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!
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.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Tricolor quinoa
- Curly kale
- Goat cheese
- Olive oil
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.
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!
- 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
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- Salt to taste
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).
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.