If there was a salad I could eat every single day, it would be this kale salad with dried cranberries. The trick is to massage the maple Dijon dressing into the fibrous kale greens to really soften the leaves. Then toss in crisp apples, salty feta, toasted almonds and sweet cranberries to bring all the flavors together.
Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries
I have been on a kale kick to use up the rest of my harvest from our garden. Usually I’ll saute kale for a simple kale pasta or stuff it between buttered phyllo for borekas, but this time I was crazing a hearty and flavorful fall’ish salad.
Shredded kale is massaged with a slightly sweet and acidic maple Dijon dressing and tossed with tart dried cranberries, salty feta and savory almonds.
For added sweetness and crunch, sliced apples are added in and the combination of the salty feta, creamy dressing, crisp apples and savory almonds is outstanding.
Lacinato Kale: Also called dino kale is a more tender kale compared to curly kale.
Feta Cheese: Look for feta that is in blocks and in brine, which will be creamier than the pre crumbled options.
Sliced Almonds: Sliced or slivered almonds that are lightly toasted give great crunch to the salad.
Dried Cranberries: Give the salad a touch of sweetness. If dried cranberries are not available, look for dried cherries or golden raisins.
Apple: A sweet crisp apple, such as honey crisp pr pink lady works great for the salad.
Olive Oil: Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil for the vinaigrette.
Apple Cider Vinegar: This vinegar is a bit sweeter and light and compliments the kale and fresh apple.
Dijon Mustard: A little Dijon mustard helps emulsify the vinaigrette and gives a savory layer of flavor.
Maple Syrup: Use a good quality real maple syrup for the vinaigrette, which gives the salad a lovely warm sweetness.
Prep the kale
- Using both hands, strip the leaves off the stem.
- Discard the thick stem and slice through the leaves, making thin ribbons.
Massage the Kale with the Vinaigrette
The trick to a tender kale salad is massaging the kale, which helps to tenderize the fibrous leaves.
- Place shredded kale into a large bowl and drizzle some of the vinaigrette onto the laves.
- With clean hands, massage the dressing into the leaves, so all of the leaves are evenly coated and begin to soften.
Assemble the Salad
- Add sliced almonds, dried cranberries, crumbled feta and sliced apples and toss to combine.
- Drizzle more maple vinaigrette if desired.
You don’t need to massage kale, but massage helps tenderize the leaves and is highly recommended.
Kale salads hold up very well thanks to the fibrous leaves and can be made up to 1 day ahead of time.
Kale salad with dressing can last up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
You can use any kind of dressing for the kale salad, but a persona favorite is a maple dijon vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar.
A Few Tips
- Maple dressing yields to about 1/2 cup. Save extra and place in the fridge for later use, it will last at least 5 days.
- If you would like to make this vegan or dairy free, omit the feta cheese.
- To prep ahead: assemble kale, almonds cranberries and leave the sliced apples separate until just before serving.
- You can also store the sliced apples in a bowl filled with cold water and a few drops of lemon juice to keep the apples fresh.
- To toast sliced almonds, place in a dry skillet over low-medium heat and use a spatula to move the nuts around until just golden brown and you can smell a nutty aroma. As soon as they change color, remove and set aside.
Here are a Few other Kale Recipes to Try
Kale Salad with Dried Cranberries Apples and Feta
Maple Dijon Dressing
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- Ground black pepper
- 1 large bunch of kale stems removed and shredded
- 1 apple cut into matchsticks
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup sliced toasted almonds
- 4 ounces feta cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Start by making the maple dressing and add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake for 30 seconds until dressing is emulsified. You can also do this in a bowl and whisk everything together. Set aside.
- Add shredded kale to a large bowl and pour a few tablespoons of the dressing onto the kale. Using clean hands, massage the dressing into the kale, breaking up the leaves a bit to really work the dressing in. The greens should be lightly and evenly coated with the dressing.
- Add the sliced apple, dried cranberries, almonds and feta and give everything a good toss.
- Serve kale salad and garnish with extra almonds or feta if desired.