Deliciously festive, this Apple and Walnut Salad with Kale is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table. With crunchy apples and walnuts, sweet pomegranate and smooth feta all tossed in a perfectly tangy dressing. This salad is so easy to make, with just a few simple steps it can be ready in just 30 minutes.
This is one of our favourite Fall 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.
Ingredients for Apple Walnut Salad
- Apples - crisp, crunchy red apples are perfect in this salad, look for Gala or Red Delicious.
- 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 the apples and kale. Look for authentic Greek feta. You could swap it for goat's 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.
- Dressing - for the dressing you will need good quality extra virgin olive oil, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, one shallot, lemon juice, and runny honey.
Why This Recipe Works
- Keeping it Simple. This salad is easy to make with just a few simple steps and its 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 Salad with Kale & Walnuts
- Start by massaging the kale, add the kale to a large bowl, add in the lemon juice and 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. (photo 1)
- Next, make the dressing. Whisk together the mustard, honey and apple cider vinegar. 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 serving dish, crumble in the walnuts, add the pumpkin seeds, 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 for Making Apple & Walnut Salad with Kale
- 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 it 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make the dressing 3 or 4 days ahead of time. Just keep it in a covered 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 Salads
- Vegetarian Caesar Salad
- Butternut Squash Salad
- Roasted Squash Salad
- Halloumi Salad with Butternut Squash
- Roasted Beet Salad
- Brussel Sprout and Sweet Potato Salad
Did you make this Apple Salad with Walnuts & Kale recipe? Rate it and leave a comment below to let me know what you think!
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 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 on , it has now been updated with more content, expert tips and more nutritional information.
Massaging the kale feels funny but it really does work for making a really delicious salad! Love this recipe, it's perfect for Fall!
Thanks so much Emily. I know it sounds weird, but it really makes a huge difference 😉
Apples and walnuts are such a delicious combination. I would eat this salad everyday!
Thanks Michelle 🙂
It's the perfect flavor pairing! Will definitely be including this recipe on my Thanksgiving menu. So delicious, thanks so much for sharing 🙂
That's sp great to hear Angela! I hope you enjoy it 🙂
What a pretty salad this is! I know you suggest it for fall but the colors would be perfect for Christmas too!
Thanks Valerie, yes it would be fab for Christmas time too 😉
Oh yeah...salad doesn't get more holiday than this! What a gorgeous, festive, tasty recipe. So healthy too! Thanks for sharing another winner 🙂
Thanks so much Traci 🙂