This Apple and Kale Salad is perfect for fall! Sweet apples and pears paired with salty feta, crunchy sunflower seeds and pepitas are the perfect combination. Toss together in a creamy tahini dressing and enjoy this crunchy and highly addicting salad!
Why I love this salad
Massaged kale – If you’ve ever had a kale salad and thought it was tough and a little chewy, then the kale probably wasn’t massaged. Massaging the kale breaks it down and makes it easier to chew and digest.
Tahini dressing – Tahini is a wonderful way to make a dressing creamy without using mayo or yogurt. It’s a great option if you’re looking for a creamy vegan salad dressing. Tahini gives the dressing a slight bitter, savory, nutty flavor.
Texture – If you love a salad with crunch, then you’ll love this kale salad. The apples, pears, sunflower seeds and pepitas not only add sweet and savory flavors, but plenty of crunchy texture.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Kale – I recommend using curly green or red kale for this salad. I used red.
- Apple – Go with a sweet crisp apple such as a Honeycrisp or something similar.
- Pear – Any variety of pear will work for this salad, just make sure it’s ripe and sweet.
- Feta – I love how the saltiness pairs with the sweet fruit.
- Pepitas – Often labeled as pumpkin seeds. Toast them for the best flavor.
- Sunflower seeds – Toast them with the pepitas to save time.
- Tahini – creamy, a little bitter, and slight nutty flavor. My favorite brand to use is Soom Foods.
- Lemon – Acts as the acid for the tahini dressing.
- Maple Syrup – The sweetener for the dressing.
- Olive oil
How to make apple and kale salad
Make the dressing – You don’t need any special equipment to make this creamy tahini dressing, just a jar with a lid will work. Combine all of the ingredients in the jar, then screw on the lid and shake vigorously until it’s well combined.
Be sure to taste for seasoning and add more salt or maple syrup for sweetness depending on your tastes. If the dressing is too thick add another tablespoon of cold water to thin it out.
Massage the kale – Follow the step below and massage the kale until the leaves are tender and dark green.
Prepare the salad – Top the kale with the slices of apple and pear. Sprinkle on the crumbled feta, sunflower seeds, and pepitas. Drizzle or pour on some of the dressing or serve it on the side if you prefer.
How to massage kale
There’s a couple methods you can use when massaging kale for a salad. You can either drizzle with olive oil, lemon and salt and massage it with your hands for several minutes until it darkens and “wilts”.
You can also just use salt or in the case of this salad, salt and a tablespoon of the dressing. Again, use your hands to massage it and break it down until the leaves turn dark green and soften.
Substitutions and Variations
- Feel free to use just apples or just pears if you only have one or the other.
- Substitute feta with goat cheese or ricotta salata.
- Add dried fruit such as cranberries, cherries, or golden raisins.
- Use nuts instead of seeds. Pecans, walnuts, or slivered almonds would all work well.
- Honey can be used in place of maple syrup. Warm it in the microwave for a few seconds so it’s runny and easier to mix into the dressing.
What to serve with it
More fall salads you’ll love
Did you make this Apple and Kale Salad? I’d love if you’d leave a recipe rating and review below.
- 2 bunches kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
- 1 apple, sliced thin
- 1 pear, sliced thin
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 3 tablespoons toasted unsalted pepitas
- 3 tablespoons toasted unsalted sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoons tahini, I use Soom Foods
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoon cold water
- Add all of the ingredients for the tahini dressing to a jar. Screw on the lid and shake vigorously until well combined. If the dressing is too thick add an extra tablespoon of water. Taste for seasoning.
- Add the chopped kale leaves to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt and add a tablespoon of the dressing. Use your hands to massage the kale leaves until they soften and turn dark green, about 3 minutes.
- Top the kale with the sliced apple and pear, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and feta. Drizzle on the dressing or serve on the side.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 485mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 8g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.