This kale and apple salad is a tasty way to celebrate fall and it’s glorious bounty of fruits and veggies.
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!
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.
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.
In a matter of minutes, your kale leaves are ready to enjoy.
Recipe for Kale and Apple Salad
Kale and Apple Salad with Roasted Chickpeas
- 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
- 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.
- 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
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
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.