This kale salad is loaded with apples, bacon, pomegranate, feta cheese and pecans, all tossed together in a homemade dressing. A fresh and vibrant salad that’s the perfect side dish for any occasion.

You can never go wrong with a hearty salad, some of my favorite crowd pleasers include taco salad, Greek salmon salad and this colorful kale salad.

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Apple kale salad topped with bacon and pecans.

Kale is considered to be a nutritional superstar, and it happens to be pretty delicious too! My absolute favorite way to enjoy kale is in this loaded kale salad. It’s full of different flavors, textures and colors that will have everyone coming back for seconds.

How do you make kale salad?

This recipe starts with Tuscan kale leaves, which are chopped then tossed in a homemade vinaigrette. Diced apples, bacon, feta cheese, pecans and pomegranate seeds all go into the salad, then everything is mixed together and you’ll be ready to eat.

Dressing being poured over dinosaur kale leaves.

How do you tenderize kale for salads?

Kale can be naturally a bit tough when it’s raw, especially curly kale. I’ve used Tuscan kale here, also known as dinosaur or lacinato kale. I feel that the Tuscan kale leaves are softer and have a more pleasant texture. Be sure to remove all the stems from your kale before you proceed with making your salad. The kale is tenderized by getting tossed with dressing, then massaged by hand for 3-5 minutes or until the leaves are soft and pliable.

Kale salad topped with apples, bacon, pecans, pomegranate and feta cheese.

Can you eat raw kale?

You can absolutely eat kale raw, as I mentioned before, it’s best when cut into small pieces and tenderized. Raw kale is the perfect addition to salads, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas and more.

Kale Salad variations

I typically make this salad just as written, but sometimes I switch things up a bit depending on the ingredients that I have on hand.

  • Fruit: Try swapping pears for apples and dried cranberries for pomegranate seeds.
  • Protein: Add some grilled diced chicken breast to make this salad a main course.
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts and pine nuts work great in lieu of pecans.
  • Cheese: Goat cheese, blue cheese or shaved parmesan cheese are nice substitutes for feta cheese.

A bowl of tuscan kale salad garnished with cooked bacon.

Is kale salad healthy?

Kale salad is a great way to get more nutrients into your diet. Kale is considered a superfood and is filled with calcium, manganese, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium and copper. Kale is low calorie, high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. Many of the other ingredients in this salad are healthy including the apples, pomegranates and pecans. If you’re looking for the healthiest salad possible, you can omit the bacon or use turkey bacon instead. That being said, I think the bacon really adds a lot of flavor so I recommend you leave it in!

Tongs in a bowl of kale and apple salad.

Once you try this salad, you’ll never look at kale the same way again! This salad is the perfect side dish for any meal and it pairs well with most proteins including pork, chicken and fish. It’s also a great choice for a potluck.

More great salad recipes

5 from 14 votes

Kale Salad

AuthorSara Welch
Apple kale salad topped with bacon and pecans.
This kale salad is loaded with apples, bacon, pomegranate, feta cheese and pecans, all tossed together in a homemade dressing. A fresh and vibrant salad that's the perfect side dish for any occasion.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 minute
Total Time21 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American
Serves 6


For the salad

  • 5 cups Tuscan kale leaves stems removed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 cup diced apple I use Pink Lady
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 cup pecans roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1/2 cup bacon cooked and crumbled

For the dressing

  • 1 tablespoon shallot minced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
  • Place the kale in a large bowl and pour the dressing over the top. Use your hands to massage the dressing into the kale for 3-5 minutes, or until kale is tender.
  • Add the apple, feta cheese, pecans, pomegranate arils and bacon to the bowl of kale. Toss to combine, then serve.


Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 196mg | Potassium: 370mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 5640IU | Vitamin C: 69.4mg | Calcium: 151mg | Iron: 1.2mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Can I mix it all together a day in advance? I love kale just don’t have much time in the morning to put it all together. And how about the dressing. Can it be left out over night or refrigerated?

    1. You should refrigerate the dressing, I’d add the dressing at the last minute or things could get soggy and the apples will brown if cut a day in advance.

  2. 5 stars
    This is the first time I’ve eaten kale. I was worried ! However this salad looked amazing and was similar to other salads I enjoy. It didn’t disappoint at all! I used Honeycrisp apples in mine. I will definitely be making this again!

  3. 5 stars
    I just made this and it is my most favorite salad I’ve ever made! I used goat cheese instead of feta and had to use some premade poppyseed dressing because I realized I didn’t have dijon mustard. It was soooo yummy!

  4. I am loving all those salad toppings!!!! pecans and apples are some of my favs….I haven’t tried my hand at kale, but this recipe looks really easy and delicious, I cant wait to try it!

  5. 5 stars
    So much yum in this recipe! I am a huge kale fan and this recipe does not disappoint! Quickly becoming one of my favorites!

  6. 5 stars
    I absolutely love Kale salads so I was excited to see this recipe. It sounds so good with the addition of apples. I’ll be adding this to my rotation of salads to make.

  7. 5 stars
    So much to love about this salad! Not only the kale, but bacon, apples, pomegranates, and pecans. This salad has it all & I can’t wait to make it.

  8. 5 stars
    You KNOW how to make a salad! I enjoy kale salads, but it’s really about what you mix it with — and of course that homemade dressing. I’ll be eating this one all season long.