If you spent your January trying to eat more leafy greens, I get it—another kale salad in your life may not sound all that exciting. But I’ve found that kale is what you make of it. Sure, it can feel like a big bowl of roughage, but as shown here, it can also be an incredible vessel for crunchy almonds, sweet apples, a shower of salty Gruyère cheese, and creamy mustard dressing. And when you know how to properly massage it with a little olive oil and salt, kale can be pretty darn delicious, too.
If you’ve been around here awhile, you know that my recipes are flavor-forward and nutrient-rich. I want my food to taste amazing—and make me feel amazing, too. This kale and apple salad is packed with vibrant flavors, fresh ingredients, and the zestiest mustard dressing that takes it over the top. Read on to see how this salad comes together with just five ingredients (plus dressing), and how to make your kale taste every bit as good as “that kale salad you ate that time” in a restaurant. Promise.
Always on my table
The perfect pairing
How to Make This Kale Apple Salad With Gruyère & Almonds
This is one of those (amazing) recipes that has so much flavor and texture, it’s almost shocking how few ingredients it has! Here are the components to make this kale apple salad so delish:
1. Torn Tuscan Kale
A hearty, dark leafy green that provides the salad’s base. It’s packed with nutrients and adds a satisfying crunch.
2. Chopped Apple
Choose your favorite apple variety for a sweet and crisp contrast to the kale. I like one that’s crunchy and sweet, like a honeycrisp.
3. Chopped or Shaved Gruyère Cheese
Creamy and slightly nutty Gruyère cheese complements the kale and apple, adding depth of flavor and a salty contrast. You can sub parmesan or even an aged cheddar.
4. Red Onion
Thinly sliced red onion provides even more flavor and a beautiful pop of color to this salad.
5. Chopped Roasted Almonds
Roasted almonds bring the toasty smokiness this salad needs—not to mention, a delightful crunch.
6. Mustard Dressing
A zesty mustard dressing ties all the ingredients together, infusing the salad with tangy richness. (Which kale really needs, in my opinion.)
How to Make Kale Taste GREAT
Kale gets a bad rap, and rightfully so: it can be hard to swallow when not property prepared. Here’s how to make it something you’ll actually crave.
- Massage the kale. Before assembling your salad, massage the kale leaves with a touch of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt for a minute or two, until it’s shiny, silky, and reduced in size. This helps soften the leaves and reduces bitterness.
- Chop finely. Finely chop your kale to make it easier to eat and ensure the flavors come together perfectly.
- Add sweetness. The chopped apple adds a sweet contrast to the kale’s bitterness, making it more palatable.
- Balance with cheese. Gruyère cheese adds creaminess and richness, balancing the flavors in the salad.
Nutritional Benefits of This Kale Apple Salad
Because I like my food to nourish my taste buds and my body (yes, I ask a lot), it comes as no surprise that this salad is brimming with nutrition. Here’s how this kale apple salad will fuel you:
- Fiber. Kale and apples are rich in fiber, aiding digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness.
- Vitamins and minerals. Kale is a nutritional powerhouse, boasting vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and potassium.
- Protein. Almonds and cheese provide a dose of plant-based protein, essential for muscle health and overall well-being.
- Antioxidants. This salad is packed with antioxidants, helping to combat free radicals and reduce oxidative stress.
Optional Ingredient Swaps
Every salad recipe is an opportunity for endless riffs and experimentation, based on your preferences and what you have on hand. Here are some easy modifications to try:
- Make it vegan. Swap out Gruyère cheese for a dairy-free alternative like nutritional yeast or vegan cheese.
- Add a protein boost. This salad is delicious topped with grilled chicken or roasted salmon for a full meal.
- Try other fruits. Experiment with chopped pears, halved grapes, or sliced figs for other delicious winter fruit combinations.
- Add other nuts. Feel free to use pecans, walnuts, or pine nuts in place of almonds—just make sure they’re toasted for that warm nutty flavor.
Trust me, you’re going to savor every bite of this delicious kale apple salad. Scroll on for the recipe and let me know what you think!