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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
- Chickpea Avocado Salad
- Chicken Chopped Salad
- Ramen Noodle Salad
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- Cucumber Tomato Salad
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.
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?
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.
Can you use baby spinach or a mixed salad type instead of kale?
Yes either would work well!
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!
Perfect combination of flavors and it tasted amazing!
Making it again! So good. This time adding a pear in place of an apple.
This was really delicious and I have been using the salad dressing recipe on other salads
Delicious colorful salad that I just love and serve as a main dish!
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!
Oh my, love the sweet with salty and textures in this healthy salad! Just drooled a little. 🙂
I’m a big fan of kale salad so I’m always looking for new ones to try, love the sound of this!
Love the addition of apples to the kale. Perfect season we have right now for this salad:)
Such a nutritious dish right here, it makes me feel good, just looking at it!! Thanks, can’t wait to try it.
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!
This salad makes me so happy! Kale is our favorite to eat and the flavor was just amazing with the apples!
So much yum in this recipe! I am a huge kale fan and this recipe does not disappoint! Quickly becoming one of my favorites!
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.
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.
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.