Kale Apple Salad with Pomegranates and Pecans
on Nov 06, 2023
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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!
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!
Table of Contents
- What’s in this Kale Apple Salad Recipe
- Recipe Tip
- What’s in the Homemade Vinaigrette
- What do you need to know about making winter salads?
- How to Make this Winter Salad Ahead of Time
- Servings Suggestions for this Kale Apple Salad
- More Salad Recipes We Love
- Kale Apple Salad with Pomegranates and Pecans Recipe
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.
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.
If kale isn’t your favorite green, you can substitute it with spinach, arugula, or mixed greens for a milder flavor.
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:
- extra virgin olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- dijon mustard
- maple syrup
- Redmond’s REAL salt
- freshly ground pepper
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Salad Recipes We Love
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- 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
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- 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.
- If not already shredded, chop up Brussels sprouts and cabbage into tiny bite size pieces.
- Dice the apples, drizzle with fresh lemon juice
- To make the dressing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and vigorously mix until combined.
- Combine all salad ingredients and mix well.
- Drizzle dressing and enjoy!
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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