Sweet and Tangy Kale Salad

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Kale salad is a versatile dish that combines the best of both health and flavor. The combination of fresh kale, juicy apples, and tart craisins provides a symphony of textures and flavors. Toasted almonds add a fun crunch, and crumbled feta provides a creamy counterpoint to the crunchy veggies. The homemade dressing, a blend of olive oil, lemon, and a hint of garlic, rounds out the dish with a bright, tangy flavor. Ready in just 20 minutes, this salad is the perfect side dish for busy weekday lunches or family dinners. This is a simple and impressive way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet without sacrificing taste.

Ingredient breakdown and substitutes

Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of this sweet and tangy kale salad, exploring the ingredients that make this dish special and its versatile alternatives. Whether you’re adapting to your dietary needs or just experimenting with what you have in your pantry, this breakdown will give you inspiration for making your own salad.

  • Kale: Kale, the star of the show, is rich in nutrients and fiber. Curly-leafed or flat-leafed varieties both work well.
  • apple: Adds natural sweetness. Feel free to use different types. Pears are a good alternative.
  • Craisin: Dried cranberries have a sour taste and chewy texture. You can also use raisins or chopped dates instead.
  • almond: Provides crunch and nuttiness. If you’re nut-free, substitute sunflower seeds.
  • Feta cheese: It adds a creamy, salty element. You can use goat cheese or blue cheese as a substitute, or plant-based feta if you prefer.


Does kale need to be blanched?

Kale is sometimes blanched to soften the leaves and remove bitterness. Some salad recipes may include this additional step, but you don’t need to worry about it here. Dressing, craisins, nuts, and cheese soften the kale for a simply delicious salad.

How can I make raw kale tender?

This additional step is not necessary, but will yield the softest kale. Remove the kale leaves from the stems and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and add some olive oil, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar. Massage the kale with your hands for a few minutes or until softened.

What type of kale should I use?

This kale salad uses curly leaf style kale, but you can also use Tuscan style kale. For both varieties, be sure to cut off the stems before cutting the leaves.

Can I use a different dressing?

We love homemade dressing for this sweet kale salad, but you can always use another store-bought or homemade dressing. Poppy seed dressing would also be absolutely delicious, as in the Strawberry and Spinach Salad recipe.

apple options

Use your favorite variety of apples when making kale salad. We ourselves love Granny Smith and Honeycrisp so we used both. You can also choose from the following apples:

  • Fuji Mountain
  • pink lady
  • jazz
  • empire

You can also replace apples with pears or use both for delicious variations.

nut options

Kale Crunch Salad has extra crunch from sliced ​​almonds. That is, you can also use:

  • pecan
  • walnut
  • sunflower seeds

No matter which nuts you choose, consider toasting them first. It adds even more texture and flavor to the final result. If you have allergies, you can also omit them completely.

Remember: This is your salad, so add or subtract as you like.


  • Is your dressing too tangy? Add a little more sugar to balance it out.
  • Is your salad too dry? Drizzle a little more olive oil to moisten it.
  • Is kale too strong? Make sure it’s well chopped and consider massaging it with olive oil.

Tips from the chef

  • Massage the kale. This softens the leaves and reduces the bitterness.
  • Cut the material evenly. This ensures a balance of flavor and texture in each bite.
  • Toast the almonds. It intensifies the flavor and adds even more crunch.

Precautions for storage

Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. We recommend storing without dressing to maintain freshness. It will last for 1-2 days. If it gets any longer than this, the kale leaves will begin to die.

More Favorite Salad Recipes

Watch the video below Caytlin walks you through each step of this recipe. Sometimes visuals can be helpful. We always offer cooking shows. A complete collection of recipes can be found at: YouTube, facebook watch, or our Facebook pageor see the corresponding recipe on our website.

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