Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad

November 10, 2018  ·  Published September 24, 2016

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Kale Salad with Apples and Quinoa has totally changed my entire outlook on raw kale! Fresh kale leaves are tossed with sweet crisp apples, nutritious quinoa, chewy dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts, tangy goat cheese and it’s finished with a bright vinaigrette. A delicious fall salad!

Kale salad with gala apples, quinoa, walnuts, goat cheese, and cranberries in a ceramic serving bowl. It's dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.

The Perfect Kale Salad Recipe!

Thanks to this refreshing kale salad, I’ve finally found a way to eat raw kale and have it actually taste good! We couldn’t get over how delicious this salad was and I’m already thinking of when I’ll be making it again!

The flavor of the dressing, thanks to the lemon juice and honey in it, really helps tone down the somewhat harsh flavor of the raw kale. Plus, it also just compliments all of the others flavors in this salad – like that of the quinoa, walnuts, apples and goat cheese.

This is the perfect side at dinner to roasted chicken and mashed or roasted potatoes. It’s also the perfect salad to bring to a party.

Originally shared Sept. 2016.

Kale salad ingredients in a salad bowl before tossing.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Tricolor quinoa
  • Curly kale
  • Apples
  • Walnuts
  • Cranberries
  • Goat cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon
  • Honey
  • Dijon

Are There Substitutions?

  • Regular brown quinoa is fine in place of the tricolor
  • Pecans could replace the walnuts.
  • Feta could replace the goat cheese.
  • Baby kale or lacinato kale can be used in place of curly kale, but do note that it won’t require a resting period and may not hold up as long.

Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad | Cooking Classy

How to Make This Easy Kale Salad

  • Cook quinoa according to directions on package and cool completely.
  • Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients in a jar or bowl.
  • Add kale to a salad bowl, whisk dressing once more then pour 3/4 of the dressing over kale and toss until kale is evenly coated. Chill 15 minutes.
  • Add apples, quinoa, walnuts and cranberries.
  • Pour remaining dressing over salad then toss. Add goat cheese, toss gently.

Tips for This Salad

  • Use sweet apples to balance the tartness of the lemon. Use pretty red onions for a pretty color contrast.
  • Let the dressing rest on the kale to help soften those not so tender leaves.
  • Store it in the fridge up to 4 hours. Finally a salad that holds up well for a while!

Close up image of kale salad with apples, quinoa, goat cheese and walnuts mixed in.

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5 from 26 votes

Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad

This kale salad has totally changed my entire outlook on raw kale! Fresh kale leaves are tossed with crisp sweet apples, nutritious quinoa and chewy dried cranberries, crunchy walnuts, tangy goat cheese and it's finished with a bright vinaigrette. It's the perfect side dish to roasted chicken and mashed or roasted potatoes.
Servings: 7
Prep20 minutes
Cook15 minutes
Chill15 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes

Ingredients

Salad

  • 1/2 cup tricolor dry quinoa
  • 6 cups slightly packed chopped kale (it will take about 1 1/2 bunches. Remove thick ribs before chopping, 6 oz chopped)
  • 2 crisp sweet apples, cored and chopped* (I used gala apples)
  • 1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 4 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Dressing

Instructions

  • Cook quinoa and cool: Cook quinoa according to directions on package and cool completely. 
  • Whisk dressing ingredients: While quinoa is cooling, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, honey, dijon and salt in a jar or bowl. 
  • Pour 3/4 dressing over kale, chill: Add kale to a salad bowl, whisk dressing once more then pour 3/4 of the dressing over kale and toss until kale is evenly coated. Cover bowl and chill 15 minutes (adding the dressing and letting it rest helps soften kale a bit).
  • Toss in remaining mix-ins and dressing: Remove salad from refrigerator, add apples, quinoa, walnuts and cranberries. Pour remaining dressing over salad then toss. Add goat cheese and toss just lightly. 
  • Serve or store covered in refrigerator for up to 4 hours (see notes).

Notes

  • This salad actually does hold up really well for a few hours, but with that said I recommend dipping the apples in a lemon water solution (1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice with 1 cup water in a bowl), let apples rest in the mixture for about 1 minute then remove and drain on paper towels. This helps reduce browning if you aren't going to be eating the salad right away.
Nutrition Facts
Autumn Kale Apple and Quinoa Salad
Amount Per Serving
Calories 388 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 7mg2%
Sodium 91mg4%
Potassium 476mg14%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 15g17%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 5925IU119%
Vitamin C 74.3mg90%
Calcium 133mg13%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

 

 

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79 Comments

  • Yoli

    Instant hit salad. One can leave the kale with olive oil for several hours before adding the rest of the ingredients. It really soften the kale very well. Added lemon juice for the slice apples. Definity, a keeper salad. Love it with the quinoa.

  • Laura S

    This is a delicious recipe. I’m not a huge fan of kale so when it shows up in my farm share box, this is my go to use for it. You’ve even made kale yummy!

  • Deb Sorge

    I’ve been coming around to kale and this looked like a yummy way to have it. This is a very delicious salad combination. It definitely helps to “wilt” the kale for a little while. I added in the quinoa with the kale so it could also soak in some of the dressing flavor. This is on my “go-to” list of recipes!

  • LaDeena

    My husband has always said he doesn’t like kale, but we both loved this salad! It’s definitely a keeper!

  • Ellie

    Delicious! I chopped up the kale and apple quite finely, also replaced the dried cranberries with sultanas and used feta as I don’t like goats cheese. Have made it a couple of times and everyone loves it!

  • Melissa

    Seriously one of the best homemade salads I’ve ever had/made! It’s so delicious and holds up well in the fridge. I made it for dinner last night and had it again for lunch today. Definitely recommend using the lemon water solution tip for the apples. I’m usually so hesitant with raw kale salads but this salad definitely changed my mind! I’m adding it to my monthly rotation for sure!

  • Lauren

    Delicious! We just devoured this salad. I massaged the dressing into the kale a few hours before assembling the rest of the salad and it worked out great. Added some chicken to make into lunch. This will definitely be a go-to moving forward. Thanks!