Recipe: Apple-Walnut Kale Salad

A healthier version of the classic Waldorf salad, here I’ve swapped out lettuce for nutrient-dense kale and created a creamy dressing without mayonnaise, oil, or dairy by using apple and walnuts as the base.  This salad is sweet, crunchy, filling, and will convert even the greatest of kale non-believers.  Packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and healthy unsaturated fats, it’s perfect for lunch, brunch, or a light dinner.  It’s great for kids; great for vegans; great for those with gluten-intolerance; great with grapes added to it, it’s even great with grilled chicken or tuna added to it.  Do you see a pattern forming here?  I think this salad is just plain great.

Apple-Walnut Kale Salad

Serves 4


  • 4 cups packed raw kale, de-ribbed and thinly sliced*
  • 2 large red apples, preferably Fuji or gala
  • ¾ cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 cup thinly sliced celery
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey**
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons water, more if needed
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Place kale in a large bowl. Chop the apples and reserve ¼ for the dressing.  Add remaining apple to kale along with ½ cup walnuts, raisins and celery.  Place reserved ¼ of chopped apple into a blender with remaining ¼ cup of walnuts, lemon juice, honey, mustard, water, salt and pepper.  Purée until well combined and smooth, adding more water if desired to thin out.  Will make approx. 1 cup of dressing.  Add the dressing to the kale salad ¼ cup at a time, tossing well until desired coating.  I prefer to use ½ cup and reserve the rest for later use.

*I find using lacinato, purple or baby kale best here.  It isn’t as tough and fibrous as curly kale and works well in a salad.  If using baby kale, there is no need to slice it.  If using purple, lacinato, or curly: to thinly slice (aka chiffonade), place a few de-ribbed leaves into a neat stack and use your fingertips to grasp the edge of the leaf stack closest to you and start to roll up the leaves. Roll leaves into a tight bundled cigar shape.  Use a sharp knife to cut bundled leaves into thin slices, which will immediately drop into thin ribbons.  If using curly kale, massage a little olive oil and a pinch of salt into sliced leaves for at least 30-60 minutes before serving to soften.

** Swap out honey for light agave nectar if vegan.




5 thoughts on “Recipe: Apple-Walnut Kale Salad

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