The only thing your Thanksgiving menu is missing is this kale and apple salad with wild rice and a simple dijon dressing. It’s easy to make and adds a beautiful pop of color to any dining table! It’s gluten free, and can easily be made vegan.
Call me basic, but Fall is the best time of year. The weather is perfect, it’s my birthday, and the food is just incredible.
Apple pie bars, pumpkin bread, butternut squash risotto, it’s no wonder people gain weight this time of year lol.
This kale apple salad is the perfect fresh salad that is full of flavor, color, antioxidants, and is so easy to make. It just got a major face lift in time for Fall, including a new dressing recipe.
This new and improved honey dijon vinaigrette is so easy to make (especially if you use a salad dressing shaker) and pairs so well with the rest of the flavors in this salad.
How to prep kale
Kale is one of those things that you either love or you hate. The first time I tried kale, I spat it out. It tasted funky and I couldn’t get over the tough texture.
But then I learned how to properly prepare kale (something salad bars don’t quite understand) and I was hooked!
Removing the stems, washing and massaging the kale and chopping it very finely are all key. You can read about all of these tips in my butternut squash and kale salad post, but for today we’re going to focus on chopping it finely.
I find the very finely chopped kale, wild rice, and apples all pair really well together and make this salad actually enjoyable to eat! I like using a good pair of kitchen shears (basically a fancy pair of scissors) to chop it really finely. For whatever reason, it’s much easier than using a knife!
Making it less bitter
Massaging the kale really well should work to get rid of any bitterness in the leaves, but this dressing has a hint of sweetness from the honey so it should work to mask any bitter flavor anyway.
However, long story short, the best way to remove the bitter flavor from kale is massage it really well!
Any variety of kale can be used for this salad, I personally think curly kale works best and has the best flavor.
How to make a kale apple salad
De-stem the kale and add to a colander. While warm water is running over it, massage the kale gently to break it down to make it less tough.
After about 1 minute, transfer to a cutting board and pat dry with a towel.
Chop into small, bite size pieces and transfer to a large bowl. Chop the apple into small piece or thin strips (I used a mandolin to get them thin).
To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk together or add to a small mason jar and shake until well combined.
Toss the kale with the dressing and massage with your hands to make sure every leaf is well coated.
Add in the rice, pomegranate, apple, and walnuts and toss together.
How to store
If the dressing and apple are stored separately, these ingredients will keep for about 5 days. Once everything is tossed together, it will keep for 2 days in the fridge.
The vinegar in the dressing should help to prevent the apples from browning too quickly!
Prep it ahead!
If making this salad ahead of time, I recommend storing the dressing separately to prevent the salad from getting soggy. The apple will turn brown once it is cut, so add this just before serving as well.
The wild rice can be subbed for any type of rice or even quinoa if desired. You will need 1 1/2 cups cooked rice, which is equal to about 1/2 cup uncooked.
Pro tip: I like to dress the kale before adding any of the other ingredients, but you can also add the dressing after the salad is fully assembled.
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Apple and Kale Salad with Honey Dijon Dressing
by: claire cary
- 1 bunch curly kale
- 1 ½ cups cooked wild rice about 1/2 cup uncooked
- 1 large apple I like honeycrisp
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup pomegranate airls
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 ½ tbsp dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp salt or to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- De-stem the kale and add to a colander. While warm water is running over it, massage the kale gently to break it down to make it less tough.
- After about 1 minute, transfer to a cutting board and pat dry with a towel.
- Chop into small, bite size pieces and transfer to a large bowl.
- Chop the apple into small piece or thin strips.
- To make the dressing, add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk together or add to a small mason jar and shake until well combined.
- Toss the kale with the dressing and massage with your hands to make sure every leaf is well coated.
- Add in the rice, pomegranate, apple, and walnuts and toss together.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Michlle Krz says
This salad is a show-stealer! I used flat leaf (lacinato kale) and massaged it with olive oil and salt, then rinsed it before cutting it into slices. It was delicious!!! And the leftovers keep well. This is a fabulous recipe!
Shannon Daly says
This is the most amazing recipe!! I add chicken and honey-balsamic roasted brussel sprouts as well so it’s a bit more filling for dinner, but it’s unbelievably delicious and so easy too. The dressing also goes perfectly with it. Definitely recommend!
Claire Cary says
Thanks Shannon! I love this recipe with chicken too -so good!
Has anyone made the dressing without oil and what did you substitute?
Delicious! I only wish I had your food styling talent and could make mine look as pretty as yours 🙂
Claire Cary says
Thanks Trina, that’s so kind of you! As long as it tastes good, it doesn’t matter what it looks like!