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Published January 18, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious kale salad recipe is loaded with apples, dried cherries, roasted squash, and a creamy vinaigrette for an unbelievably flavorful salad. You will be blown away at how tasty this simple recipe is.
Kale salad is a simple to prepare recipe featuring kale as the salad’s main ingredient. The toppings for this salad can be an assortment of fruit and vegetables to help balance out the flavors. There are no limitations to what you can do with a kale salad as so much of this dish is in the eye of the beholder and what they like and what is in season and available.
As a family, we enjoy eating this salad in the fall and winter months. It’s jam-packed with whole ingredients, and the flavors are outstanding. Not-too-mention if you know you should be getting more greens but do not like the taste; they are fairly masked in this recipe.
- Kale – I like to use bunched fresh kale. Do not use baby kale, as it is too peppery.
- Vegetables – The combination of squash, fennel, celery, and pickled onion makes for excellent toppings.
- Fruit – I like to use dried cherries and sliced sweet and sour apples like fuji or honey crisp along with granny smith.
- Nuts – A few roughly chopped nuts like pistachios or almonds compliment the salad well. You could also use candied pecans.
- Dressing – I make and use a simple creamy red wine vinaigrette that balances out all the flavors in this salad recipe.
- Cheese – A few sprinkles of shaved or grated parmesan cheese add so much to this dish. You could also use pecorino romano.
How to Make a Kale Salad
Coat the squash in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 375° or until lightly browned and al dente, or slightly crunchy. Chill.
Next, make the pickled onions and set them aside.
Whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, and set aside.
Prepare the apples, celery, and fennel.
In a large bowl, toss the kale, some pickled red onions, apples, fennel, celery, pistachios, and cherries, and season with salt and pepper. Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss together.
Finish with Parmesan cheese and top off with chilled roasted acorn squash.
Many other ingredients go well with kale. Here are some of my favorites:
- Goat Cheese
- Bell Peppers
- Soy Sauce
- Sweet Potatoes
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: You can make this spring salad up to 1 day before. Just be sure it is not yet mixed with the dressing. In addition, it would be best to leave the apples and fennel uncut.
How to Store: Cover and keep it in the refrigerator undressed for up to 3 days. This will not freeze.
Chef Notes + Tips
- Feel free to use whatever salad dressing you’d like.
- You can swap out, remove, or substitute any vegetables in this recipe.
- If you like more sour flavors, use granny smith apples instead of fuji or honey crisp.
- You can also large dice the squash instead of serving it with skin on half-moons like I did.
More Salad Recipes
Kale Salad Recipe
For the Salad:
- 1 acorn squash sliced into ½” thick slices, seeds removed
- 1 tablespoons of olive oil
- 3 bunches of roughly cut fresh kale, stems removed
- ½ recipe for pickled onions
- 1 cored and thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
- 1 cored and thinly sliced Fuji apple
- 1/2 thinly shaved bulb of fennel
- 3 ribs thinly shaved celery
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped pistachios
- 3/4 cup dried cherries
- Parmesan cheese for garnish
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
For the Dressing:
- 2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°.
- Coat the squash in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper, and roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 375° or until lightly browned and al dente, or slightly crunchy. Transfer to a plate and chill until cold.
- Next, make the pickled onions and set them aside.
- Dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sugar, red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper, and set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the kale, some pickled red onions, apples, fennel, celery, pistachios, and cherries, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add a few tablespoons of the vinaigrette and toss together.
- Finish with Parmesan cheese and top off with chilled roasted acorn squash.