Crunchy Kale Salad is like your favorite Chick-fil-A kale salad but better. Massaged kale, red cabbage, green apple, and crunchy almonds are tossed in a tangy honey Dijon dressing to become a healthy side dish for any meal.
Disclaimer: Please note, no original Chick-fil-A recipe has been used. This salad recipe has been inspired by Chick-fil-A original one.
What kale to use?
Kale is the main ingredient in this salad, so it is important to use fresh leaves that are firm and have no black or brown spots.
For this recipe, I recommend using curly dark green or red kale. You can find it in the produce aisle of your grocery store alongside lettuce and other leafy greens. I always try to find organic kale.
You can also use Lacinato kale (dino kale). It is more delicate and has a sweeter taste.
Please, see the recipe ingredients quantities in the recipe card below.
- Kale: I used green curly kale. You can also use Dino kale or even baby kale salad mix.
- Red cabbage: red or green cabbage works well. I think red cabbage makes a salad look more festive, and it is crunchier.
- Granny smith apple: it adds a sweet and sour taste, making the salad fresher and more flavorful.
- Toasted almonds: I used sliced toasted almonds. If you have raw ones, toast them on a dry frying pan for about 4-5 minutes until crunchy.
- Olive oil: ⅓ cup use good quality extra virgin olive oil.
- Honey: 1 Tbsp honey or maple syrup works great to sweeten the dressing.
- Dijon mustard: 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard adds a tangy and slightly spicy taste to the vinaigrette.
- Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon for the dressing and a little bit for massaging the kale. 1 tablespoon If you do not have lemon, use apple cider vinegar,
- Salt and pepper: you will need some for the dressing and more to taste for serving.
How to make kale salad
Step 1. Place kale in a bowl with cold water. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and let it soak for 15 minutes. You can also chop it first and use a salad spinner to wash the kale. Remove the leaves from the water and place them on paper towels to dry.
Step 2. Remove leaves from hard stems by holding the stem in one hand and pulling the leaves off with the other hand.
Step 3. Stack a few leaves and roll them a few times in a bundle. Slice rolled leaves crosswise into ribbons. If you prefer smaller pieces, you can chop the ribbons into smaller bits. Repeat with the rest of the kale. Place chopped kale in a large bowl.
Step 4. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice to the chopped kale. Massage it for about 3 minutes with your hands by gently rubbing and squeezing the kale leaves.
Step 5. Peel and chop into small cubes of green apple. Shred the cabbage thinly. I used ¼ of the small cabbage. About ¾ cup. Add cubed apple and shredded cabbage to the salad. Add roasted almond slices.
Step 6. In a small bowl, add olive oil, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper. Mix it with a whisk until one creamy consistency. Give it a taste and add more salt if needed.
Step 7. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently mix to combine.
- Soak the kale: soaking kale in cold water with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar helps to clean leaves by breaking down dirt and bacteria. 15 minutes is all you need.
- Massage the kale: curly kale can be tough and fibrous. Massaging it with little lemon juice will make it softer and easier to digest.
- Switch it up: make this salad more interesting by adding different textures, such as dried fruits, seeds, and crumbled cheeses. You can also add fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, or cilantro.
Kale crunch salad can be a great side dish or even a main course. Serve it alongside your main course or as a starter.
For a complete meal, you may want to add some protein such as grilled chicken, steak, or shrimp.
You can store massaged chopped kale with added cabbage and apples in the fridge for up to 3 days. The longer massaged kale stays in the fridge, the more tender it becomes.
Store the dressing and the salad separately in air-tight containers and mix them right before serving for a fresher taste.
Other salads you may like
- Lettuce, tomato, cucumber salad
- Tuna Caesar Salad
- Blackened chicken Caesar salad
- Creamy celery root salad
- Cucumber and radish salad
Crunchy Kale Salad (Chick-fil-A Copycat)
- 1 large bowl
- 1 small bowl
- 1 measuring cup
- measuring spoons
- 1 large bunch curly kale about 4-5 cups
- ¾ cup shredded red cabbage about ¼ of a small cabbage
- 1 green apple
- 3 Tbsp sliced almonds
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Lemon juice, plus one teaspoon for the kale
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- ⅛ teaspoon salt or more to taste
- black pepper
- Wash and pat dry kale leaves. Remove the leaves from the stems by holding the stem in one hand and pulling the leaves off with the other hand.Discard the stems as they are too hard.
- Stack the leaves and roll them tightly. Chop kale into ribbons. Add chopped kale in a large bowl.
- Add one teaspoon of lemon juice to the chopped kale and massage it gently for about 3 minutes.
- Peel and core the apple. Chop it into small cubes. Shred the cabbage thinly. Add both ingredients to the bowl
- In a small bowl whisk ⅓ cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon honey, ⅛ teaspoon slat and some black pepper. Taste the dressing and add more salt if needed to your taste.
- Add the dressing to the salad and mix gently. Enjoy the kale crunch salad as a side dish or a starter.
- Massaging kale is a crucial step, do not skip it.
- You can skip the apple or add a sliced pear instead.
- If you do not have almond, use other nuts instead or pumpkin seeds.
- If you are making a salad to be served the next day, store the dressing separately and add it to the salad before serving.