The fall is the perfect time to enjoy this delicious Kale Apple Walnut Salad because both kale and apples are in season! This salad is a combination of many delicious flavors. It’s crunchy, tangy, and sweet from the cranberries, apples, and honey, creaminess from the goat cheese, and tartness from the Granny Smith apples and lemon juice.
And not only does this salad have a great taste, but the nutritional content is outstanding! It is vegetarian and gluten-free and has loads of fiber, vitamin A, and more. Check out the nutritional benefits of this salad below.
Ingredients for Kale Apple Walnut Salad
- Baby Kale – Baby kale is more similar in texture to arugula or baby spinach. But you can use kale instead of baby kale if you prefer.
- Apples – Adding apples to a salad is a great way to add sweetness and crunch! Delicious!
- Walnuts – And walnuts also add more texture and nutrients such as fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.
- Goat Cheese – Using goat cheese with this salad makes it creamy, balancing the sweetness and tanginess you get from the apples and lemon juice.
- Dried Cranberries – Not only do the cranberries add a splash of color, but the sweet, tart flavor is fantastic in this salad.
- Dijon Mustard – This is the perfect ingredient in a salad dressing to add flavor.
- Honey – And if you have the Dijon, you need the honey to balance it out with sweetness.
You can substitute the walnuts for another nut, such as pecans or sliced almonds. And instead of dried cranberries, try dried blueberries or cherries.
Apple cider vinegar can also replace the lemon juice in this kale apple salad recipe.
First, prepare the salad dressing in a small bowl by combining the Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, honey, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir well with a whisk and set aside.
Next, add the chopped apples and goat cheese to a bowl. Then drizzle the dressing over the salad mixture, tossing gently to coat. Then add the walnuts and the dried cranberries to the apple mixture and stir together.
Place the baby kale into a serving bowl or individual bowls and top with apple mixture. Enjoy!
What are some good substitutes for apples in salads?
An excellent substitute for apples in salads is pears. You still get the delicious, sweet crunch that apples have, but pears have a slight grittiness. And pears also go so well with kale salads, goat cheese, and walnuts.
Can kale salad be made in advance?
If you use regular kale instead of baby kale, you can prepare the salad recipe in advance because it is a sturdier green. Baby kale is more delicate and wilts faster than other greens, such as spinach. Make sure to massage the kale to break down the fibers and make it more tender.
What can you serve with a kale salad?
While this Kale Apple Walnut Salad can stand on its own, you can pair this salad with a vegetarian soup. Try this Slow Cooker Lentil Soup with Vegetables! Or you can serve it with a few slices of crusty French bread.
Baby kale is harvested at an early stage of plant growth, usually between 15 to 35 days after planting. It has a milder flavor, is more tender, and is easier to eat raw, like in salads.
Kale is known for its powerful nutritional benefits; you get the same benefits in baby kale. Kale is a nutrient-dense food and has 25% of the Daily Value (DV) from vitamin A, 20% DV for calcium, and a whopping 130% DV for vitamin C! There is also 2.1 mg of iron, 700 mg of potassium, 999 mcg of vitamin K and 200 mcg of folate.
Now you see why this is a nutrient-dense food!
Apples are one of the most popular fruits and are delicious! They are high in fiber, with 4 grams in a medium-sized apple. This fiber is insoluble and soluble, which helps keep you full, promotes healthy gut bacteria, and can help with weight loss.
In addition to fiber, apples are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. And they also have antioxidants such as quercetin which has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and antidepressant effects.
Walnuts are another nutrient-packed ingredient in this salad. Typically nuts contain high amounts of healthy fats, and walnuts have a higher percentage of omega-3 fatty acids than other nuts. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory benefits and are great for heart health.
Walnuts also are an excellent source of protein and fiber, which helps promote fullness. Also, walnuts have several vitamins and minerals, including copper, folic acid, phosphorus, vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin E!
These delicious little berries are known for their tart taste and a touch of sweetness. They are an excellent source of vitamin C with 73% of DV, which boosts the immune system and can help remove harmful bacteria from the body, such as Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).
Dried cranberries also contain a good source of potassium which helps to steady blood pressure. In addition to potassium, dried cranberries contain magnesium which helps relieve muscle soreness and muscle cramps.
Honey is a natural way to add sweetness to foods and beverages. And honey is slightly better than refined white sugar but still should be used with caution because it can raise blood sugar in people with diabetes.
It is an excellent source of antioxidants and has been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and some types of cancer. And the antioxidants in honey have been shown to lower blood pressure.
Storage Instructions and Tips
- Because apples can turn brown quickly, I recommend chopping them and adding them to the salad dressing soon after. Or you can squeeze some lemon juice to help prevent them from browning.
- And eating this salad soon after preparing it will help prevent the apples from becoming soggy.
- You can prepare the dressing and store it in an airtight container until it is ready to serve. The salad dressing will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Assemble the kale, apples, and goat cheese just before serving.
- Storing this salad after the dressing has been added to baby kale is not recommended since it will become wilted.
What are some other types of salad greens that you love? Leave your answers in the comments below! Also, be sure to leave a rating and comments about the recipe! Thank you!
More Recipe Ideas!
- Easy Roasted Summer Squash and Zucchini (and 5 Nutritious Ingredients!)
- Easy Healthy Burrito Bowls with Cauliflower Rice
- Avocado Toast with Tomatoes and Corn
- Strawberry Goat Cheese Salad with Walnuts
Tasty Kale Apple Walnut Salad
- 2 cups Granny Smith apples
- 2 cups Gala or Braeburn apples
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
- 4 cups baby kale
- ⅓ cups chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp honey
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- First, prepare the salad dressing by combining the Dijon mustard, extra virgon olive oil, lemon juice, honey, sea salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir well with a whisk and set aside.
- Next, add the chopped apples and goat cheese to a bowl. Then drizzle the dressing over the salad mixture, tossing gently to coat. Then add the walnuts and the dried cranberries to the apple mixture and stir together.
- Place the baby kale into a serving bowl or individual bowls and top with apple mixture. Enjoy!
- Because apples can turn brown quickly, I recommend chopping the apples and add the salad dressing soon after. Or you can squeeze some lemon juice to help prevent them from browning.
- Eating this salad soon after preparing will help prevent the apples from becoming soggy.