What better way to celebrate apple season than with this delicious Apple and Walnut Salad with Kale. This easy salad recipe is perfect for special occasions or a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. With crisp apples and crunchy walnuts, sweet pomegranate and smooth feta all tossed in a perfectly tangy salad dressing.
This lovely Fall salad is so easy to make and with just a few simple steps it can be ready in just 30 minutes.
This apple salad recipe is one of our favourite Autumn salads, it has everything you want in a great salad! Crunchy red apples, walnuts and seeds add great texture to this salad. The sweet pomegranate and dressing work perfectly against the kale, and the feta cheese adds a smooth soft texture.
You can serve this as a side dish, but it's also really great as a main salad dish too. In fact, we love this on its own for lunch. If you are planning your Thanksgiving menu this salad is great as a side to my Beetroot Tart or as an entreé to my Nut Roast en Croûte.
🛒 What You'll Need
- Apples - Crisp, crunchy red apples are perfect in this salad, look for Gala or Red Delicious apples. You could also use green apples just make sure they are crisp and a little tart such as granny smith.
- Kale - Look for fresh, dark green curly kale. If you can buy organic kale then even better.
- Feta - Creamy full-fat feta works so well with apples and kale. Look for authentic Greek feta in the grocery store. You could swap it for goat's or blue cheese if you prefer.
- Pomegranate - this adds a lovely sweetness, Look for a ripe pomegranate, it should be dark red and heavy when you pick it up. Here's a handy guide on how to remove pomegranate seeds.
- Homemade Dressing - For the dressing you will need good quality extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, one shallot, lemon juice, salt, black pepper and runny honey.
- Nuts and Seeds - I add walnuts to this salad but you could also use almonds or candied walnuts if you prefer. I also add pumpkin seeds to this salad, sunflower seeds would work well too.
⭐️ Why This Recipe Works
- Keeping it Simple. This salad is easy to make with just a few simple steps and it's ready in 30 minutes.
- Apples and Kale. The simple ingredients in this salad make it a great healthy side dish.
- Showcase Salad. Such a great salad for Thanksgiving, it looks great but also tastes great!
🔪 How to Make Apple Walnut Feta Salad
Please see the recipe card below for full instructions and an ingredient list.
- Start by massaging the kale. Add the kale to a large bowl then add in the lemon juice and the sea salt. Rub the lemon juice and salt into the kale and keep massaging the kale for about 5 minutes. The kale should be softer but still firm. You don't want really wilted kale. Leave the kale to sit in a colander over a bowl for a little bit, 5 minutes should do. (photo 1)
- Next, make the dressing. Whisk together the mustard, honey and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl. Then whisk that into the extra virgin olive oil, then add the salt and pepper. Set aside until you are ready to use it. (photo 2)
- Now all you need to do is build your salad. Drain the kale, then add it to a large salad bowl, crumble in the walnuts, add the pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate seeds and toss well. Arrange the apple slices around the salad then crumble over the feta and pour in the dressing. (photo 3)
👩🍳 Top Tips
- Slice the apples thinly then rub the apple with lemon juice to ensure they don't go brown.
- Massage the kale! This is really important. Before you baulk at the thought, please know that this isn’t some hipster notion. The reason you need to massage the kale is this; raw kale is hard to digest! When you rub the kale with lemon juice and salt, it helps to break down the cellulose in the kale making it easier to digest. So please do yourself a favour and massage the kale.
- When you're prepping the kale make sure and remove any woody stems!
- If you are making this then serving it later, leave the pomegranate out until you are ready to serve it. The pomegranate will bleed onto everything, so keep it separate until later.
- Again if you are prepping this early then don't add the dressing until you are ready to serve. Everything will go soggy if it is sitting in the dressing for too long.
- Serve the dressing on the side. I like to serve the dressing on the side for people to add as much or as little as they want. This is handy when you are feeding a crowd, especially if you have guests on special diets.
- Don't like kale? - Use baby spinach or salad greens, a mix of green and red leaf lettuce would work very well. This will also save you some time!
- Swap the cheese - If you're not a fan of feta then other cheeses will work well, try a creamy goat cheese or gorgonzola cheese.
- Add more veggies - You could easily add in some slices of red onion here, avocado would also work very well in this salad.
- Make it vegan - To make this salad vegan just omit the cheese and swap the honey for maple syrup. You could add some roasted butternut squash instead of the cheese.
Yes, you can make the dressing 3 or 4 days ahead of time. Just keep it in a covered air-tight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it. You will need to give it a good shake before you serve it. The salad itself is best made fresh on the day, you could make it a couple of hours in advance if you need to.
Yes, this salad is naturally gluten-free.
The salad will keep in the fridge for up to 2 days, however, it may become a little limp or soggy. This really is best made fresh and eaten straight away. The dressing can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
🍽 More Great Salad Recipes
- This Vegetarian Caesar Salad is a great veggie take on the classic Caesar salad, it's great for lunch or as a side dish.
- This Roasted Squash Salad is always among the top reader favorites. It's great any time of the year but especially great during the Autumn.
- One of my personal favorites this Halloumi Salad with Butternut Squash is so tasty and perfect for a family dinner.
- Earthy and delicious this Roasted Beet Salad is perfect for a special occasion lunch or dinner.
- A Thanksgiving favourite this Brussel Sprout and Sweet Potato Salad is a great healthy option for your Thanksgiving table.
More Tasty Vegetarian Recipes
Apple Salad with Walnuts & Kale
- 120 g shredded kale woody stems removed
- The juice of half a lemon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 large gala apples (sweet apples) sliced
- 100 g feta
- 90 g walnut halves
- 25 g pumpkin seeds
- The seeds from half a pomegranate
For the shallot, honey and mustard dressing
- 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice + more for coating the apple slices
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 medium shallot peeled and finely chopped
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Put the kale into a large mixing bowl, add the lemon juice and ½ tsp of sea salt.Rub the lemon juice into the kale and keep massaging the kale for about 5 minutes. The kale should be softer but still firm. You don't want really wilted kale. Leave the kale to sit in a colander over a bowl for about 5 minutes.
- While the kale is doing its magic, make the dressing.Whisk together the mustard, honey and apple cider vinegar. Add the extra virgin olive oil to another bowl, whisk in mustard and honey mixture, then add the finely chopped shallot and the salt and pepper. Set aside until you are ready to use it.
- Now all you need to do is build your salad. Firstly rub all the apple slices in a little lemon juice, this will stop the apples from going brown.Next, drain the kale, then add it to a large serving dish. Crumble in the walnuts, add the pumpkin seeds, pomegranate seeds and toss well.Arrange the apple slices around the salad then crumble the feta over it.I usually serve the dressing on the side so everyone can add however much they wish to add. If you want to add the dressing to the whole salad then add it before you add the feta. Serve immediately.
- Nutritional Information - Calories are approximate, calories listed in the recipe card are for the salad only and do not include the dressing. They are based on a serving of 4 for lunch. This salad with serve 6 as a side dish.
- Dressing - The dressing makes enough for 8 servings and comes in at approximately 85 calories per serving. If you have any dressing leftover, keep it in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in the fridge, use within the week.
- Apples - I use Gala apples for this salad but any sweet apples will work well. Red delicious work well too.
- Kale is great in this salad but spinach, watercress or lamb's lettuce also works well if you are not keen on kale.
- Can I make it Vegan? To make this vegan, omit the feta and swap maple syrup in the dressing for the honey.
Update Notes: This recipe was first published in November 2018, and updated in September 2023 with more information.