Kale Salad

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This Kale Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette is a versatile, flavorful, and easy salad to make. It’s loaded with texture from dried fruit, nuts, goat cheese, and apples. Even kale skeptics will love this salad!

Kale Salad with apples, pecans, cherries and goat cheese.

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Why We Love This Recipe

  • Champagne Vinaigrette – A super simple yet versatile salad dressing!
  • Loads of Texture – From the dried fruit to the nuts and goat cheese this kale salad has lots of texture!
  • Versatile – You can have this salad on its own for lunch or a light dinner or serve it alongside your favorite protein.

Ingredients For Kale Salad

Only 5 ingredients plus a simple vinaigrette dressing!

  • Kale – Curly kale, with the leaves stripped off the thick stems, then rinsed, dried and chopped.
  • Candied Pecans – You can also use salted, roasted pecans
  • Dried Cherries – or dried cranberries
  • Apple – I love using Honeycrisp!
  • Goat Cheese
  • Champagne Vinaigrette – Garlic, Dijon Mustard, Champagne Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Honey, Olive Oil, Salt, and Pepper
Ingredients for kale salad.

How To Make A Kale Salad

Get a detailed list of ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below.

It takes only minutes to toss together! Here are the easy steps:

  1. Prep Kale – Start by removing the kale leaves from the stems and chopping the leaves into small, bite-sized pieces. Add to a large bowl and massage handfuls of leaves with your hands for a few minutes. The leaves should become darker in color.
  2. Pecans, Cherries, and Apple – Roughly chop the pecans and cherries and add them to the kale. Then core and chop the apple into bite-sized chunks and add to the bowl.
  3. Goat Cheese – Crumble the goat cheese over the salad. 
  4. Champagne Vinaigrette – Make the dressing by whisking the ingredients in a small bowl (or shake it up in a mason jar) and pour over the salad. Toss the salad to coat everything evenly.
  5. Serve – I like to let the salad sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

FAQs

Can you eat kale raw in a salad?

Kale can be eaten raw in a salad. Kale is considered one of the most nutrient-dense foods. Although it can be cooked (I love it in soups), it is great raw in salads or smoothies.

What is better for you – spinach or kale?

Both spinach and kale are super nutritious but their benefits vary. Kale does have double the Vitamin C as spinach, but spinach has more folate and vitamin K. They both are said to help support heart health and protect against other diseases. If you want to try a spinach recipe this simple spinach salad is one of my favorites!

Why do people massage kale?

Massaging kale helps break down the tough, fibrous leaves. It makes the kale leaves easier to both chew and digest. It may seem like a strange concept, but it really makes a big difference!

Bowl of kale salad with apples; Champagn vinaigrette drizzled over with a spoon.

How To Keep The Apple From Browning

If you don’t plan to serve immediately, soak the chopped apple in a solution of 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups water for 5 minutes (increase the amount if needed, using the same ratio). Rinse and let dry, then add to the bowl. This will keep the apples from browning for up to 8-10 hours.

Serving Suggestions

This is a great recipe to serve as a side or starter! It’s great alongside your favorite protein like a roast chicken, herb pork tenderloin, or air fryer pork chops.

Or make a refreshing salad with kale for lunch, either on it’s own or with some chicken, salmon or shrimp.

Kale salad with tongs.

Variations

  • Nuts – Instead of pecans, walnuts are another great choice! Or if there is a nut allergy, you can omit or even try using sunflower seeds. 
  • Chicken – This salad is great topped with shredded or diced chicken for a full meal.
  • Other Vinegar – If you don’t have champagne vinegar, you can swap in apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar.

Make Ahead and Storage

  • Make Ahead: The salad dressing can be made up to one week in advance and stored in the fridge. You’ll want to bring it to room temperature and give it another whisk or shake in the jar.
  • Storage: Kale actually holds up pretty well, even once dressed, so if you have leftovers you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you plan to store the salad, you’ll want to either hold the apples or soak them in the water/salt solution mentioned above.
Small bowl served with kale salad.

Expert Tips

  • Massage Kale – I know it seems strange but I promise massaging the kale leaves makes a big difference! It helps the leaves have a better texture that is easier to chew.
  • Prep the Apples – If you are preparing the salad earlier in the day, then you can soak the apples in a saltwater mixture (1 teaspoon salt + 2 cups of water) to prevent browning for 8-10 hours.

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Kale salad, social media image.

Kale Salad

5 from 2 votes
Kale Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette is versatile, flavorful, and easy. It’s loaded with texture from dried fruit, nuts, goat cheese,and apples.
Prep Time 15 mins
Total Time 15 mins
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 488kcal

Ingredients
  

Kale Salad

  • ½ cup candied pecans or salted and toasted
  • 2 bunches of kale
  • ½ cup dried cherries (or cranberries
  • 1 medium Honeycrisp apple
  • 2 ounces soft goat cheese chilled

Champagne Vinaigrette

  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Remove the kale leaves from the stems and discard the stems. Chop the kale into small, bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl. Massage big handfuls of kale leaves with your hands for a few minutes, until the leaves are darker in color. This will help to break down the leaves a bit so they aren’t as tough.
  • Give the pecans and cherries a rough chop and add them to the bowl. Core and chop the apple* into bite-sized chunks and add it to the bowl as well.
  • Crumble the goat cheese over the salad.
  • Briskly whisk the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl, pour over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Let the salad sit for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Notes

  • Make ahead: The salad dressing can be made up to one week in advance and stored in the fridge. You’ll want to bring it to room temperature and give it another whisk or shake in the jar.
  • Storage: Kale actually holds up pretty well, even once dressed, so if you have leftovers you can store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. If you plan to store the salad, you’ll want to either hold the apples or soak them in the water/salt solution mentioned above.
  • Keep apples from browning: If you don’t plan to serve immediately, soak the chopped apple in a solution of 1 teaspoon salt and 2 cups water for 5 minutes (increase the amount if needed, using the same ratio). Rinse and let dry, then add to the bowl. This will keep the apples from browning for up to 8-10 hours.

Nutrition

Calories: 488kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 7gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 520mgPotassium: 315mgFiber: 6gSugar: 27gVitamin A: 7210IUVitamin C: 66mgCalcium: 221mgIron: 2mg

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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