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Kale and apple salad with cranberries and lemon vinaigrette in a wooden bowl.

Kale-Apple Salad with Cranberries and Pine Nuts

A crunchy, salty, and sweet kale and apple salad perfect for winter months. Substitute in any variety of apples, tree nuts, and cheese you like. I recommend reaching for sweeter, crisper apple varieties such as Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Braeburn, Ambrosia, or Cosmic Crisp.

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 2 to 4 1x



Lemon-Honey Apple Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup of olive or avocado oil (or 2 tablespoons of each)
  • 1 medium apple or ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons of unsweetened apple sauce, optional
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of raw honey
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon of kosher or flake salt (⅛ teaspoon of table salt)

For the Salad

  • 1 large or 2 small bunches of kale, sliced thinly (5 ounces of shredded kale)
  • 1 red apple, cored and diced, peeling optional
  • 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 2 ounces of Roquefort, optional
  • Ground black pepper, optional


For the Vinaigrette

  1. Blend or whisk. In a small-capacity food processor or blender, combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients and blend until smooth. If you don't own either appliance, you can omit the apples or substitute applesauce and whisk it all together in a bowl. 
  2. Season and taste. Once the vinaigrette is blended, taste it and add salt a little at a time until it is seasoned to you liking. 
  3. Store chilled. The dressing keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week. Whisk or shake it vigorously if it separates. 

For the Salad

  1. Toast the nuts. In a small sauté (shallow) pan over medium heat toast the pine nuts shaking the pan occasionally. Once the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned, remove them from the heat immediately.
  2. Wash and slice the kale. Remove the kale leaves from the stems, then wash and dry them well. Stack the kale leaves and pinch them together towards one end with your non-dominant hand. With a sharp knife, slice the kale into very thin strips, called chiffonade. 
  3. Core and chop the apple. Core and chop the apple into quarter-inch pieces. You don't need an apple corer. Simply cut large pieces of the apple flesh away from the core and chop them with the cut side down for the most stability. 
  4. Dress and serve the salad. Combine the kale, chopped apples, toasted pine nuts, cranberries, and any cheese in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle a pinch of salt evenly over the ingredients. Add the vinaigrette to the bowl a few spoonfuls at a time and mix until all the ingredients are lightly coated. Add more dressing to your liking. Freshly grinding or sprinkling black pepper over the top of the finished salad adds a subtle spice. 
  5. Store chilled. In an airtight container, the salad keeps in the refrigerator for up to three days. The kale will soften as it sits but will maintain texture. I like to refresh the salad on days two and three by adding a new round of chopped apples. 


Substitution for Apple Cider Vinegar

If you don't have or don't like apple cider vinegar, you can replace it with the same amount of lemon juice. 

Chef's Tips

On buying kale. Look for unblemished, perky leaves without too many holes (that means pests sampled your meal first). To keep kale as fresh as possible wrap the leaves in damp paper towels and seal them in an airtight food storage container or bag. 

Salt the salad. Professional chefs never miss one step: seasoning salad greens with salt before mixing in the dressing. Yes, salt on salad greens. You won't regret it. 

Taste the vinaigrette. Do this before dressing the salad. You can't fix a lackluster salad dressing after it's already coating the greens.

  • Author: Chef Christina
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Salads
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegetarian


  • Serving Size: 1 Bowl of Kale -Apple Salad
  • Calories: 404
  • Sugar: 18.5 g
  • Sodium: 630.9 mg
  • Fat: 31.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 29.3 g
  • Fiber: 6.1 g
  • Protein: 7.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 10.6 mg

Keywords: kale salad, kale apple salad