Packed with crisp apples, sweet dried cranberries and salty nuts this is the perfect healthy salad recipe!
While this salad firmly falls in the “Autumn foods category,” it is a salad I enjoy year round! The combination of sweet apples and blueberries paired with salty roasted nuts is something I never tire of. This is an amazing, hearty, healthy side dish that pairs perfectly with classic flavors like this Perfect Roast Chicken.
This salad is also a great meal prep option because kale is so hearty that it can be dressed ahead of time and still be fresh and flavorful days later! Just follow my simple steps below to make the best kale salad!
Ingredients for Cranberry Kale Salad
As always, this is a quick overview of the ingredients you will need for this recipe. To get the complete recipe and instructions just keep scrolling.
- Kale: you can use your favorite variety of kale for this recipe. Just be sure to remove the tough stems for the best flavor and texture.
- Apple Cider Vinaigrette: olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, garlic
- Fruit: fresh blueberries, fresh apple, dried cranberries
- Nuts: toasted pecans and pistachios
Why do you massage kale for a salad?
If you’ve ever had a kale salad that was tough and bitter, it is likely because the kale wasn’t prepared properly. First of all, be sure to rinse your kale thoroughly with cold water and pat it dry. Next, you want to destem it, separating the leaves from the tough center stem.
Tear the stems and place into a large salad bowl. Once you have your dressing prepared, carefully massage it into the kale leaves until they become darker, fragrant and more tender.
How do you make Kale Apple Salad?
This is such an easy, satisfying salad! You only need to follow a few simple steps to make this delicious fall salad!
- Prepare the kale and massage with a few tablespoons of the salad dressing. Once the leaves have turned darker in color toss the salad with the blueberries, chopped apples, dried cranberries, and toasted nuts.
- Toss the salad with additional apple cider vinaigrette if desired.
How do you meal prep a kale salad?
Kale is ideal for meal prep as its texture becomes much less tough and bitter over time as it sits with the vinaigrette dressing.
For best results, prepare your kale and vinaigrette ahead of time (up to three days in advance), then add the remaining ingredients – this avoids them spoiling or becoming soggy in the liquid.
A rich kale salad is the perfect option if you’re looking to prepare your lunches for a few busy days in advance!
Tips for the Best Kale Salad
- Massage the kale for the best flavor and texture, check out my detailed instructions above.
- Dress the salad lightly at first, add more just before serving.
- While the kale can be dressed and massaged up to 3 days in advance, wait to add the fruits and nuts just before serving.
Other Easy Lunch Recipes
- Keto Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Turkey Bacon Ranch Pinwheels
- Easy Pizza Soup
- Keto Pepperoni Pizza Bites
- Chicken Taco Salad
Apple Cider Vinaigrette
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
- 6 cups torn kale, stems removed
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 Fuji apple, chopped
- Combine all of the Apple Cider Vinaigrette in a jar, secure the lid and shake vigorously. Taste the dressing and adjust the sweetener, salt and pepper to your preferences. Set dressing aside.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium low heat. Add the pecans and stir to coat. Lightly salt the pecans. Allow the nuts to toast over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- To make the salad combine the torn kale with about 1/3 of the dressing, use your hands to massage the dressing onto the leaves. This helps to tenderize the kale, resulting in a more tender, delicious salad.
- Add the pistachios, cranberries, blueberries, apples and toasted pecans and toss to coat.
- Add additional dressing if desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 404Total Fat: 32.5gCholesterol: 5.1mgSodium: 30mgCarbohydrates: 29.6gFiber: 5gSugar: 21.7gProtein: 4.7g