This delicious Kale, Apple and Cranberry Salad tossed in an apple cider vinegar and maple dressing is the perfect side salad for your holiday table! With crunchy red apple, cranberries and toasted pecans in every bite, it is sure not to disappoint.
This kale salad recipe is sure to turn even the most avid kale haters into kale lovers. Massaging the kale makes it soft and tender. It's then dressed so delightfully with a maple vinaigrette. You can't go wrong! A holiday table isn't a holiday table without at least a few beautiful salads adorning it.
For more fall salads you might like to try my Roasted Pumpkin and Beetroot Salad, Golden Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad or my Autumn Roasted Vegetable Salad with Tahini Dressing. This goes perfectly served alongside my Green Beans with Cranberries and Almonds!
And for more cranberry salad recipes, see my post on 32 Easy Cranberry Salads for Thanksgiving.
What You'll Love About This Recipe
I am a big salad lover because the right combination of ingredients dressed in a homemade dressing can turn the most boring vegetables into something so delicious and show-stopping! Here's why you'll love this kale salad:
- It's the perfect side dish for dinner parties, a light lunch or weeknight dinner.
- This easy salad is the perfect combination of tender kale, toasted pecans, crisp apples and sweet cranberries.
- Dressed in a healthy maple syrup and apple cider dressing.
- The homemade dressing is refined sugar free.
- This vegan kale salad is perfect for fall.
Ingredients Notes and Substitutions
All of the simple ingredients in this recipe will be available from your local grocery store (given that kale is in season!). And some you probably already have on hand! Read on to see what ingredients you will need for this healthy salad.
- pink lady apples - my favorite type of apple to use are pink lady as they are slightly more tart apples. You could also use honeycrisp apples or any other apple you prefer.
- regular kale - I've used a common curly kale, however you could use lacinato kale (cavalo nero) or red Russian kale (ragged jack).
- pecans - I toast my pecans on a baking sheet in the oven for around 10 minutes at 180 degrees celsius (356 degrees Fahrenheit) for that extra toasty flavour. It's best to wait until the toasted pecans are cooled to room temperature before adding to the salad.
- dried cranberries - I always opt for dried cranberries that have been sweetened with fruit juice rather than sugar as they are much lower in overall sugar. Whatever you can find is fine though!
- olive oil - I always opt for extra virgin olive oil as it is much less processed than other olive oils.
- pure maple syrup - not maple flavoured syrup!
- apple cider vinegar
- sea salt
All ingredient quantities can be found on the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Health Benefits of Kale
Whether you're a kale lover or kale hater, there is no denying the health benefits of this controversial vegetable. Kale is classed as a superfood and for good reason. It:
- is high in minerals like magnesium and calcium.
- is high fibre soluble and insoluble fibre.
- contains fat soluble vitamins A (important for immune, eye and bone health) and K.
- contains some omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin C.
Dressing this kale in a healthy, homemade dressing helps your body to break down the kale and absorb the fat soluble vitamins more effectively. This fall kale salad is a delicious way to feed your body full of nutrients.
Find more nutritional information on the recipe card.
How to Make Kale, Apple and Cranberry Salad
This delicious kale salad is very quick and easy to make. With minimal steps, you will have a nutritious and beautiful salad ready in no time!
Step 1: Massage the kale. A good kale salad will have massaged kale. Massaging the kale helps to make it more tender and also helps you to digest it more easily. To do this, add the chopped kale to a large bowl or salad bowl. Drizzle the kale with olive oil and use your hands to massage the kale until it is tender.
Step 2: Make the salad dressing. To a small bowl add the olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and sea salt. Whisk until the ingredients have emulsified and no longer seperate.
Step 3: Assemble the salad. To the kale add the dried cranberries, diced apples and toasted pecans. Drizzle with as much dressing as desired and toss to combine. Serve and enjoy!
- If chopping the apples in advance, drizzle with lemon juice to stop from browning. Ideally, chop the apples just before assembling and serving the salad.
- To make salad ahead of time, add the kale, cranberries and apples to the salad bowl and toss with dressing. Add the pecans just before serving to preserve their crunch.
Store the kale, cranberry and apple salad in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Whether you feel like getting a little creative with this salad or you have some extra ingredients that you would like to use up, here are some other yummy additions to this salad.
- Butternut squash - add roasted, diced butternut squash before dressing.
- Bacon - fry diced bacon and add to salad before dressing.
- Creamy Goat Cheese - add soft goats cheese or salty feta to the salad before tossing.
- Nut free - use toasted sunflower seeds instead of pecans.
- Pomegranate - add pomegranate arils to the salad before tossing.
- Small ball
- Salad bowl
- Sharp knife
- Chopping Board
- Baking sheet
- bunch curly Kale stems removed, roughly chopped
- 2 red apples diced
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup pecans or other nut of choice
- 60 mL apple cider vinegar
- 80 mL olive oil extra virgin
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Sea salt
- Add the kale to a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Use hands to massage the kale until tender.bunch curly Kale
- Make the dressing by adding the extra virgin olive oil, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar and sea salt. Whisk until emulsified (the ingredients are combined and don't seperate).60 mL apple cider vinegar, 80 mL olive oil, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, Sea salt
- Assemble the salad by add the diced apples, pecans and cranberries to the kale. Top with preferred amount of dressing and toss to combine.2 red apples, ¼ cup dried cranberries