This Kale Apple Salad is just jam-packed with fall flavors, and it features a homemade cranberry vinaigrette dressing. So perfect for fall!
Oh my goodness, I can't believe how fall is flying by. Even though we're still enjoying temps in the 80s here in Arizona, the days are definitely getting shorter and the nights and mornings are downright chilly.
By this time of the year, I really crave some healthy fall foods and I'm kind of happy to be turning on my oven again. I'm actually dying for the temps at my house to just drop into the high 70s or even low 80s, because I'm getting itchy to make some soup. When I lived in Boston, I swear, I made a pot of soup every single week from Labor Day through Easter (that one was always split pea soup with the Easter ham bone). Soup is the one thing I really miss about living in New England.
However, I'll trade a short soup season for no shoveling - anytime!
So, this kale apple salad seemed like a perfect way to enjoy the flavors of fall, even though I'm not quite ready for comfort food or soup yet. I discovered the key to enjoying kale (for me anyway) is to chop it into super-small pieces - almost minced. That fine chop really tenderizes the leaves. Otherwise, you really have to massage the heck out of it with some salt, pepper and olive oil, to tenderize those tough leaves.
Kale is so delicious with crisp apples, toasted pecans, and sunflower seeds. And how about that pretty pink Cranberry Vinaigrette dressing? It's made with organic cranberry sauce and it's so easy to make. I usually add some honey or maple syrup to homemade salad dressing, but a bit of cranberry sauce works well too. It also gives another punch of fall flavor to this salad.
Here's a nutrition nerd tip for you: This salad is full of vitamin K, (which is essential for blood clotting and bone health), as well as healthy fats from the nuts, seeds, and olive oil, and those fats are actually necessary for your body to absorb the vitamin K from kale.
If you like kale salads, try this Kale, Blood Orange and Fennel Salad too!
Kale Apple Salad with Cranberry Vinaigrette
- ¼ cup organic cranberry sauce
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 cups stemmed kale leaves lightly packed
- ¼ cup toasted chopped pecans
- 1 large sweet apple
- 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
- 2 tablespoons salted, roasted sunflower seeds
- To make the dressing, combine all of the dressing ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth. Taste, and add extra salt if necessary.
- To make the salad, chop the kale into very fine pieces and place it into a large mixing bowl. Add the toasted pecans.
- Quarter and chop the apple into 1-inch pieces, and add it to the bowl.
- If using the cheese, cut it into ½-inch cubes, and add it to the bowl.
- Pour as much of the dressing as desired over the salad, and toss well to combine. Sprinkle sunflower seeds over the salad. Divide into 2 large dinner portions, or 4 side portions, and serve immediately
- Store any leftover dressing in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.