Stunning Kale and Apple Salad with Feta and Roasted Chickpeas

 This kale and apple salad is a tasty way to celebrate fall and it’s glorious bounty of fruits and veggies.

kale and apple salad
As tasty as it is pretty, this kale salad has everything a salad should have – nutrient & colour rich veggies, crispy apples, crunchy chickpeas, sweet dried apricots, salty feta and a smooth honey Dijon vinaigrette.

Also Read: Apple & Kale Smoothie, Italian Sausage & Kale Soup, Kale Slaw with Yogurt Dressing

Are you a kale fan?

It took me a while to warm up to this hearty, dark leafy green, it’s so nutrient dense and so prolific in my garden (how to plant kale), that I really wanted to love it! After using it in small amounts in different recipes and choosing “starter” recipes like smoothies and soups, I started to enjoy it more and more. I progressed into slaws and finally into full blown kale salads.

Learning to properly massage kale leaves was key to bitter free, tender kale!

I also learned a few tricks along the way – like how to properly massage kale leaves. Believe it or not massaging the leaves with a little lemon juice and salt really helps make the leaves more tender and remove any bitterness. Of course, choosing the fresh tender kale at the outset helps too!

kale and apple salad
Roasted, seasoned chickpeas add a nice flavourful crunch and a touch of protein. If you prefer, sub in your favourite nuts or croutons.

Benefits of Kale

Kale is worth considering because it’s loaded in nutrients, minerals and antioxidants like fibre, vitamin A, K and C, iron, calcium and plant-based proteins. Dark leafy greens like kale have been found to improve brain and gut health, reduce risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, reduce inflammation and strengthen bones.  It’s an impressive resume, especially when you consider how affordable and accessible it is.

But here’s the thing, if you don’t love kale, have no interest in it and just want to avoid it all together – no problem. There are plenty of other dark green veggies like spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, collard greens, beet tops, arugula, romaine, Bok choy or even stinging nettle for you to enjoy.  The key as always is to enjoy a large variety of colorful fruits and veggies which include dark greens – choose the ones you love and will actually eat!

That said, if you do want to explore kale, start with tender baby kale, starter recipes like smoothies and soups and massage your curly or lacinato (dinasour) kale leaves.

How to Strip & Massage Kale

If you have found kale to be too tough or slightly bitter, here are some steps that can help with both these issues.

First, strip the leaves off the tough stems. Simply hold the stem in one hand and use your thumb and fingers of the other hand to slide along the stem pointing away from you to push the leaves off the stem. Compost the stems or use in smoothies, they’re very tough and fibrous.

stripped kale
The stems and thick veins of kale are tough and fibrous. Use them in soup stocks or smoothies, but not in salads.

After washing and patting dry, massage the leaves. This step makes all the difference. Put kale leaves in a large mixing bowl and add half a pinch of salt and a little lemon juice. Then use your fingers to rub the leaves until they just start to wilt. You don’t want them totally withered, just take the edge off. Within seconds, your kale leaves are ready to use in your favourite salads.

massaging kale
Massaging kale with a little lemon juice and salt makes them more tender and removes any bitterness. An important step in a salad like this.

In a matter of minutes, your kale leaves are ready to enjoy.

kale and apple salad with dressing
Don’t forget the dressing. Kale with a little fat can help your body extract more fat-soluble nutrients and phytochemicals including vitamin K, lutein and beta-carotene.

Recipe for Kale and Apple Salad

apple and kale salad
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Kale and Apple Salad with Roasted Chickpeas

A beautiful, tasty salad featuring fall favourites like apples, kale, cabbage and carrots with a honey dijon dressing.
Prep : 15 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Servings: 4 people
Author: Getty Stewart

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale (~4 cups packed leaves)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 firm apple, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 cup roasted chickpeas (or nuts)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots (or cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

Honey Dijon Vinaigrette

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • Wash and remove large stems from kale and chop into bite sized pieces.
  • Place kale in large serving bowl. Toss and drizzle with lemon juice and 1/8 tsp salt. Use your fingers to gently massage the lemon juice and salt into kale leaves to soften them just until they start to wilt.
  • Toss in chopped cabbage, carrots and apples.
  • To prepare vinaigrette combine all ingredients in a jar, seal and shake. Taste and adjust as desired. Serve on the side or drizzle over tossed salad.
  • Garnish with roasted chickpeas, apricots and feta cheese.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Notes

Try These Ideas:
  • use pears instead of apples
  • use walnuts, pecans or croutons instead of chickpeas
  • use goat cheese, blue cheese of fresh shaved Parmesan instead of feta
  • use dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries or cranberries instead of apricots
  • use a different dressing, try creamy poppyseed 
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 23g | Sodium: 377mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 12g | Iron: 2mg
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fall salad, kale, salad
apple and kale salad
Don’t you just love the colours in this salad!
kale, butternut squash and farro salad
This kale, butternut and wheat salad is another tasty option to try.

Are you a kale fan, are you working on it or could you just care less? Let me know where you stand on kale and especially if you try this recipe. Leave a comment and of course, if you make it, share a photo on Instagram and tag @getgettys so I can see it and like it!

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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