Kale Apple Walnut Salad with Cider Dressing

GFGluten FreeGRGrain FreeVVegan

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This Kale Apple Walnut Salad with Cider Dressing is the perfect fall salad recipe! Sweet apples, crunchy walnuts, and tender kale drenched in a tangy apple cider dressing. Vegan, Grain-Free.

This Kale Apple Walnut Salad with Cider Dressing is a hearty kale salad loaded up with crisp diced apple and buttery walnut pieces and dressed with a sweet and tangy apple cider vinaigrette. The perfect fall salad recipe highlights all the season’s yummy flavors! 

kale apple walnut salad in serving bowl with wooden salad spoons

A SWEET & TANGY EVERYDAY SALAD 

I may not have broken out the pumpkin recipes..yet, but as fall creeps in, I just can’t stop myself from making this Kale Apple Walnut Salad to celebrate the new seasonal produce. It’s the perfect segway from warmer weather into the cozy days of fall – crunchy kale, fresh parsley, sweet apple, and buttery walnuts get coated in a quick & easy cider dressing for a texture and flavor combination that is next level. While this salad highlights the flavors of fall, it’s an everyday recipe you can easily make any time of year since apples, kale, and walnuts are available year-round! 

INGREDIENTS FOR KALE APPLE WALNUT SALAD WITH CIDER DRESSING

ingredients for kale apple salad on kitchen countertop

This 15-minute kale apple salad is made up of two components: the salad and the homemade dressing. For the salad, a bed of freshly chopped kale and parsley gets topped with sweet bite-sized pieces of Honeycrisp apple, chopped walnuts, and cracked black pepper. And the toppings don’t have to stop there–you can also add some vegan feta cheese crumbles for an extra creamy touch. If you’d like to make this recipe nut-free, simply swap the walnuts for pumpkin seeds.

For our easy homemade cider dressing, we’ll simply combine all of our ingredients in a jar and shake; no whisk or blender necessary! Buttery extra virgin olive oil and tangy apple cider vinegar make up the base, while dijon mustard, maple syrup, garlic, and salt bring loads of sweet and tangy flavor. For an oil-free dressing, you can swap this super creamy tahini dressing instead and use apple cider vinegar rather than lemon juice.

HOW TO MAKE KALE APPLE WALNUT SALAD WITH CIDER DRESSING

side by side photos of kale apple walnut salad in mixing bowl

  1. Shake oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, and salt in a jar until emulsified. 
  2. Add the chopped kale leaves to a bowl, pour in ¾ of the dressing, and massage the kale until tender. 
  3. Add parsley, apple, walnuts, and remaining dressing and mix. Enjoy! 

This kale salad is best served fresh, but if you have any leftovers, they can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you’d like to make this ahead of time, you can prep and store the greens and dressing separately until you’re ready to enjoy.

CAITLIN’S COOKING TIPS

  • Massage your Kale: Kale is nothing without a good massage! It helps tenderize the tough leaves and makes them easier to digest (and cuts any bitter taste!).
  • Make it a Main: To turn this salad into a wholesome, filling main, you can add chickpeas or serve this side dish with some crispy tofu. 

kale apple walnut salad in serving bowl with wooden salad spoons

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

This salad is delicious enough to be a side or the main course, but if you’re serving it as a side, it would be delicious alongside meaty beet burgers or smoky BLT sandwiches. If you’re serving it as a main, you can bulk it up with protein-packed chickpeas or crispy tofu and serve it with a side of roasted tomato soup, dijon garlic potato wedges, or roasted parsnips

If you’re looking for more flavor-packed salad recipes, you’ll also love this Kale & Cranberry Salad with Tahini Dressing, this Fresh Thai-Inspired Salad with Tempeh, and this Buffalo Tofu Salad with Creamy Hemp Ranch

FAQ: 

  • Can you eat kale raw in a salad? Yes–raw kale is high in fiber and can sometimes be a bit tough, but massaging the kale before eating it makes it more tender and easier to chew and digest. Plus, it makes it taste more delicious!
  • How do you get the bitterness out of kale salad? Massaging it will help, but also pairing it with sweet and acidic ingredients will help balance out the naturally bitter flavors of kale.
  • What apples are the best for salads? I prefer Honeycrisp apples because I love their crunchy texture and tart-but-sweet bite, but you could also make this recipe with a Granny Smith or Fuji apple depending on your taste preference and what you have on hand! 
  • What nuts are the best for salads? So many different types of nuts and seeds can be used as salad toppings–walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, almonds, pistachios, cashews, peanuts…you name it!

close up photo of kale apple walnut salad

Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊 

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Kale Apple Walnut Salad with Cider Dressing

This Kale Apple Walnut Salad with Cider Dressing is the perfect fall salad recipe! Sweet apples, crunchy walnuts, and tender kale drenched in a tangy apple cider dressing. Vegan, Grain-Free.

  • Author: Caitlin Shoemaker
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: No-Bake
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan

Ingredients

Scale

For the Cider Dressing:

  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons grade A maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 small garlic clove, grated (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Salad:

  • 1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
  • 1 honeycrisp apple, diced (or other apple of choice)
  • 1/2 cup (55 g) walnuts, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Make the Dressing: add the oil, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, garlic, and salt to a small mason jar. Seal the jar well and shake vigorously until emulsified, about 20 to 30 seconds.
  2. Massage: Add the chopped kale to a large bowl and pour 3/4 of the dressing over it. Use clean hands to massage the dressing into the kale for 45 to 60 seconds, until the kale is tender and has reduced in volume.
  3. Mix: Add the parsley, apple, and walnuts to the bowl with the kale and top with the remaining dressing, plus black pepper to taste. Use salad tongs or two large spoons to mix everything together well.
  4. Serve as desired; leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes

  • Oil-Free: Make this Tahini Dressing instead, using cider vinegar instead of lemon juice!
  • Nut Substitutions: this recipe would also be delicious with pecans instead of walnuts, or with pumpkin seeds for a nut-free option!

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About the Author

Hey there, I’m Caitlin! I make easy-to-follow, wholesome, and budget-friendly vegan recipes that are mostly gluten-free and refined sugar-free. I’m also an avid yogi, love the great outdoors, am chocolate-obsessed, and enjoy eating almond butter straight off of the spoon.

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Comments

  1. This makes a delicious fall salad! Used two bunches of Lacinato kale (my bunches were kind of small), otherwise followed as written. Want to try with the tahini dressing alternative next time. Thanks Caitlin!