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This fall harvest apple pecan salad comes together in just a few minutes and is loaded with fresh-picked honey crisp apples, tangy goat cheese and a quick and easy apple cider vinaigrette.
It just begs to be served with a big glass of Malbec and a loaf of crusty whole grain bread. I’m not sure about you but when the weather starts to cool down in Wisconsin I immediately reach for dark leafy greens and a full bodied red wine.
Why you’re going to love this fall harvest kale salad:
- It’s the perfect fall meal prep recipe! Dark leafy greens like kale hold up SO WELL in meal prep recipes. Kale stays fresh and holds up – even when tossed with dressing or massaged with oil and lemon juice.
- It’s quick and easy! I always have some cooked quinoa in the fridge (never know when I’ll be craving some tabbouleh or an arugula salad) so this salad is one of my favorite ways to use up the leftover grain! It takes just minutes to throw it all together but it’s loaded with flavor and is SUPER filling.
- It’s got a variety of textures and flavors that will please your taste buds and make you forget how healthy your lunch really is! Nutritious, filling salads don’t have to bland or served with fat free (artificial sweetener loaded) dressings. Throw together your own healthy dressing at home (free of artificial ingredients) and toss it with your favorite salad toppers!
How to make apple pecan kale salad:
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
Add kale to a large bowl and squeeze lemon juice over it.
Then add olive oil.
Gently massage kale for a few minutes.
You’ll know it’s done when it is wilted and turning bright green.
Add cooked quinoa, pecans, dried cherries, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese to the salad.
If serving immediately, pour dressing over salad.
Toss to coat everything evenly.
Slice apples and transfer salad to serving platter.
Top salad with slices of apple and enjoy!
Tips for making the best apple kale salad:
- Don’t skip the kale massage! Massaging the kale is going to help it start to wilt and soften which makes it much more delicious and I’ve heard also makes it easier to digest!
- You can swap out the apple cider vinegar for white wine, red wine or white balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have any apple cider vinegar on hand, feel free to use your favorite dressing vinegar.
- If you prefer a more mild dressing, just use 1/3 cup of apple cider vinegar. I like it real tangy, so I use the entire 1/2 cup of vinegar.
- If you’re planning to enjoy this salad at a later date, don’t add the dressing until just before serving. Although kale does a pretty good job of standing up to dressing, the kale has already been massaged with lemon juice and olive oil, so I prefer to add the dressing just before serving.
Make it a meal with these family favorites:
- Sausage & Lentil Soup
- One Pot Smoked Gouda Pasta
- Tuscan Tomato Tortellini Soup
- One Pot Gorgonzola Pasta
- Beer Cheese & Potato Soup
- Creamy Vegan Wild Rice Soup
Fall Harvest Kale Salad
This fall harvest salad comes together in just a few minutes and is loaded with fresh-picked honey crisp apples, tangy goat cheese and a quick and easy apple cider vinaigrette.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 22 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
- Category: Salad
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: American
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 5–6 cups chopped kale
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 honeycrisp apples, thinly sliced
- Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
- Add kale, lemon juice and a tablespoon of olive oil to a large bowl. Gently massage kale for 3-5 minutes until the kale turns bright green and beings to wilt.
- Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper to a large measuring cup. Whisk until well combined.
- Add quinoa, goat cheese, pecans, pumpkin seeds and apple slices to the kale salad.
- If serving immediately, pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.
- Transfer to your serving platter. Top with sliced apples and enjoy!
Keywords: kale salad, apple pecan salad, harvest salad
This post was originally published in September of 2018. It was updated in September of 2019 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions and tips for making the best kale salad every single time!