This apple kale salad is made with a wonderful range of greens, from apple and celery to edamame and seeds. They all come together to make a tasty, light salad with plenty of crunch that's great for lunch or as a side.
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For many years, I wasn't the biggest salad fan as they were often so sad and boring on the side of a plate. A stack of tasteless iceberg, a couple slices of cucumber and tomato and maybe some onion that was far too sharp that I never wanted to eat it.
Thankfully, salads in restaurants have improved over the years (well, at least some), and I have become much more adept at making a quick and tasty salad at home. Now I have a whole range that I make and love, from beet apple salad with maple vinaigrette, to nam khao (Lao crispy rice salad) and Thai pomelo salad to fattoush.
This super green salad is another one that is nicely different, and works in many settings. Yes, it may be a little simple on color, but it's packed with crunch and plenty to keep you interested as you eat it.
A latecomer to kale
I know in recent years, many people have gone crazy for kale since it's nutritionally dense, but I have to admit I have not always been as big a fan. I tend to find it less flexible to cook with and a little harder to eat than some other greens. Plus the flavor isn't always my favorite.
That said, it definitely has it's place, and I have come round to it more and more. One use in particular is that it can make a great base for salads. It has a lot more flavor than a simple lettuce and holds up well to dressings without wilting to nothing.
Kale has a slight bitterness, so I find it works really well with a touch of sweet, in contrast, and a seed or nutty element to compliment it (plus adding to texture).
So just as kale with cranberries and walnuts works well, so does the combination of kale and apple salad with seeds, as I have here. In fact the whole combination will put a smile on your face (excuse the cheesy picture above but hey, it was fun to make).
How to make this apple kale salad
This salad is really easy to make, too, as there are only a couple things to cut, the dressing takes a quick mix then you bring it all together. The only thing that takes a little longer is massaging the kale - this helps to soften up the leaves that makes it easier to eat so is a worthwhile step.
The quantities are more of a guide than exact as you can adapt it to your taste, depending on what you like more or less of (or what you need to use up!).
Ways to adapt this salad
The mix of ingredients in this work well, but you can of course adapt them to what you have or prefer. As mentioned, I think a little sweet and a little crunch are good, but variations include:
- Add some chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds.
- Sprinkle over some crumbled goat cheese.
- Bulk it out as more of a meal with eg some chopped chicken.
- Add some extra pops of color with a few pomegranate seeds or dried cranberries.
This salad is great for lunch, but it's also simple enough that it works well as a side salad. As mentioned, one of the great things about kale is that it holds up well, and this salad is great to pack for a picnic/packed lunch or store for a day in the fridge.
You can make the dressing further ahead, if you like, but I wouldn't recommend having the whole salad made more than a day (or two at most) as the apples will start to brown and microgreens will wilt.
Crunchy, full of flavor and easy to make, this kale apple salad is a great way to change up your salad game. It's a tasty combination, both hearty enough to be filling yet light enough to not be heavy. A green salad with a difference.
Try these other tasty leafy salads:
- Mexican chopped salad
- Winter fattoush salad
- Grilled chicken and blueberry salad
- Plus get more lunch recipes in the archives.
Apple kale salad
For dressing (or use other dressing of your choice)
- ¼ cup basil approx 7g/ ¼oz leaves only
- ¼ cup olive oil 4tbsp/60ml
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon crushed garlic
- ¼ teaspoon honey
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 5 oz kale 140g
- ½ apple suggest a variety that's relatively sharp but with some sweetness eg cox, pink lady
- 3 ribs celery
- 2 oz edamame 60g, pre-cooked
- 1 oz microgreens 30g
- 2 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- 2 tablespoon pumpkin seeds
- First, make the dressing. Place all of the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blend to break up and combine. Alternatively, finely chop the basil leaves. Whisk everything else together then stir through the chopped basil.
- Remove the stems from the kale then thinly slice the leaves into ribbons. I find it easiest to stack a few leaves at a time, roll them and then slice. Put the cut leaves in a salad bowl. Sprinkle over a little salt and massage it into the kale leaves to help them to soften - they should start to becomes a little more flexible and glossy.
- Cut the apple in half, core each quarter then cut into slices (or cut as sticks, if you prefer). Slice the celery then add both to the bowl along with the rest of the ingredients.
- Re-stir the dressing as it may well have separated then pour over the salad (you may not need all of it, so pour some, mix and see if you need more). Mix well to ensure kale in particular is well coated then serve.
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This post was first shared in July 2015 and has been updated, primarily with new photos and some additional information.