Fall Kale Salad – Not only does our rustic Fall kale salad appeal to the eye, this crunchy salad is textural perfection featuring tender kale, toasted pecans and pepitas combined with crisp seasonal apples, cranberries, and roasted acorn squash; tossed with our homemade vinaigrette, this salad will become a new Fall staple. Plus, it’s gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE
- Kale: I make this salad with curly or Tuscan kale, both with good results.
- Apple: Crisp, tart green, and sweet honey-crisp apples are not only beautiful to look at, but they also add the perfect crunch.
- Nuts: Toast pecans for a warm addition to the salad.
- Seeds: Seeds are nice and crunchy alongside the nuts and kale. I prefer to use pepitas, and you can toast them with pecans.
- Dried Cranberries: Rehydrate and add dried cranberries for a nice pop of color. You can also use pomegranate seeds.
- Squash: Prepare and season one small acorn squash, and roast it to perfection in the oven or air fryer. For more instructions, follow our guide on How to Cook Acorn Squash.
- Dressing: Prepare the homemade vinaigrette with orange juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, finely diced shallot, garlic, salt, and pepper.
SUBSTITUTIONS AND VARIATIONS
- Greens: Add chopped Brussels sprouts, arugala, or shaved fennel.
- Nuts: Replace the toasted pecans with walnuts, almonds, or a combination.
- Seeds: Pepitas are my go-to, but sunflower seeds also work.
- Squash: In place of acorn squash, this salad also works well with Sweet Potatoes, roasted butternut squash, and kabocha squash prepared the same way.
- Dairy: Top the salad with crumbled goat cheese, feta, or shaved asiago.
HOW TO MAKE FALL KALE SALAD
For the Dressing:
Combine the ingredients for the dressing in an airtight container and whisk to incorporate.
Cut the acorn squash and add it to an air fryer or oven to cook for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
While the squash is cooking, prepare the salad by layer the chopped kale onto two serving plates, and adding the sliced apples and cranberries.
Dry toast the pecans and pepitas in a small skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes; toss them over the salad.
Remove the squash from the air fryer basket and place them onto the salad. Drizzle with dressing or serve it on the side, and enjoy!
HOW TO PREPARE KALE FOR THE SALAD
SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS?
If you love our salad, try one of these cozy Fall recipes!
Embody the fall with our Autumn kale salad, and if you’re craving additional protein on your salad, here are some of our suggestions.
- Grilled Chicken, Grilled Chicken Skewers
- Baked Tandoori Chicken
- Air Fryer Salmon
- Grilled Shrimp Skewers
- Sriracha Salmon
- Peruvian Chicken
- Tandoori Chicken Tikka
WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS
- STORAGE – I recommend storing the salad ingredients and the dressing separately. Kale salad keeps fridge for 3 days stored in an airtight container. Store dressing in the airtight jar it’s made in and will keep for one week.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Kale is very nutritious and contains vitamins A, K, B6, and C, calcium, potassium, copper, and manganese. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, and seeds take this salad to the next level, and it feels like you’re eating the rainbow.
If sugar is a concern, consider using liquid monk fruit instead of maple syrup, and substitute olive oil for the orange juice. It will be less sweet, but it’s a tasty alternative. I also have a recipe for homemade salad dressing with vegan ingredients; it’s higher in protein and probiotics because it contains nutritional yeast.
YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:
- Vegetable Chopped Salad
- Avocado Cucumber Tomato Salad
- Homemade Coleslaw with Mint and Cilantro
- Sherry Shallot Dressing
Fall Kale Salad
For the Salad:
- 2 bunches kale, thinly sliced
- 1 green or honey crisp apple, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, rehydrated
- ½ cup pecans, chopped or whole, and toasted
- 1 tablespoon pepitas, toasted
- 1 small acorn squash, cubed
For the Dressing:
- ¼ cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the Dressing:
- Combine the ingredients for the dressing in an airtight container and whisk to incorporate.
For the Salad:
- Cut the acorn squash and add it to an air fryer or oven to cook for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
- While the squash is cooking, prepare the salad by layer the chopped kale onto two serving plates, and adding the sliced apples and cranberries.
- Dry toast the pecans and pepitas in a small skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes; toss them over the salad.
- Remove the squash from the air fryer basket and place them onto the salad. Drizzle with dressing or serve it on the side, and enjoy!
- If using curly kale, massage it for 2-3 minutes before adding it to the serving plate.
- The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.