Kale Apple Salad with Pomegranates and Pecans

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Wholesome & vibrant Kale Apple Salad – a perfect winter salad to get your family eating lots of healthy veggies. Fresh, crunchy, and delicious! If you’re looking for a winter themed salad, this kale apple salad with pomegranates and pecans is just the thing! 

kale apple salad

As the designated “Salad Specialist” in my family, I’m always the one who brings fresh goodness to our gatherings. Sharing my passion for wholesome, delicious salads has become my signature contribution to our family gatherings, and I love sharing seasonal salads to help you eat seasonally all year – even in the winter!

Making this kale salad is pretty easy, but there are a few steps. To assemble this family-friendly winter salad, start with a base of kale and Brussels sprouts. Toss in the red cabbage, green apples, and diced, roasted butternut squash for a balance of colors and flavors. Pomegranate arils add a pop of sweetness and crumbled goat cheese and honey-roasted pecans give it that creamy, nutty finish.

kale apple salad ingredients

What’s in this Kale Apple Salad Recipe 

Creating a family-friendly salad with quintessential winter ingredients is a great way to keep eating fresh veg as the seasons change. Here’s a breakdown of the winter ingredients and how they contribute to the salad:

Chopped Kale: Kale is a hearty, leafy green that thrives in the winter. It’s so easy to grow and seems to do better in cold weather. We love it sautéed with other veggies as in our favorite Zuppa Toscana Soup.

Chopped Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprouts provide a satisfying crunch and a mildly nutty flavor, making them a perfect winter addition to the salad.

Chopped Red Cabbage: Red cabbage not only adds a burst of color but also contributes a hint of sweetness and a satisfying crunch. We like the color of red cabbage, but you can use green cabbage if you want.

Fresh Apples: Sliced apples introduce a refreshing, slightly tart element that balances the earthy tones of the other ingredients. Green Granny Smith apples are great – but you can use any tangy, crisp apple you’d like. 

Butternut Squash: Butternut squash offers a creamy, slightly sweet contrast to the salad. Make it in the air fryer to add a bit of crunch!

Pomegranate Arils: These provide a burst of sweet and tangy flavors, along with a touch of red that enhances the salad’s holiday feel. Substitute dried cranberries if you prefer.

Goat Cheese: Creamy goat cheese crumbles offer a rich and tangy component, complementing the other ingredients and adding a luxurious touch. We also like to use feta cheese as a good alternative. 

Honey-Roasted Pecans: Honey-roasted pecans infuse a delightful crunch and a hint of sweetness. If you’d like less added sugar, feel free to use raw walnuts or pecans instead. If you have nut allergies, replace the pecans with roasted sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Recipe Tip

If kale isn’t your favorite green, you can substitute it with spinach, arugula, or mixed greens for a milder flavor.

salad dressing ingredients

What’s in the Homemade Vinaigrette

You could put a premade salad dressing on this salad, but homemade dressings are so easy! We know you’ll like this homemade vinaigrette that has just the right balance of sweetness and tang. Here’s what you’ll need to make this dressing:

roast butternut squash

What do you need to know about making winter salads?

While it can be challenging to continue eating seasonally in winter, it’s not impossible. Read about winter seasonal eating. Here are the frequently asked questions about this winter kale apple salad and their answers.

What type of kale should I use for the salad?

You can use either curly kale or Lacinato (also known as dinosaur) kale for this salad. Both work well, but some prefer the milder taste of Lacinato kale.

Can I make this salad in advance?

Yes, you can. And we tell you how you can prepare most of the ingredients in advance and assemble the salad just before serving to maintain freshness and crunch.

Do I need to massage the kale before using it in the salad?

Massaging kale leaves with a bit of olive oil can help soften it and reduce bitterness, but it’s optional. I rarely do – just make sure you remove the stems.

How do I keep the apples from browning in the salad?

Toss the apple slices in a bit of lemon juice to prevent them from browning. This will help them stay fresh and vibrant.

How to Make this Winter Salad Ahead of Time

Making your kale apple salad ahead of time is a great idea for convenience, especially when you’re hosting gatherings or planning busy weeknight meals. Roasting the butternut squash will take the longest, but here’s the best way to prep everything in advance.

roast butternut squash

Prep the Ingredients

Wash and chop the kale, Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, and apples (make sure to squeeze fresh lemon on the apples to keep them from turning brown). Prepare the pomegranate arils. Need tips for how to open a pomegranate without making a mess? Read this!

Dice and roast the butternut squash. If you’re using roasted nuts, roast them in advance.

salad dressing

Prepare the Dressing

Prepare the salad dressing separately, but don’t pour it over the salad until you’re ready to serve. Store it in an airtight container, like a mason jar.

Store Ingredients Separately

Keep the chopped ingredients separate in their own airtight containers or resealable bags. Keep the cheese and nuts in their own containers as well.

Assemble Just Before Serving

When you’re ready to serve, combine all the prepared ingredients in a large salad bowl. Toss them together with the dressing and top with goat cheese and honey-roasted pecans for a fresh and crisp salad.

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winter kale salad

Servings Suggestions for this Kale Apple Salad

This salad is the perfect side dish to most any meal or you can top it with your favorite protein and make it the main dish! Here are a few ways we love to eat salad in our family.

Serve this salad alongside our parmesan garlic chicken, roasted turkey, or cheesy salmon pasta for a complete meal. Don’t forget to offer crusty sourdough bread or homemade dinner rolls on the side.

You can also pair it with a warm bowl of soup like homemade chicken noodle or hearty beef stew.

More Salad Recipes We Love

Kale Bacon & Tomato Salad

Citrus Salad with Caramelized Pecans & Pomegranates

Wilted Lettuce Salad & Hot Bacon Dressing

Pear & Pecan Salad with Parmesan Crisps

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Yield: 5-6 side dish servings

Kale Apple Salad with Pomegranates and Pecans

kale apple salad

Wholesome & vibrant Kale Apple Salad – a perfect winter salad to get your family eating their veggies. Fresh, crunchy, and delicious!

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 5 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 2 cups chopped brussels sprouts
  • 2 cups chopped red cabbage
  • 2 green apples, sliced
  • 2 cups diced, roasted butternut squash
  • ½ cup pomegranate arils or dried cranberries
  • ½ cup goat cheese
  • ½ cup pecans

For the Dressing


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Place squash on a baking sheet lined line with parchment paper or silpat if desired. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20 minutes.
  3. If not already shredded, chop up Brussels sprouts and cabbage into tiny bite size pieces.
  4. Dice the apples, drizzle with fresh lemon juice
  5. To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and vigorously mix until combined.
  6. Combine all salad ingredients and mix well.
  7. Drizzle dressing and enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 9mgSodium: 595mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 10gSugar: 23gProtein: 10g

Nutritional data is not always correct

Did you make this recipe?

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About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long-time green-living enthusiast, and rural Iowa mom of four. She empowers families to grow and eat seasonal, local foods; to reduce their ecological footprint; and to come together through impactful travel.

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