This delicious harvest salad with kale, apple and carrots is topped with a crunchy nut and seed mix of walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds as well as pomegranate, cranberries and vegan feta cheese and served with a simple vinaigrette dressing – The kale salad recipe is healthy, easy, totally delicious and is sure to become your new favorite fall and winter salad!
The Best Kale Apple Salad – nutritious, healthy and delicious
This delicious and healthy kale salad is one of my favorite recipes when it gets colder. It not only fills you up, but it is also packed with important nutrients and vitamins, such as B vitamins, vitamin C and E, as well as healthy and unsaturated fatty acids, protein and beta-carotene. This harvest salad is a great source to get our nutritional needs during the fall and winter season.
The health benefits of the kale, nuts, apples, pomegranate and other ingredients help us maintain normal immune system function, cardiovascular system function and bladder function. Especially in winter, many women struggle with bladder infections, as they are often more sensitive in the cold season.
This vitamin-rich and fresh kale salad with apple, carrots and vegan feta is great as a stand-alone salad on your plate, as a rich lunch or as a classic side dish with vegan patties or other main dishes. Of course, you can also Meal Prep this healthy salad and take it to work, a birthday or a party. The colorful components in this autumnal harvest salad are not only eye-catching, they taste simply delicious together!
I love homemade winter and fall salads because you can make and garnish them with your favorite ingredients. This one combines crunchy nuts and seeds, fresh green kale, crisp carrots, fruity apples, some sour cranberries and juicy refreshing sweet and sour pomegranate seeds! A true explosion of flavor! I love this!
Health benefits of kale
Kale is a real superfood as it’s one of the most nutrient-dense foods! This highly alkaline vegetable contains calcium, iron, vitamin K, vitamin C and powerful antioxidants, among other things. It is full of valuable nutrients that provide us with the best nutrition, especially during the cold fall and winter months.
In addition, kale is low in calories but it is rich in fiber and protein. It can satiate us for a long time, supports the gastrointestinal tract and our digestion and provides a strong immune system.
If you buy it fresh at the market, you often get really big greens that you can keep fresh at your home for a long time. Simply place the winter vegetables in a vase with water on the balcony or on the windowsill and always cut off only as much of it as you need for the dish.
This way, the kale will stay fresh for a long time and you can use it for several weeks. But always make sure that the leaves are fresh and green.
Ingredients for the kale salad
This fresh harvest salad is very versatile and you can adapt it to your personal preferences and dietary needs.
- Kale: or lettuce, arugula or another cabbage.
- Carrots: add a crunchy bite to the salad. Cucumber or carrot lox would also be a great alternative.
- Cranberries: or other dried fruit, such as figs, dates or plums.
- Apples: Add a sweet fruity note to the salad. You can use your favorite variety like honeycrisp apple, pink lady oder fuji. Or try citrus fruits like oranges, tangerines or clementines. They are in season during the winter months, so feel free to mix and match.
- Pomegranate: ideal for adding just the right crunch and a tangy, fruity touch to your salad. You can, of course, swap them out for other dried fruits if they’re too tart for you.
- Vegan feta: this is the perfect addition to this salad! Alternatively, you can use avocado.
- Nuts and seeds: Walnuts, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds add a delicious nutty flavor to the salad. You can also use pecans, cashews, pine nuts, hemp seeds or sunflower seeds.
- Maple syrup: or agave syrup or vegan honey.
- Optional chili or other spices to taste.
For the vinaigrette:
- Shallot: or a small onion. You can also add garlic if you like.
- Apple cider vinegar: or balsamic vinegar, white vinegar, 3 tablespoons lemon juice.
- Maple syrup: or agave syrup, vegan honey.
- Salt and pepper or other seasonings to your taste.
- Mustard: medium hot or Dijon mustard.
- Olive oil: or canola, hemp or avocado oil.
How to make Kale and Apple Salad – This is how easy the recipe is.
As always, I recommend checking out the recipe video first and then going through the step-by-step instructions. You can find the full recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.
Step 1: Prepare nut and seed clusters.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the pumpkin seeds, walnuts and sesame seeds with olive oil, maple syrup and a pinch of chili in a bowl. Then spread the nut mixture on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes, tossing once in between. Then remove from oven and set aside to cool (see below for roasting in a pan option).
Step 2: Prepare kale salad and dressing.
Meanwhile, remove the hard stems from the kale leaves and coarsely chop. Place them in a large bowl, sprinkle with a little salt and massage with your hands for about a minute until the leaves turn into a darker color. Also, grate the carrots and thinly slice the apples, removing the seeds. Put all the ingredients for the kale salad dressing in a mason jar. Then seal with a lid and shake vigorously.
Step 3: Assemble and serve.
Arrange apples, carrots and cranberries on top of the kale and pour the dressing over the salad. Top with vegan feta, pomegranate seeds, and lastly the crunchy nut and seed topping. Serve immediately or for even better flavor, let the salad sit in the dressing for 10-20 minutes first, then top with the nut clusters and enjoy!
Kale Salad Recipe Variations
You can optionally make the fresh kale salad with other delicious ingredients or alternative preparation steps (like toasting the nuts in a skillet).
- Skillet option: optionally, you can also briefly toast the kernels, nuts and seeds in a skillet without adding oil. Then add oil, maple syrup and chili and caramelize briefly while stirring.
- Nuts/seeds: You can also use other nuts, kernels or seeds like cashews, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pine nuts, pistachios, etc.
- Fresh fruits: Instead of apples, you can also try pears, tangerines, oranges, clementines or grapes. They make the salad refreshing and juicy and give it a slightly sweet and tangy taste.
- Dried fruits: other dried fruits like raisins, prunes, dates, apricots, etc. are also great!
- Additions: To turn the harvest salad into a filling meal, you could also add cooked quinoa, farro, couscous, millet or other grains. Or roast cubes of sweet potato or pumpkin in the oven and serve in the salad. Chickpeas, lentils or other legumes are also a great addition, as they provide not only complex carbohydrates but also plenty of plant-based protein.
How can I store this vitamin-packed salad?
You can store this kale and apple salad in an airtight container for 3-5 days. Always check to see if the kale leaves still look fresh before serving. I recommend storing the dressing separately from the kale salad and adding it on top just before eating. This will make the other components last longer.
This kale salad recipe is the best fall harvest salad because it is:
- rich in healthy fats
- perfect as lunch or side salad
- flavorful and tasty
More salad recipes that are simple and delicious:
- Lentil Salad
- German Pasta Salad
- Grandma’s Potato Salad
- Vietnamese Noodle Salad
- Mexican Pasta Salad
- Greek Orzo Pasta Salad
- Green Goddess Salad
- Turkish Bulgur Salad (Kisir)
- Chinese Cucumber Salad
- Korean Rice Noodle Salad
- Chickpea Tuna Salad
- Mediterranean Chickpea Salad
- Thai Peanut Noodle Salad
- Caprese Pasta Salad
- Broccoli Salad with Yogurt Dressing
If you try this kale salad recipe, feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your delicious harvest salad and share it on Instagram, please tag me @biancazapatka and use the hashtag #biancazapatka because I love seeing your remakes! Have fun trying it out 🙂 .
The Best Kale Apple Salad (Easy & Vegan)Author:
Crunchy Nut and Seed Mix
- ¼ cup (30 g) pumpkin seeds or other seeds/nuts
- ½ cup (50 g) walnuts or other nuts/seeds
- 2 tbsp (20 g) sesame seeds or other seeds
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- pinch of chili optional
For the Salad
- 7 oz (200 g) kale chopped
- a little salt
- 2 (150 g) carrots grated
- 2 apples thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries or other dried fruit
- ½ cup (75 g) vegan feta or roasted chickpeas
- ½ pomegranate seeded
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot finely chopped
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1.5 tsp maple syrup to taste
- 1.5 tsp yellow mustard
- salt and pepper to taste
*Note: Check out the recipe video + step-by-step photos in the post above!
- Preheat the oven to 356 °F (180 °C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a bowl, mix the pumpkin seeds, walnuts and sesame seeds with olive oil, maple syrup and a pinch of chili. Then spread on the prepared baking sheet and roast for about 8-10 minutes, mixing halfway through. Then remove from oven and set aside to cool (read notes below for pan method*).
- Meanwhile, chop the kale with a sharp knife. Then place in a large bowl, sprinkle with a little salt and massage with your hands for about a minute until the leaves turn darker in color.
- Grate the carrots.
- Thinly slice the apples and remove the seeds.
- Put all the ingredients for the dressing in a screw jar. Then seal and shake vigorously.
- Spread apples, carrots and cranberries on the kale and pour the dressing over the salad. Top with vegan feta, pomegranate seeds, and lastly the nut-seed mix. Serve immediately (or for even better flavor, let the salad sit in the dressing for 10-20 minutes first, then top with the nut mix and enjoy).
- Pan method: optionally, you can toast the nuts, kernels and seeds briefly in a pan without oil first. Once slightly browned, add oil, maple syrup and chili and stir briefly to caramelize.
- Nuts/seeds: You can also use other nuts or seeds like cashews, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pistachios etc.
- Dried fruits: other dried fruits like raisins, cherries, chopped dates, apricots, etc. are also great!
- Add-ins: Feel free to add cooked quinoa or roasted sweet potato or pumpkin cubes to the salad.
- More helpful tips and information about this recipe are mentioned in the blog post above!
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