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Kale Apple Salad is not only delectable, it’s a picture of feel-good food: a mixture of tender, emerald kale, crunchy, buttery hazelnuts, and crisp apples, tossed in a homemade dressing of sweet apricot preserves, piquant Dijon mustard, tangy apple cider vinegar and peppery extra virgin olive oil. It’s delicious and complex, tart and sweet, robust and subtle.

Kale Apple Salad served on white plates and photographed from the top.

Made in just 10 minutes with ribbons of raw kale, this refreshing salad is easy to make and can be served as a side dish, but is hearty enough for a light main course. 

Ingredients You Need to Make Kale Apple Salad

For the dressing:

  • Apricot Preserves: or other tangy-sweet fruit preserves, peach or cherry preserves
  • Dijon Mustard: creamy or whole grain Dijon mustard
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: or white wine vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • Olive Oil: good quality, extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

For the Salad

  • Fresh Kale: I’ve called for Italian kale (also called Lacinato kale), but torn curly kale would also be delicious
  • Fine Salt: or about double the amount of kosher salt
  • Apple: any variety you like
  • Toasted Hazelnuts: almonds, pistachios, walnuts or pumpkin seeds are other good options
  • Pecorino Romano: or Parmesan cheese

Why massage raw kale for a kale salad?

Raw kale can be tough and difficult to chew, but a quick salt massage not only tenderizes the kale leaves, it adds flavor and brightens the color. It’s a 2 minute step in this kale salad recipe that’s well worth the effort.

Recipe Options

Consider this one of those kale salads that’s endlessly adaptable to seasonal produce and what you have on hand. Use any variety of kale you like (discarding or repurposing the tough stems) and feel free to swap in other fruits like pears, plums, cherries or whatever is in season.

The same goes for the cheese and nuts, get creative with different combinations. Feel free to adjust the dressing too – sometimes I like to add a splash of honey or maple syrup.

More Must-Try Salads

Kale Apple Salad

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Total: 10 minutes
Course: Salad
Calories: 276
Servings: 4 people
Brilliant green kale, crispy sweet-tart apples make a wonderful base for this salad. Make their flavors sing by tossing them with a tangy apricot Dijon dressing, salty Pecorino and crunchy, buttery hazelnuts.


For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad

  • 1 bunch Italian Kale sliced crosswise into very thin ribbons (~1/4-inch)
  • fine salt
  • 1 apple cored and thinly sliced (I used an Opal apple, but any crispy sweet-tart apple will do)
  • 1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts coarsely chopped
  • 1 ounce Pecorino Romano thinly shaved


  • To make the vinaigrette: whisk together preserves, mustard and vinegar in a small bowl. Add olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • For the salad: place kale ribbons into a serving bowl; sprinkle lightly with salt and massage until kale is bright green and tender, about 1 minute. Pour vinaigrette over and toss to evenly coat kale. Serve sprinkled with Pecorino Romano shavings and chopped hazelnuts.


Calories: 276kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 7mg | Sodium: 130mg | Potassium: 450mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 6820IU | Vitamin C: 84mg | Calcium: 191mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. David @ Spiced says:

    5 stars
    Believe it or not, kale is one of those ingredients that I’m still trying to get on board with. I know it’s trendy and all, but I’ve yet to be “wow’d” by a recipe with kale. With that said, this salad looks fantastic, and the flavors you used are perfect with the apples and Dijon. I definitely want to make this for a summer side salad!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      I hope this one will make you a convert, David! 😉