You will love this delicious Kale Apple Salad with Honey Dressing. It is dressed with a sweet honey vinaigrette and topped with crisp apples, pickled onions, salty pepitas, and bacon.
The vinaigrette dressing is lightly sweetened with honey and pairs beautifully with the other salad ingredients. Because kale is so sturdy it holds up well to this sweet dressing.
This apple kale salad recipe is one of my favorite ways to serve kale.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- This crunch simple salad is easy to make and filled with flavor.
- Because kale is a hardier green this salad can be made in advance without becoming too soggy.
- Kale and apples are available year-round so they are always easy to find in the grocery store.
What Are the Types of Kale?
Below are three of the most common varieties of kale.
Curly Leaf Kale: Curly leaf kale is one of the most common types of kale sold in grocery stores. It can range in color from pale to dark green and has long stems with frilly-edge leaves.
Lacinato Kale: Lacinato kale is sometimes known as dinosaur kale or Tuscan kale. It is dark blue-green in color and has long slender flat rather than curly leaves.
Red Russian Kale: Red Russian kale has large oak-shaped leaves that range in color from blue-green to purple-red. It is slightly sweeter and more tender than other varieties of kale.
How to Choose the Best Kale
Look for fresh green leaves that hold their shape without wilting. Avoid kale with soft stems and holes in the leaves.
Store kale in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days.
How Do You Make Kale Less Bitter For Salads?
Kale may not be everyone's favorite vegetable. It can be bitter and tough to chew. Preparing it properly can help to make it more palatable.
Wash the kale in cool water then remove the leaves from the tough stem. I like to fold the leaf in half along the stem and use my knife to cut both sides of the leaf from the stem. Roll the leaves together and slice them into thin strips. Here's a video of my favorite technique for cutting kale.
Pour half of the dressing over the kale. Massage kale by grabbing handfuls scrunching them in your fingers and releasing. As you massage it the kale will turn darker green in color.
Massaging the kale with the dressing starts to break down the cell walls and helps to tenderize it and reduce its bitterness. Adding a little honey to the dressing will also help to mask any remaining bitterness.
Kale: Kale is one of my favorite greens. It is a great sturdy base for a salad and holds up well to lots of dressing and extended storage in the refrigerator.
Raw kale can be pretty tough. I always remove the leafy parts and compost the tough chewy ribs.
If you don't have any kale, this salad would also taste delicious with shredded Brussels sprouts.
Apple: I like to pair this recipe with a firm and sweet apple. Some of my favorites are gala, fuji, pink lady, and honeycrisp apples. If you prefer tart apples, granny smith apples are a great option.
Pickled Onion: I love pickled onions! Lately, I have been adding them to everything, burgers, tacos, pizza, and this salad. Here is my favorite recipe for pickled onions. Simply mix the brine together and add the onions. The onions will pickle while you prepare the rest of the salad.
While I love the briny flavor pickled red onions bring to this salad you can also use diced raw red onion for a sharper flavor.
Pepitas: Pepitas are harvested from specific varieties of pumpkins that produce hull-less seeds. They are usually sold roasted and salted. Their crunch texture adds a nice crunch to the salad.
Bacon: I love the salty crunch that crisp bacon brings to this salad. My favorite way to cook bacon is in the oven. Simply preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, place the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your bacon.
If like me you like to save your bacon grease the foil makes it easy to funnel the bacon grease into a container for storage. To use some of this leftover bacon grease I recommend making these bacon bourbon chocolate chip cookies.
Gruyere Cheese: Gruyere cheese adds a hint of creaminess to this crunchy salad. Gruyere is a softer cheese and can be a bit tricky to grate. Try popping it in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it firmer and easier to grate.
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Extra-virgin olive oil is extracted using a cold-press method without additional heat or chemicals. It has a lower acidity content compared to other varieties of olive oil. Because of its lower acidity, it is typically used in salad dressings rather than regular olive oil that you might use for sauteeing.
Apple Cider Vinegar: Tangy apple cider vinegar is sweet and tangy and echos the flavor of the chopped apples in the salad. If you don't have apple cider vinegar you could also use lemon juice.
Honey: Honey lightly sweetens the dressing and helps to tone down the bitterness of the kale.
Thyme: Thyme adds an herby freshness and pairs beautifully with the apples and bacon.
Rimmed Baking Sheet: Baking bacon on a rimmed baking sheet is my favorite low-mess way to cook bacon.
Cutting Board: When choosing a cutting board you want to select one that is large enough so that you don't feel cramped while chopping food. One of my favorites is this wooden cutting board from Teakhaus. Wooden cutting boards do require a bit of maintenance. You should wipe the cutting board down with some mineral oil regularly to keep it from drying out.
Chef Knife: There is a decent amount of chopping needed to make this salad. A sharp good quality chef knife will make this task much easier and safer. I just bought a new Miyabi Kaizen Chef's Knife which I absolutely love.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, place the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes depending upon the thickness of your bacon.
In a small bowl whisk the homemade dressing ingredients together. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
You could also shake all of the ingredients together in a sealed mason jar.
Wash and remove the kale leaves from their stems. Chop the kale leaves and massage them with half the dressing. The acid in the dressing will start to break down the leaves making them more tender and easier to chew.
Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Toss the salad to combine. Drizzle to taste with the remaining dressing.
This hearty kale salad can be made up to five days in advance. For the best quality, I suggest storing the dressing separately in an airtight container and waiting to cut up the apple until just before serving.
Once the salad has been dressed refrigerate for up to 2 days. Any longer and the salad will become soggy.
Because life is all about balance I love to serve this healthy kale salad alongside this Sourdough Fried Chicken.
This salad is also delicious topped with grilled chicken and served as the main course.
The best thing about salads is that they are extremely customizable. You can leave out any ingredients you don't like and easily make substitutions. Salads are also a great way to use up random ingredients in your refrigerator.
Try substituting your favorite nut, like crunchy walnuts, for the pepitas. Substitute a pear or pomegranate seeds for the apple. Not a fan of gruyere cheese? Easily substitute some shredded cheddar cheese, feta cheese, or parmesan cheese.
You can also try using white wine or white balsamic vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar.
- Cut the kale into small bite-sized pieces. You can also purchase pre-cut kale at the grocery store. You will most likely have to pick through the bag and remove any thick stem pieces.
- Add some grains like quinoa, farro, or brown or wild rice and some protein like grilled chicken to make this a complete meal.
- Roasted butternut squash would also make a delicious addition to this kale apple salad recipe.
- If they aren't already roasted, for more flavor, toast the pumpkin seeds before adding them to the salad. Spread the pumpkin seeds out in an even layer on a baking sheet and toast them in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 to 8 minutes.
More Delicious Side Dish Ideas
Kale Apple Salad with Honey Dressing
- baking sheet
- salad bowl
- ¼ cup chopped bacon 3 slices
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 5 cups chopped kale
- 1 small diced firm sweet apple honey crisp, fuji, gala, etc.
- ¼ cup finely chopped pickled onions
- ¼ cup pepitas
- ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, place the ¼ cup chopped bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes depending upon the thickness of your bacon.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt, and ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper until combined.
- Wash and remove the 5 cups chopped kaleale from their stems. Chop the kale leaves and massage them with half the dressing.
- Add the 1 small diced firm sweet apple, ¼ cup finely chopped pickled onions, ¼ cup pepitas, and ¼ cup shredded Gruyere cheese to the bowl.
- Toss the salad to combine. Drizzle to taste with the remaining dressing.
- This hearty kale salad can be made up to five days in advance. For the best quality, I suggest storing the dressing separately and waiting to cut up the apple until just before serving.
- Once the salad has been dressed refrigerate for up to 2 days. Any longer and the salad will become soggy.
Thanks for Reading!
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and rate it below! You can also snap a picture and post it on Facebook or Instagram be sure to tag me @RaspberriesandKohlrabi.