This Kale Apple Slaw is the perfect seasonal hearty green salad. Fresh lemony shredded kale is paired with apples and carrots then tossed in a sweet yet tangy maple dijon vinaigrette. The whole thing is topped with candied nuts for an added textural crunch.
What is Kale Apple Slaw
Kale Apple Slaw is the perfect sweet yet tangy hearty fall salad.
My version is made with lemon-massaged lacinato kale (the dark green variety also known as dinosaur kale), fresh red apples, carrots and candied nuts.
The vinaigrette is fall-inspired and is made with apple cider vinegar, maple syrup and dijon mustard with a little bit of salt and pepper.
Not only is this salad filling and delicious, but it's the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any cozy get together with friends and family.
I think you'll love it!
Ingredients & Substitutions
For the Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Apple Cider Vinegar is my favorite vinegar to use in this salad but you could absolutely sub it for another type of vinegar. Try red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar or even balsamic.
- Maple Syrup - I used real maple syrup but you could use the other kind if you'd like. You can also use honey if you don't have maple syrup.
- Dijon Mustard - Dijon packs the most punch but if you don't have it, you could swap it for grainy or even honey mustard - just be sure to adjust the levels of syrup/honey for sweetness. I wouldn't recommend yellow mustard though!
- Kosher Salt and Pepper - Kosher salt is always best but you could use regular table salt, flaky salt or pink himalayan if you had it. As for pepper, I always try to use fresh cracked peppercorns because I feel like it has more flavor but you can def use what you have!
For the Kale Apple Slaw
- Kale - Kale is the star of this salad and I recommend the lacinato variety. You could also definitely use curly leafed kale if you want though!
- Lemon Juice - Fresh is best in this recipe but you could def use bottled if that's what you'd like.
- Olive Oil - If you don't have olive oil, try another neutral oil like avocado or grapeseed.
- Apples - I recommend buying any large red variety of apples because the color pops against the green. But this is totally optional - use your favorite varietal!
- Carrots - I used large organic juicing carrots that I shaved the skin off of. You could also use the pre-shredded carrots for convenient but I'd give them a chop because some can be rather long.
- Candied Nuts - In this recipe, I used candied walnuts because that's what I had on hand but you could use whatever your favorite candied nut is!
Other optional add-ins
If you want this salad to have even more flavor, you can also try adding in some of these ingredients:
- fresh figs
- shaved red onion
- thinly sliced red cabbage
- toasted coconut strips
- thinly sliced almonds or another toasted nut
How to prep the kale so it's not bitter
Kale is known as a bitter green so it's important to take the proper precautions when making a salad or slaw with it.
The first thing I recommend is washing and drying the kale to remove any pesticides or critters.
After that, I like to pile 5-10 kale leaves on top of each other at a time. Then I grab a sharp knife and very thinly julienne the kale - exactly like you would fresh basil leaves.
This method means you don't have to remove the stalk which can take up a lot of time.
However if you like a thicker kale texture in the salad, you can most definitely remove the stalk from each leaf. You do you, babe!
Once the kale is shaved (or julienned) put it in a big bowl and add the lemon juice, olive oil and salt.
Use your hands to massage these liquids and salt into the kale. This will help break down the hearty kale texture and will begin to remove some of the bitterness.
After that, you're ready for the next step.
How to make the Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
Making this maple dijon vinaigrette recipe is beyond easy!
Just grab a small bowl and add the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
Use a fork to whisk it together until it's smooth.
Taste it and season with more salt and pepper if needed. Then set aside until the kale is ready.
How to make Kale Apple Slaw
Once the kale is prepped and the maple dijon vinaigrette is prepped, it's time to make the salad.
Add the shaved apples and the shaved carrots to the massaged kale.
Pour the maple dijon vinaigrette right on top.
Either use your clean hands or a pair of tongs and toss everything together until it's all mixed in.
Let this mixture sit for a minute because the sweetness from the apples and carrots will seep into the kale.
Then it's time to taste it and add more salt, pepper, or lemon juice if necessary.
Once the flavor is right, top with some candied nuts and you're all good to go!
I recommend using candied walnuts or pecans but you can use whatever you like or even leave them off if you'd like.
How long does it last
Since this kale apple slaw is made with fresh ingredients, it is best to make it the day you'll eat it.
Even though there's lemon juice in the recipe, if it sits in the fridge, the apples will start to brown. It'll still taste fine but it just won't look as good.
I'd say this recipe can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
But I highly recommend eating it with 1-2 days of making it.
What goes with Kale Apple Slaw
Save this recipe for later
Want to save this kale apple slaw recipe for another time? I got you!
You can pin any image on this page or use the pretty ones I made below specifically for your Fall pinterest boards.
And if pinterest isn't really your thing, you can always scroll down to the bottom of this post and print the printable recipe card.
Kale Apple Slaw with Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
For the Maple Dijon Vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 pinch pepper
For the Slaw
- 4 cups chopped lacinato kale thinly shaved and packed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ large lemon juiced
- 2 large apples (about 3 cups)
- 2 large carrots (about 1 cup)
- ¼ cup candied nuts *optional
For the maple dijon vinaigrette
- In a small bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon, a hefty pinch of salt and a fresh cracks of fresh ground pepper. Set aside.
For the Slaw
- Add shaved lacinato kale to a large bowl and drizzle with lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Massage the mixture with your hands for 30 seconds to one minute or until slightly softened.
- Add the shaved apples and the shaved carrots on top then drizzle on the maple dijon vinaigrette. Toss everything together and season with salt and pepper if needed.
- Finish with a sprinkle of candied nuts if desired.