This Kale Salad with Cranberries with crisp apple, juicy pear and crunchy pecans make this the perfect side dish to add to your holiday table, or as a healthy salad for lunch!
I'm so excited about this recipe, friends. A great salad is one of my favorite things to make and this one simply takes the cake! It's the perfect side dish you'll want to make all winter long.
Here's what's going down in this bowl of salad goodness.
Kale Salad with Cranberries Ingredients
Are you ready to assemble this delicious kale salad recipe? All these colors and textures make me a happy gal! Grab a large bowl and let's get going!
Kale - you can either use bagged chopped kale leaves or purchase fresh kale and chop it yourself.
I usually pick up a bag of chopped kale at the grocery store which saves a lot of prep work. They handle chopping the kale into small pieces and removing large stems
Sweet Apples - I used honey crisp apples but you can use whatever kind of apple you prefer. Soak your apples in a bit of lemon juice or honey with water to keep them from browning. I like to soak them for a few minutes in a small bowl of cold water with a couple of Tablespoons of honey so they keep their sweet flavor.
Pears - any kind of pear is fine to use. I used red anjou. You can keep your pears from browning by using the lemon or honey mixture mentioned above.
Red onion - I like to soak the red onion in cold water for 10 minutes before dicing and adding to the salad. It cuts back on the amount of "bite" the onion has
Goat cheese - omit for a vegan or dairy-free salad
Salad Dressing Ingredients
Extra virgin olive oil- light olive oil is also fine to use, or any neutral tasting oil
Prepared yellow mustard - you could substitute Dijon mustard too!
Fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
There are a few substitutions you can make that would still result in a delicious winter salad! Here are some ideas for you:
- Use walnuts instead of pecans or whatever your favorite nuts are.
- You could substitute maple syrup instead of honey to vary the flavor profile.
- Instead of the apple or pear, you could use beautiful red pomegranate arils in their place, or in addition to them. Hey, the more the merrier!!
- Use feta cheese crumbles in place of the goat cheese.
- Use a raspberry vinaigrette in place of the homemade honey vinaigrette as an easy recipe shortcut
Make sure your kale is completely dry before you add it to the mixing bowl. You can use a salad spinner or dry it with a paper towel. This is an important step or your salad dressing will just slide right off, so don't skip this!
This kale salad recipe will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Store the vinaigrette in a separate container. I like to use a mason jar.
Be sure to remove the refrigerated salad dressing an hour or so before serving as the oil will have solidified. Give it a good shake just before serving.
This is a great salad on it's own, but make this a heartier salad, you can add cooked and shredded chicken or turkey, or roasted butternut squash.
I knew someone would ask this!! Baby kale has a milder texture compared to regular kale, which has a chewier vibe.
Feel free to swap it out if your family (or you) aren’t a fan of kale, or use spinach or mixed greens if you prefer.
If you use kale, you can enjoy this dressed salad the next day! Leftovers keep well, covered, in the fridge overnight.
What to serve with a winter salad
When you make kale cranberry salad, leave a recipe review or comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
Kale Salad with Cranberries
- 10 ounces fresh chopped kale tough stems removed
- 2 medium apples cored and diced
- 2 red pears diced
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- 4 ounces goat cheese diced
For the vinaigrette
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place the chopped kale in a large mixing bowl. Top with the apples, pears, pecans, red onion, dried cranberries, and goat cheese. Gently toss.
- Add the vinaigrette ingredients to a mason jar or other jar with a lid. Shake to combine.
- Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salad right before serving or dress individual servings.